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 2017-2018 trainings on our website or on the University Events calendar. All sections will be open for registration through Learning and Development starting August 14th. 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.

BUILD: A Closer Look at Race in America

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 experience(s) influence our perceptions of others and develop strategies to support racial healing and racial equity.

BUILD: ACT for Social Justice

This course should address the following objectives:

  • Communicating across difference/cross-cultural communication and supporting diverse work environments
  • Developing tools for resolving conflict and tension
  • Exploring barriers to inclusion and offers skill building for combating those challenges

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/BUILD: 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

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: Beyond the Numbers: Foundations for Diversity & Inclusion

This introductory workshop will provide a framework for understanding diversity and inclusion as core values of the university. Participants will explore and reflect on the role of identity in our personal and professional experiences. This session will also outline relevant resources and opportunities on campus. As part of the BUILD initiative, this session fulfils the core course requirement and should be taken first if possible.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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!

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD: 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.

ASC/BUILD: Understanding the Culture Behind Sexual Assault

This is the first and foundational course of a three workshop series called ASC: Advocating for a Safe Community. The course will help participants understand the societal stereotypes, behaviors and barriers that make up rape culture and will include an introduction to strategies for combating rape culture such as survivor allyship, practicing consent, and bystander intervention, which will be discussed at a deeper level in the two subsequent workshops.

BUILD: 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.

BUILD Passport

The Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) certificate program was introduced in August of 2015 and provides free in-person courses geared to build skills in the workplace and classroom in order to foster a more inclusive environment. Now, faculty and staff can let their learning go beyond the classroom by activating the BUILD Passport!

How does the BUILD Passport work?

  1. Participate in qualifying diversity-focused activities.
  2. Track your participation and complete all fields for each in the BUILD Passport Tracking Form.
  3. Submit your passport after completing each level.
  4. Receive your BUILD Passport medallion via campus mail.
  5. Add it to the BUILD placard you received at the core course. (Placards can also be picked up at C215 SSH, 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.

Here are some ideas of things you can do to receive credit towards your Passport medallions:

  • Attend a diversity-related event such as a celebration, rally, or town hall meeting
  • Become a Campus Conversation Partner
  • Read a social justice-themed book
  • Take implicit association tests online
  • Visit a religious service different than your own
  • Host an event that is Advantage Iowa approved
  • Visit museums based on heritage different than your own
  • Become a facilitator for BUILD
  • Volunteer for a program supporting people in need, people with disabilities, LGBTQ Youth, people of color, etc.
  • Incorporate diversity-related discussions into staff meetings, classroom curriculum, and professional development plans
  • Become a Mentor for underrepresented students on campus
  • Join an advocacy group
  • Organize a rally to raise awareness
  • Visit a UI multicultural house which serves students of a different heritage than you
  • Join a listserv or newsletter connected to social justice
  • Help fund or fundraise for an event, program, or organization dedicated to equity and inclusion

PDF iconBuild Passport (fillable PDF)

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

2017-2018 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.