BUILD: Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity


Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity

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 & Inclusion, and at least five elective courses.

BUILD is a collaborative initiative of the Chief Diversity Office and Learning & Development, along with the contributions of many of our campus thought leaders. 

You can currently view our 2016-2017 trainings on our website or on the University Events calendar. All sections will be open for registration through Learning and Development starting August 15th. Please contact if you have any questions or concerns.

Core Course

Beyond the Numbers: Foundations of Diversity & Inclusion (3 hours, Introductory Level)

This introductory workshop will allow participants to understand the importance of diversity 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.

Elective Courses

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.

Amplifying Voices: Queer People of Color Speak (2 hours, Intermediate Level)

This session addresses the complexities of having multiple identities, specifically focusing on the intersection of race, gender and sexual orientation. Participants will gain a better understanding of points of pride as well as the challenges a LGBTQ person of color may experience. This session will also feature the perspectives and experiences of people from these communities.

Black @ UI (2 hours, Intermediate Level)

African-American/Black communities contribute greatly to the University of Iowa’s success and dynamic educational environment. This session will celebrate the achievements of African-American/Black faculty, staff and students and look at the history of these communities on campus. Additionally, this session will consider the challenges members of these communities face on campus and offer the opportunity to better understand African-American/Black communities experiences on campus.

Building Effective Relationships Across Group Identities (4 hours, Introductory Level)

This interactive workshop will encourage participants to explore how our identities shape our experiences and our interactions with others, as well as the dynamics that get in the way of effective relationship-building across difference. Through a model developed by the National Coalition Building Institute, we’ll explore strategies for prejudice reduction and welcoming diversity. 

Note: This is an abridged/adapted version of our longer workshop NCBI: Leadership for Equity & Inclusion. That workshop may also be used for credit in the BUILD certificate in place of this half-day version. Individuals who have already completed the full-day workshop may email to obtain credit towards the certificate.

A Closer Look at Race in America (2 hours, Introductory Level)

In this session, we will take an introductory look at America’s history and culture with a racial lens. Reviewing law, movements, unsung heroes, and current events, participants will have an opportunity to think critically about race relations in the United States and how that has impacted our national narrative. We will also discuss some strategies for racial healing and racial equity.  

Conflict & Controversial Issues (4 hours, Advanced Level)

Developed by the National Coalition Building Institute, this process gives leaders skills to deal constructively with tough conflicts, enabling them to move disputing parties toward future cooperation. The skills practiced in the NCBI Controversial Issue Process are applicable to every conflict situation, whether the controversy involves a labor-management dispute, a clash between different organizations, or a quarrel among coworkers.

*Note:  Individuals who have already completed this workshop may email to obtain credit towards the certificate.

Disability Accommodation (3 hours, Introductory Level)

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.

Diversity in the Classroom (2 hours, Introductory Level)

This session considers how identity based power dynamics play out in the classroom. Participants will explore the impacts these power dynamics have on instructor teaching and student learning. Additionally, we will look at strategies that can be used to create a classroom environment where both students and instructors feel safe enough to bring their authentic selves to the learning experience.

The Dynamics of Difference (2 hours, Intermediate Level)

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.

Exploring Issues of Social Class at Iowa: Theory, Myths, and Implications (2 hours, Introductory Level)

This interactive session will explore social class as a relative social ranking based on income, wealth, education, status, and/or power (Adams, Bell, Griffin, 2004). Participants will increase their awareness and understanding of the impacts of social class on an individual and institutional basis; they will learn about the experiences of Iowa students from various class backgrounds; and they will develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to create a more inclusive campus environment.

Exploring the Influence of Unconscious Bias in Our Work and Lives - The Research, the Impact, and Strategies to Override (3 hours, Intermediate Level)

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 (2 hours, Introductory Level)

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

Fostering Your CQ Framework (3 hours, Introductory Level)

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.

The House of Cards:  Lessons in Smart Social Advocacy for Fighting the Good Fight of Civil Rights (2 hours, Intermediate Level)

This session will take 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!

How to Have a “Learning Conversation” in the Workplace (2 hours, Introductory Level)

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.

Implicit Bias: Our Unconscious Minds at Work (2 hours, Introductory Level)

Studies show that most Americans believe discrimination is wrong and that they do not consider themselves as having prejudice, yet researchers have shown that we each have unconscious biases which influence our perceptions, interactions, and decisions.  At work, these implicit biases can influence hiring and promotion, policy creation and enforcement, resource allocation, and every facet of how we interact with each other. In this introductory session, we’ll explore the current research and talk about how this impacts us and those we work with.

