BUILD Program

Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) Certificate Program

The BUILD initiative is an opportunity for UI faculty and staff to gain strategic knowledge and skills to contribute to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. By completing a series of workshops, participants will earn a certificate demonstrating their commitment as leaders for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and classroom.

Participants in the BUILD initiative will gain:

  • better understanding of the experiences of specific identity groups
  • skills for managing cultural transitions
  • strategies for successful communication
  • best practices for building and supporting diverse teams
  • recognition of patterns of marginalization
  • tools for resolving conflict and tension
  • support in eliminating behaviors and practices that create barriers to inclusion

To earn a BUILD certificate, participants must complete the required course, Beyond the Numbers: Foundations for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and at least five elective courses. Courses for the academic year will be updated and available to view at by the first week of classes. All sections will be open for registration through the Employee Self Service portal.

In addition to in-person training sessions, the BUILD program also offers professional development opportunities through the BUILD Plus program. The Plus program includes coaching, beyond the classroom learning opportunities, and community problem-solving. Check out more information on each BUILD Plus program below!

BUILD is a collaborative initiative led by the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in partnership with campus thought leaders.

Check out our new BUILD Virtual Cohorts!

Upcoming BUILD Trainings

Upcoming BUILD Trainings

BUILD: Engineering an Intersectionality Lens for Equity and Inclusive Excellence

Thursday, October 1, 2020 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Virtual Event

The Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) initiative is an opportunity for UI faculty, staff, and graduate students to gain strategic knowledge and skills to contribute to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. By completing a series of workshops, participants will earn a certificate demonstrating their commitment as leaders for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and classroom. Our social identities (both privileged and oppressed) shape our…

BUILD: Beyond the Numbers - Foundations for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Friday, October 9, 2020 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Virtual Event

The Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity initiative is an opportunity for UI faculty, staff, and graduate students to gain strategic knowledge and skills to contribute to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. By completing a series of workshops, participants will earn a certificate demonstrating their commitment as leaders for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and classroom. This introductory workshop will allow participants to understand the importance…

BUILD: Beyond the Numbers - Foundations for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Virtual Event

The Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity initiative is an opportunity for UI faculty, staff, and graduate students to gain strategic knowledge and skills to contribute to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. By completing a series of workshops, participants will earn a certificate demonstrating their commitment as leaders for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and classroom. This introductory workshop will allow participants to understand the importance…

BUILD: Making the Paradigm Shift from Diversity to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Virtual Event

The Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) initiative is an opportunity for UI faculty, staff, and graduate students to gain strategic knowledge and skills to contribute to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. By completing a series of workshops, participants will earn a certificate demonstrating their commitment as leaders for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and classroom. The session is a collaboration between the Office of the Provost,…

BUILD: For the Long Haul - Increasing Your Stamina While Doing Justice Work

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 9:00am to 12:00pm
Virtual Event

The Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) initiative is an opportunity for UI faculty, staff, and graduate students to gain strategic knowledge and skills to contribute to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. By completing a series of workshops, participants will earn a certificate demonstrating their commitment as leaders for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and classroom. This is an advanced session. Participants are expected to have a…


The Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) program was established in the fall of 2015 to empower employees to contribute to the UI’s vision of a welcoming and diverse campus.

BUILD aims to create a community of learners across campus, and equipping them with awareness, knowledge, and skills, through a community of practice framework, and by utilizing adult learning models.

Beyond the Numbers: Foundations of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (3 hours)

This introductory workshop will allow participants to understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values of the university. Participants will explore and reflect on the role of identity in their personal and professional experiences. This session will also outline the relevant resources and opportunities on campus. For those taking BUILD courses to obtain a certificate, this session should be taken first.

Note: This is an example of the elective courses offered. The actual offering each semester will change, depending on availability of instructor and interest/need for specific topics. New sessions will be added as available, and participants are encouraged to continue attending sessions even after they have fulfilled the certificate requirements.

