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Understanding Implicit Bias Certificate Program

This series of three courses will allow participants experiential opportunities to thoroughly examine implicit bias and begin the work of interrupting their own biases as well as those embedded within systems at MSU. We all play a role in MSU’s ambition to achieve excellence through full participation, and this program will give you the tools to make a difference.

Upon certification, participants will:

  • Understand the lenses through which they see and experience the world, and how those lenses can be tinged with unconscious, implicit bias.
  • Have an increased understanding of power dynamics and privilege, and the barriers they create for full participation.
  • Be able to identify implicit bias and microaggressions when they play out in real life, and how to begin the work of interrupting them.
  • Have an increased sense of their own biases and a plan for continued self-education.
  • Better understand the challenges MSU faces in retaining top talent, and how you will contribute to an inclusive campus that opens doors to full participation.

This series is brought to you by the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives and facilitated by Jessica Garcia, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Intercultural Education Specialist, Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.

How to sign up:

To sign up for this certificate series, log into EBS, click on 'My Career and Training', then click on the 'Courses for employees at MSU' tile. Under the menu items click on 'Browse Current Courses', then select 'Organization and Professional Development'. Then click 'Certificate Programs' and select 'Implicit Bias Certificate Program.' You must sign up for all three courses individually. All three courses must be completed in sequence to receive the certificate.


Course 1: Creating an Inclusive Environment

This interactive session is divided into three segments. In the first part of the program, participants will work to understand and identify categories associated with the various labels we apply to ourselves and others in our everyday lives. In the second portion of the program, participants will consider the ways in which these categories apply to themselves and how this shapes their interactions with others. The final portion of the program will introduce participants to a team-building exercise designed to enhance self-awareness and bridge connections.

Course 2: Introduction to Implicit Bias and Microaggressions

This interactive session is divided into three segments. In the first part of the program, participants will learn about the universal phenomenon of implicit bias: what it is, why it happens, how it happens, and when it is most likely to happen. In the second portion of the program, participants will have an opportunity to explore their own implicit bias and how it impacts the ways in which they interact with others. The final portion of the program will introduce the concept of microaggressions as one outcome of implicit bias and provide suggestions for ways to reduce the incidence of bias in our daily lives.

Course 3: Preparing for the Next Encounter

During this session, participants will identify an encounter (or theme of encounters) they have had that was identity-based. Racial encounters (with a colleague or guest, either a race-based topic or of a different racial/ethnic background than themselves) are preferred but they can also be other identity markers such as gender, sexuality, religion, political ideology, etc. This encounter (or theme) should be one that you are unsatisfied with: you wish the encounter had gone differently, that you handled the situation differently, the outcome were different, etc. The session will include an opportunity to process the encounter they and also brainstorm alternatives for a more satisfying outcome, ultimately preparing and empowering the participants for the next encounter.

Participants should come to the meeting with an encounter in mind and be prepared to share their experiences in small and large groups.