Interfaith Studies and  Interreligious Dialogue - Toward a Better University (2 hours, Introductory Level)

The 21st century university is a meeting place for a variety of religious and non-religious perspectives. How do we as university employees navigate this increasingly complex reality? How do we prepare ourselves to handle situations in the office, classroom, and on campus where religious and faith perspectives might clash? In this session we will be introduced to the growing field of interfaith studies. We will then spend most of our class time discussing how we as university educators, administrators, and ambassadors can tap into this field and its insights to work toward engaged action. We will work on some case studies in order to hone our individual and collective skills at interfaith/interreligious dialogue.

Military & Veteran Culture Education - Who are our vets, and how best can UI Faculty and Staff serve them? (2 hours, Introductory Level)

We have over 1,400 military affiliated students at the University of Iowa. These students differ from the typical UI student in many ways (e.g. age, family obligations, life experiences). Around 1% of the U.S. population is currently serving in the military, and all branches of the Armed Services are down-sizing. Many civilian staff and faculty have difficulties understanding the military culture and the assets military affiliated students bring to campus. This 2 hour training aims to be the first step in resolving this issue.

Reducing Bias in Search & Hiring Processes (2 hours, Intermediate Level)

Building on the introductory session on implicit bias (Implicit Bias: Our Unconscious Mind at Work), this workshop will further explore the research related to unconscious bias in the search and selection process and use case studies to apply evidence-based strategies to reduce its impact. This workshop is designed for HR Representatives, search committee chairs, and others involved in faculty and/or staff hiring processes.

NOTE: Participants are encouraged to attend “Implicit Bias: Our Unconscious Minds at Work” or to have a foundational knowledge of implicit bias prior to attending this session.

Safe Zone Phase I (2 hours, Introductory Level)

In this session, participants will learn about promoting inclusion, affirmation, and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer (LGBTQ) people in the university community.

*Note: Individuals who have already completed this workshop may email to obtain credit towards the certificate.

Safe Zone Phase II (2 hours, Intermediate Level)

Through this case study-based, application-focused session, participants will gain the tools they need to not only provide resources, but also become an active participant in making our campus a more supportive, inclusive, and affirming place for LGBTQ people.

*Note: Individuals who have already completed this workshop may email to obtain credit towards the certificate.

Strategies to Recognize and Address Implicit Bias (2 hours, Intermediate Level)

Building on the introductory session on implicit bias (Implicit Bias: Our Unconscious Mind at Work), this workshop will explore everyday ways in which implicit bias manifests itself in individual, interpersonal, and institutional practices, and introduce evidence-based strategies and best practices to reduce its impact.

NOTE: Participants are encouraged to attend “Implicit Bias: Our Unconscious Minds at Work” or to have a foundational knowledge of implicit bias prior to attending this session.

Trans* Awareness: Exploring Experience & Connecting Resources (2 hours, Intermediate Level)

This interactive workshop features an overview of trans* students’ experiences on college campuses with a focus on strengthening our ability to be more effective allies to this community.

Understanding & Intervening Effectively in Micro-Aggressions (2 hours, Introductory Level)

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.

Veterans and Military Culture (2 hours, Introductory Level)

This session is designed to raise awareness about issues specific to student veterans. Participants will learn about best practices to support and empower students entering or reentering the university setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 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 or call the Chief Diversity Office at (319) 353 -2388.

Call for Course Proposals

The Chief Diversity Office invites university faculty, staff and graduate/professional students to submit BUILD course proposals for consideration in the 2017/18 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 1, 2017. Applicants will be notified of their proposal status by May 31, 2017.  

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

2017-2017 BUILD Course Proposal Form

If you have questions or need assistance completing this form please email or call 319-353-2388



How to Apply/Enroll

UI faculty and staff sign up online through UI Self Service:

  1. Go to UI Employee Self Service, and click the "Personal" tab
  2. Go to Learning and Development, and click on "My Training"
  3. Click "Available Sessions and Series"
  4. Available sessions default to Alphabetical order - find the course you are interested in, click title, and "Enroll in Session." Most of the series' classes begin with "BUILD." Exceptions, such as Safe Zone training, will be marked "BUILD approved" on this site.

If you need further assistance, please contact the office of UI Learning and Development by emailing

Successful fulfillment of the BUILD certificate requires completion of one required core course and five elective courses. All courses taken for the program are free of charge to participants. Participants may take courses individually without working toward a certificate.  Individuals will receive a placard for their office after completing the initial core course and will receive stickers for each completed elective course.

Individuals will receive a placard for their office after completing the initial core course and will receive medallions for each completed elective course.