If you have completed National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) or LGBTQ Safe Zone Project training on the UI campus and would like to receive credit towards your BUILD certificate, please send an email to (link sends e-mail), letting us know the dates you completed the training and we will validate participation through Learning and Development and send medallions to your campus address once confirmed.

ASC: The Culture Behind Sexual Assault, Replacing Rape Culture with Consent Culture

This workshop is part of the Advocating for Safer Communities (ASC) certification program for people wanting to learn more and/or serve as allies and ambassadors for RVAP. The Culture Behind Sexual Assault interrogates the way that our society is set up to both subtly and overtly support sexual violence and offers participants a framework to challenge rape culture in their own lives. The session discusses the repercussions of not challenging rape culture, gives participants tools for critically examining language and culture, offers a model of affirmative consent and consent culture as a replacement for rape culture, and uses small group work to empower participants for personal growth. The program discusses affirmative consent practices in a sex-positive framework and offers students concrete examples of ways to incorporate enthusiastic consent into their lives. (Cross-listed with BUILD)

 A Closer Look at Race in the United States

In this session, participants will discuss and define race and the levels of racism and review research on how racism is perpetuated in today’s society. We will also explore how our experienc(s) influence our perceptions of others and develop strategies to support racial healing and racial equity.

ACT for Social Justice

ACT for Social Justice incorporates principles from current evidence-based approaches (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) to behavior change in the service of becoming a more effective social justice agent. This workshop will engage the audience in a reflective and experiential process of noticing how we carry implicit prejudice and how skillful management of our responses to these biases is essential to showing up as an ally for social justice. Participants will be tasked with engaging in critical self-reflection and identifying skills that can help cultivate effective responses to problematic intrapersonal experiences that act as barriers to building relationships across difference.

In addition to the experiential portion of the presentation, the latter portion of the presentation provides an overview of how to conceptualize prejudice through an ACT lens and the implications of doing so.

BGC: An Introduction to Federal Regulations Affecting International Students

Immigration laws regulate many aspects of international students' lives, including entry to the United States, the conditions under which they may remain in this country and re-enter after traveling abroad, and eligibility for immigration benefits such as employment and extension of stay. This session will provide an introductory overview of the application and visa process, foundations of U.S. student immigration law, ISSS responsibilities to the Department of Homeland Security and to the student, and the basic rules that international students must follow to remain in status while studying in the United States.

Participants who attend this session will be able to:

develop an awareness of the basic federal rules and regulations international students must follow to remain in status while studying in the United States

recognize the complex employment guidelines international students must follow

learn how ISSS staff are able to help departments with immigration concerns and issues

Basic Training - Understanding our Veteran and Military Students

There are over 1,500 military affiliated students at the University of Iowa. Our Veteran students have unique experiences and skills that differ from most of their classmates. Only approximately 1% of the U.S. population is currently serving in the military. UI staff and faculty may have difficulties understanding the military culture and the assets military affiliated students bring to campus. The goal of this training is help build understanding of the US military and insight into our Veteran population on campus. This course will include Veteran and Military students to help facilitate the discussion and to answer questions.

Black Radicalism and the Diseases of Racism

Using selected texts from seminal African American, Afro-Caribbean, and African intellectuals, this course will establish racism as pervasive throughout American society; then present several models of racism as a disease akin to autoimmune diseases, alcoholism, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including etiology, symptomatology, and treatment plans. Using a modified form of the 12-Step program, participants will: diagnose the ways that racism is operative in their experience, individually and institutionally; and develop respective treatment plans to manage racism in their lives, bearing in mind that racism—like an autoimmune disease or addictive disorder—has no cure.

Connecting with Veteran Students

This course will help the University of Iowa faulty and staff learn more about our Veteran students and how to connect with them. We will cover information about of Veteran students, their service background, the challenges they face transitioning to college, and what are the special needs some of our Veteran students may have.

