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DEI Collective Professional Learning Series

DEI Collective Professional Learning Series

Each month the School of Education and Human Development's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) will engage faculty and staff in Professional Learning focused on DEI. The monthly professional learning will have four parts:

  1. Read: Short and impactful articles, chapters, or blogs to help frame the topic for the month (Week 1).
  2. Watch/Listen: Watch a pre-recorded presentation, YouTube recordings, and/or listen to a podcast focused on the topic for the month (Week 2).
  3. Write: Journal, write reflections, and respond to prompts/questions based on the "read" and "watch/listen" for the month reading and recording (Week 3).
  4. Engage: Participate in a live Zoom session, which may include authors from the readings, presenters from the pre-recorded session or podcast, or an expert on the topic of the month (Week 4).

The DEI Professional Learning is intentionally framed in this way to allow faculty and staff to build a shared understanding of topics and concepts (read and watch/listen) before engaging.

April 2021 - Microaggression: The Unseen Student Barrier

Microaggressions are all too often overlooked, but their impacts are felt just the same. Microaggressions proceed to be one of the most prevalent forms of oppression and racism experienced by Black students in Predominately White Institutions (PWIs), including the University of Virginia. The Student Voices of Injustice (SVOI) ( project is a media-centered project, led by Sasha Miller-Marshall of Motivate Lab, created to elevate Black students' voices at the University of Virginia. This project highlights the noticeably different and negative college experience of Black students when compared to their non-black counterparts. The SVOI project explicates how racialized interactions, like microaggressions, often go undetected due to their nuanced and often palatable nature yet prove to be insidious and damaging for students in these environments. By acknowledging and identifying these acts of injustice on college campuses, institutions, administration, faculty, and even students can work to actively combat their presence in the classroom and the university setting at large. In connection with the Student Voices of Injustice project, this month's DEI Professional Learning Series will focus on three different types of microaggressions, the impact of microaggressions on students in university classrooms, and resources faculty and staff can use to support each other and students as they combat microaggressions.

  • Read:

    “Am I overreacting?” Understanding and Combating Microaggressions
    This article defines and provides examples of different types of racial microaggressions. It describes the experience of an assistant professor who encountered racial microaggression during diversity training. Author Gina Garcia expresses, “while I have experienced blatant racism and sexism in my predominantly white institution situated in a mostly white urban city where 2% of the population shares a common racial/ethnic/cultural experience with me, I spend most of my time processing these types of daily microaggressions, wondering if I am imagining them. I often ask myself, “Am I overreacting?” “Did that just happen?”

    Racial Microaggressions on the College Campus: What Faculty Should Be Doing
    Professor Keonya Booker describes racial microaggression on a college campus and what faculty can do about it. Despite an increase in diversity training and sensitivity programs, the instances of racial microaggressions are on the rise. The college campus has always been a source of activism, civic awakening, and identity development, but the current, strained political climate of the country has affected racial tensions, animosity, and antagonism in an unnerving way. In light of this, faculty are no longer charged with solely being content experts in their respective disciplines; they also must be skilled in constructing learning environments that are welcoming and supportive of students from underrepresented groups.

    How to Respond to Racial Microaggressions When They Occur
    The R.A.V.E.N. framework is particularly useful when responding to microaggressions that occur in public (physical and online) spaces. The R.A.V.E.N. is a five-step approach that entails 1) Redirecting the conversation or interaction, 2) Asking probing questions, 3) Values clarification, 4) Emphasizing your own thoughts, and 5) offering concrete Next steps.

  • Watch and Listen:

    Microassaults (3 mins) - Watch
    This video is an excerpt from Microaggressions in the Classroom produced Dr. Yolanda Flores Niemann. It acts as an introduction to microassaults.

    Microinsults (7 mins) - Watch
    This video is an excerpt from Microaggressions in the Classroom produced Dr. Yolanda Flores Niemann. It acts as an introduction to microinsults.

    Microinvalidations (2 mins) - Watch
    This video is an excerpt from Microaggressions in the Classroom produced Dr. Yolanda Flores Niemann. It acts as an introduction to microinvalidations.

  • Write:
    1. Whose experiences, norms, values, and perspectives influence an institution’s laws, policies, and systems of evaluation?
    2. What is your response/reaction when microaggressions happen to students around you?
    3. What changes can you implement to address/reduce microaggressions students experience at UVA?
    4. Can you identify microaggressions? What process do you use to identify microaggressions?
  • Engage:

    Join us for our Engagement

    on April 27, 2021
    3:00 PM
    Zoom -