Marquette touts impact of faculty DEI course, cites testimony of 'privileged white guy' as proof

Marquette University encourages its faculty to enroll in 'Making Marquette Inclusive,' a 10-week course that will teach about 'microagressions' and 'implicit bias.'

According to the school, the course was launched as a response to George Floyd's death and the resulting desire to become better racial allies among faculty members.

To ensure its campus is as equitable as possible, Marquette University is offering a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) course for its faculty members called “Making Marquette Inclusive” (MMI).

The 10-week course was launched in the summer of 2021 and explores ideas such as “implicit bias, privilege, microaggressions, the promotion of equity, and effective dialogue orientations,” according to a description on the school’s website.

The web page notes, “Participants have the opportunity to reflect upon the relevance of these topics to their own lives, discuss with colleagues, and apply the concepts to their work in an action-oriented framework.”

MMI was developed in response to the death of George Floyd, which inspired faculty to seek ways to join “in dismantling the systems that continue to result in these injustices,” according to Jacki Black, the school’s Director for Hispanic initiatives and Diversity and Inclusion Educational Programming. She is also listed as the contact person for those looking to enroll in the course.

[RELATED: SUNY to require DEI and social justice courses in fall 2023]

“Ultimately, our hope is that as employees examine issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, they will focus on how these issues relate to our day-to-day work on this campus and apply the concepts within their spheres of influence,” she writes.

According to Marquette Today, a total of 227 faculty members have completed the course. 93% of respondents in a post-course survey agreed they feel “better equipped to engage in the work that makes Marquette a more inclusive place.”

The course description showcases an anonymous review from a participant, who stated, “I’ve also really come to realize just how important my role as a middle-level leader, especially that of a privileged white guy, is to being an ally in this space for our college – at least until the change we seek happens.”

Katie Mertz, the Director of Pro Bono and Public Service at Marquette Law School, says she enrolled in the course to learn more about the course’s instruction on concepts like implicit bias and microagressions. “The conversations made me recognize my own power as a white ally and think creatively about ways I could contribute to diversity, equity and inclusion on campus,” she told Marquette Today.

The school is offering a “2.0 version” of the course in addition to the original one this fall, although registration closed on Sept. 1.

In addition to MMI, Marquette offers a number of other DEI-related courses and groups for faculty participation. 

One such example is the “Anti-Racism Community (ARC) Dialogues,” which are “monthly discussions around issues related to racism.” The program description explains, “We are particularly mindful that equity and anti-racism work and the burden of educating white people on these issues often falls to people of color. As such, this group is meant to shift that focus and to avoid instances were [sic] emotional labor and time is extracted from persons of color on our campus.”

[RELATED: University will not let students graduate without passing a DEI course]

Other Marquette faculty offerings include the “Faculty Diversity Book Club,” a group workshop titled “Implicit Bias and Microaggressions,” and the “Symposium on Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice.”

Other schools have gone a step further and have made faculty DEI courses mandatory. 

In June, Campus Reform reported an instance at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine, where all faculty, fellows, and graduate student workers are required to complete a number of DEI credit hours each year proportional to the amount they work for the school.

Campus Reform contacted Marquette University and Jacki Black for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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