Creating Equitable Gateway Course Experiences

Equity in the academic experience is an essential component for campus efforts toward improving diversity, equity, and inclusion. Student experience literature has illustrated how issues of discrimination, oppression, and/or prejudice continue to permeate classroom environments, and the effects are pronounced for undergraduate students in the beginning stage of pursuing a college degree when they are taking foundational, or gateway, courses. This BUILD session seeks to work with session attendees to better understand the experiences that students from marginalized identities have in key gateway courses and to collaboratively work together to identify strategies and skills to create equitable environments in gateway course settings. We will present student transition and experience data to create a narrative, discuss best practices in higher education, and collaboratively work toward both individual skills and strategies for institutional level change.

Exploring the Influence of Unconscious Bias in Our Work and Lives: The Research, the Impact, and Strategies to Override

This workshop will explore unconscious bias, including an introduction to key research studies showing the prevalence and potential impact of unchecked bias in employment practices, clinical interactions, mentoring, and everyday interactions.  Participants will explore evidence-based strategies to reduce its impact using case-based discussions related to faculty/staff recruitment, retention, self-advocacy, and more.

First Generation Focus

Almost 25% of undergraduate students at the University of Iowa identify as 1st generation. This interactive session will explore definitions, challenges, and successes of 1st generation students at the University of Iowa.  Participants will learn about the experiences of 1st generation students and develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to create a more inclusive campus environment for 1st generation students.

Fostering Your CQ Framework

To thrive and succeed in today’s diverse world, one needs to have a highly developed cultural intelligence (CQ). Cultural Intelligence describes your capacity to relate and work effectively across different identity groups and cultures. In this introductory session, we’ll talk about the four capabilities of CQ, cultural values orientations, and how to foster rich opportunities for cross-cultural interaction and learning. Participants will also complete a personalized CQ assessment, and have the chance to explore their results and develop an action plan for growth.

How to Have a “Learning Conversation” in the Workplace

This session will help participants understand and prepare to have a learning conversation about diversity in the workplace.  Topics include an introduction to a three-step process and a roadmap to guide a productive conversation plus an overview of active listening.  These skills will be applied to realistic workplace scenarios.

Latinx, Latino, Hispanic, Spanish, Multicultural, etc. - Evolution of a Concept and Identity

This presentation will offer a short history of a contested concept : Latinx/ Latino/ Hispanic/ Spanish/ Multicultural/ etc. and its evolving definition throughout time and space, using the U.S. census as one important place where this concept has been contested. Then, we will watch and discuss examples of Latinx/Latino/Hispanic/Multicultural etc. representations in film, video and media and show how these representations have evolved reflecting, and also influencing, changes in the U.S. socioeconomic and political system. Finally, participants will be encouraged to identify strategies for promoting acceptance and celebration of diverse populations, including Latinx, in all their diversity, in their respective places of work.

Making the Paradigm Shift - From Diversity to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The session is a collaboration between the Office of the Provost, Chief Diversity Office, and University Human Resources. Within the session, participants will begin making the shift from diversity to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We will review tools, resources, and strategies for integrating DEI into unit plans. For units that do not have current DEI-related strategies to report, a FY19 action may include having a team of 2-3 individuals attend one of these workshops and return to the unit to facilitate unit discussions and planning. For units with current DEI-strategies, this session will provide tools and processes for advancing those initiatives.

Making Your Message Count through an Inclusive Marketing Lens

Inclusive Marketing strives to create a visual reality that is more representative of our real world demographics. It strives to acknowledge our various identities, differences, and histories while also finding ways to connect through shared experience and humanity. In this session, participants will learn about some of the tools, strategies, and the methods used to create effective inclusive marketing campaigns, and how they can be applied with just about any interaction we have in our day-to-day lives.  Whether you are creating promotional materials for a program or event, leading a committee or team, recruiting future students or staff, or trying to engage a classroom full of diverse perspectives, this session hopes to equip participants with an increased awareness and the skills needed to promote and deliver a unified message which values diversity and inclusion at the University of Iowa. 

