Waitlists to BUILD inclusive campus

By Cindy Garcia

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Staff and faculty hoping to gain knowledge to support diversity may have to wait a little longer.

New to campus this fall, BUILD (Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity) certificate has waitlists for all the courses it is holding this semester. The non-credit-bearing certificate is aimed at providing staff and faculty with skills and knowledge to contribute to an equitable campus.

Lindsay Jarratt, the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer resources manager, said 161 people have completed at least one BUILD course. There were also 970 class registrations, although not necessarily by different individuals.

“We have the problem of having more people than we have classes at the moment,” she said. “To me, that speaks to a demand for tangible learning for diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Among the topics covered by the courses are race, implicit biases, biases in search and hiring processes, and microaggressions.

Staff and faculty have to complete one course and five electives to receive a certificate.

Jarratt said there are incentives to complete the course, but each is on a voluntary basis. Besides a certificate for completion, staff and faculty can ask for a letter to be sent to employers about the extra skillset.

Participants also earn a medallion for every class attended along with a placard.

“It all represents something really tangible that you are working towards diversity equity,” Jarratt said.

Shuhui Lin, an international student support and retention specialist, has chosen to participate in BUILD. She said BUILD has helped her realize how to better work with different identities.

“I think, even though I have been trying to learn about topics related to diversity in these past few years through attending different workshops on campus, like NCBI and Safe Zone, I have learned from the BUILD workshops that there is so much more that I need to continue learning,” she said.

Jodi Graff, a biomedical programs administrator and assistant to the associate dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, said she believes it is her responsibility to participate in BUILD. At the heart of the Carver College of Medicine’s core functions are diversity and inclusion, she said.

“Inclusiveness and excellence are interdependent Diversity and inclusion serve as essential drivers in achieving excellence,” Graff said.

Graff said BUILD provides an opportunity for greater strides in to achieve greater diversity on campus.

“Skill training leads to empowerment,” she said. “A lot of good people want to do something, but don’t know where to start. Having actual skills and places to practice makes it possible for all of us to feel more empowered to act for change.”

Jarratt said plans for the program are still murky. At the core of requests for changes is availability for students and the Iowa City community.

“There’s a desire to meet that but it’s a question of capacity,” she said. “We hope at some point this will be accessible to everyone. We have some dream for the future, but time will still tell.”

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