More Than An Asterisk – Understanding Native American Students in Higher Education

Native Americans make up less than 0.5% of students in higher education, often times only referred to with an asterisk in the reporting of demographic information. This course will examine historical reasons for low enrollment by Native Americans in higher education. The unique complexities of Native American identity will be examined. Participants will identify barriers to inclusion for Native American students on college campuses, as well as learn strategies for ensuring the retention of Native American students in higher education.

Native Appropriations – Ethical Implications for Social Justice and Identity Development

Many colleges continue to use American Indian images as their mascots despite pleas to end this practice. The fascination with Native cultures has become a growing market globally. Attempts to change these practices have not always been successful because of the profound support these images create. This presentation will engage the audience and create meaningful dialogue about the impact and pervasiveness that Native appropriations have in our society; and to urge action to effect social change.

Real Talk - Courageous Conversations about Race

Americans are expressing concern over racial discord at a rate nearly unseen since the Civil Rights Movement. Far too often news and social media outlets inform us about disturbing incidents that reflect racial conflict. There are varying opinions about who’s right and who’s wrong. But the discussion is mostly among races. It’s rarely between races. The one place where we spend most of our time – at work– does not always provide space for dialogue. Many of us were taught at an early age to minimize differences and avoid conversations about race out of fear of making a mistake or offending a person or a group. We avoid asking questions of each other or holding constructive conversation about our differences. Sometimes we even avoid each other altogether, and that hurts our ability to work together effectively. During this session we will create brave space to have informed dialogue that’s grounded in shared understanding.

Returning Citizen and Reentry Simulation

 The Reentry Simulation was developed by the United States Attorney’s office and designed to allow participants to gain an understanding of the obstacles offenders face upon release from a term of incarceration. The purpose of the Reentry Simulation is to help participants more clearly understand the barriers ex-offenders face on their paths to re-establishing themselves as lawabiding, taxpaying citizens.  By “living the life” of someone released from prison, participants experience first-hand the barriers and challenges encountered by returning citizens on a daily basis. This experience highlights many of the unnecessary barriers to successful reentry. During the simulation participants are assigned the identity of a fictional offender and navigate through a series of events in an effort to successfully reintegrate into the community. They have to meet the strict life requirements that people released from prison have to meet or risk being returned to prison. The obstacles that simulation participants face include obtaining identification cards, homelessness, lack of transportation, limited money, paying required court costs, visiting parole officers, seeking employment, and applying for assistance when all resources have been exhausted. The simulation is intended to educate all members of the community regarding the challenges returning citizens face when leaving prison. Almost any person would find it a useful exercise, but policy makers, elected officials, faith-based communities, employers, community organizations, and law enforcement personnel may find it particularly helpful. 

Responsible Action - Disability Accommodations on Campus

The session focuses on increasing awareness around where we succeed and where we need to improve supporting individuals with disability. Participants will learn about the history of the Disability Rights Movement, and relevant law and policy. Additionally, we’ll discuss what our responsibilities are for accommodation, why it matters, and strategies we can immediately implement in our departments, organizations, and communities.

Shifting the Monoracial Campus Conversation

Racial demographics are changing in homes, classrooms, and workplaces. The number of individuals with multiracial or multiethnic experiences is increasing, yet those experiences are not always part of the larger conversation. In this session, participants will address barriers when and strategies for supporting individuals with multiracial/multiethnic identities. Participants will be exposed to Multiracial and Multiethnic identity models and have an opportunity to hear personal narratives.

Size Diversity—Every Body Is Different

The session will examine issues related to body image and size diversity. We will discuss society’s messages about body image and body sizes, and how this impacts inclusivity at the University of Iowa. As a result of this session, participants will (a) be able to identify sizeism and how that impacts the UI community, (b) understand their own perceptions and biases with regard to body size, and (c) develop strategies for decreasing body shame and body size discrimination

Supporting College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder - Strategies and Resources

Assisting college students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has become an institutional priority as numbers of students from this population increase. In this session participants will understand the scope and complexities of ASD, explore the narrative of how college students with ASD experience campus environments, identify challenges and opportunities students with ASD may experience, and generate ideas and strategies that can be used both in and out of the classroom to support students with ASD.

Supporting DACA and Undocumented Students

Participants will learn about best practices in supporting DACA and undocumented students in higher education as well as brainstorm what steps they can take in their own personal and professional spheres of influence to push for equity for these groups.

The Dynamics of Difference

This session focuses on defining power and privilege and their effects in continuing systematic oppression. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their identities, specifically which ones hold privilege and which ones do not. In this session, participants will also learn how to address the conflict they or others may feel about their privileged identities.

 The House of Cards—Lessons in Smart Social Advocacy for Fighting the Good Fight of Civil Rights

This session takes participants through an exploration of the research on belief and attitude change to examine how to be most effective in creating social and cultural change as civil rights advocates. Additionally, using theories from social and counseling psychology, we will look at how to have the “good fight” while being effective in taking care of those from who we want change and in taking care of ourselves at the same time!

Traumatic Impacts: Connecting Race, Gender, and Violence

The history of the anti-sexual violence movement in the United States is rich, deep, vibrant and also fraught with inequalities related to gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, race, and ability/disability among other social identities. This session will explore the origins of rape victim/survivor advocacy as social justice and provide participants with the opportunity to consider how this history impacts our ability to support members of the UI community who are survivors.

Understanding and Deconstructing Media Representations

This course will discuss and engage with media representation of individuals and groups with a particular focus on identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientations, religion), stereotypes, and biases in media messages. We will present some basic theories/concepts to help us understand media representation and effects to provide a foundation that allows us to explore these issues with nuance. The course will take media representations seriously without suggesting that these images are "all powerful." We will discuss representations in news and entertainment with a focus on visual media. The goal of this course will be to help participants think critically about media, including the media they consume. We will also discuss ways to use media effectively in the classroom and other educational settings to engage students, staff, and other constituents. At the end of this session, participants should have a new perspective for thinking about media messages and the role of these messages in our lives.

Understanding & Intervening Effectively in Micro-Aggressions

Positive change can be accomplished when skilled, engaged bystanders have the ability to safely and effectively identify, confront, and intervene in situations in which unhealthy micro-aggressive behaviors are occurring which marginalize, demean, or intimidate individuals because of one or more aspects of their identity.

This training will engage participants in increasing their awareness and understanding of micro-aggressive behaviors and their impact on individuals, and will introduce the bystander intervention model and provide opportunities in small group exercises to apply the model real situations from the workplace and in daily life.

Understanding Introversion

Discussion and research on introversion have blossomed in recent years. We are coming to new understandings about personality traits and working styles of introverts that sometimes don't appear to reflect generally accepted "strengths" in the workplace and in education. Far from being simply "quiet," "solitary," "shy," or "reclusive," introverts bring unique approaches and strengths to our classrooms, our offices, our teams, our departments and units, and our institution. At the same time, "introversion" and "extroversion" are both more complex ideas than have been traditionally understood, and we can all benefit from knowing where our own introversion/extroversion characteristics and strengths lie. Understanding how introverts work best and can contribute the most will benefit individuals by having their work more appropriately assigned, supported, and rewarded; and it will enhance departments, units, and the university as a whole by supporting and benefiting from the diversity of working styles among our university community members. The workshop will explore the definitions of introversion and extroversion, how introverts can be best supported to flourish in the workplace, and how characteristics of introversion can be best put to advance our departments/units and the university. The workshop will also allow for individual self-assessment and sharing among participants, as well as provide brainstorming time on how to improve the environment for introversion at the UI.

What’s Law Got to Do With It?

During this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about their rights and protections in the areas of housing, employment, public accommodation, credit and education. Participants will also learn how to identify acts of discrimination in their community, understand the complaint process and engage in case scenarios.


Coaching is a structured, non-judgmental, motivational resource that allows individuals to work one-on-one with a trained Diversity Resources member to set personal goals, synthesize training information, and problem-solve specific issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Participants will be able to have up to three 45-minute sessions. Anyone currently enrolled in the BUILD certificate program is able to access the coaching program. If you are new to BUILD, or are considering participating, we encourage completing the program with a coach by your side!

Inquiries about the program or to get connected to a coach, please email


Meet Ups

Meet Ups are a quarterly opportunity for BUILD certificate recipients to continue conversations, share learning, and engage in collective problem-solving with other BUILD certificate recipients. Sessions are designed to address real-time issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in your workplaces, home, or in nation. This structure allows for each session to connect to the specific needs or questions of the participants. 

2020-2021 Schedule Coming Soon!



The Passport allows faculty and staff to gain course credit by pursuing diversity, equity, inclusion activities on their own time. The Passport is also a great opportunity to continue learning once you have completed the certificate program. Start today!

BUILD Passport (download PDF to complete)

How does the Passport work?

  > Attend diversity, equity, and/or inclusion-related event, training, activity, etc.

  > Track your participation and complete all fields for each in the BUILD Passport Tracking Form.

  > Submit your passport after completing each level.

  > Receive your BUILD Passport medallion via campus mail.

  > Add it to the BUILD placard you received at the core course. (Placards can also be picked up at 2750 UCC, by appointment only.)

Which activities qualify and which do not?

All activities connected to diversity and inclusion, social justice, and/or human rights will be considered with the following limitations: BUILD courses or other individual courses within a series or certificate program do not qualify. However, completing the series or certificate would qualify as one activity.

Activities prior to August 1, 2017 will not be considered, however, all activities afterward apply. There is no time limit to finishing each level of your Passport.

The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion invite university faculty, staff and graduate/professional students to submit BUILD course proposals for consideration in the 2019-2020 academic year schedule. Courses should be 2-3 hours in length and offer participants concrete skills for building inclusive work and classroom environments. Proposals accepted until May 24, 2019. Applicants will be notified of their proposal status by June 7, 2019. 

Selection Criteria:

Please describe how your course will address at least two (2) of the following objectives:

Course will provide participants with a deeper understanding of a specific identity group

Provides strategies for addressing discrimination, oppression and/or prejudice in the workplace or classroom

Covers topics related to communicating across difference/cross-cultural communication and supporting diverse work environments

Develops tools for resolving conflict and tension

Explores barriers to inclusion and offers skill building for combating those challenges

2019-2020 BUILD Course Proposal Form (link is external)

If you have questions or need assistance completing this form please email (link sends e-mail) or call 319-353-2388

I’ve previously taken one of the courses now being offered by BUILD.  Can I get credit for it?

We will work with participants to verify and provide BUILD credit for previously attended courses.  Just send an email to (link sends e-mail) with the details of your participation. Please note, courses that were similar, but have been revised for the BUILD certificate may not carry over for credit, especially if they were of a shorter duration.

Is there a time limit on when I have to complete the BUILD certificate program?

There is no specific deadline for completing your certificate. Participants may take as long as they need. And of course, we hope you’ll continue to take courses long after you’ve earned a certificate.

Do I have to take the BUILD core course before I take an elective course?

Although we do recommend it, participants may take other electives first if scheduling is a constraint.

Can community members participate in the BUILD certificate program?

Right now we are only offering this program for UI staff and faculty. However, there are many ways for others to get involved. Check out for more information and opportunities.

Who do I contact if I have more questions about BUILD or if I need ADA accommodations to participate?

Email (link sends e-mail) or call the Diversity Resources Unit at (319) 353 -2388.