Thoughts on the intersection of Community Engagement, Research and Implicit Bias from KerryAnn O’Meara, IARSLCE 2016 Preconference Presenter
Over the last 7 years I have had the opportunity to work with and study campuses trying to better support and regard diverse forms of scholarship (engaged scholarship, interdisciplinary, digital, critical race) and diverse faculty (especially women and under-represented minority faculty). One of the most important things I have come to understand is just how pervasive implicit bias is in all of our interactions and organizations. It impacts faculty careers, teaching evaluations, recognition and networks. It also exists in how we work with students in and out of classrooms, how we develop relationships and see community partners, and how we work together as administrators.
And yet implicit bias is very hard to recognize in media res, and/or very hard to know how to respond. Yet we are the people we have been waiting for. We need opportunities to come together and figure out how and why bias emerges from even the most well-intentioned of people, and how we can “script” unscripted interactions to make it more likely equity and inclusion win over bias. I have learned from social psychologists that when people are exposed over and over to something, such as the news that implicit bias is pervasive–but lack a clear set of strategies for what to do when they are faced with it–they develop a feeling of helplessness, even cynicism that yes this exists, but there is not much we can do. We can do much better than that–we can use case studies and interactive theater, and humor and stories, and research to come up with concrete strategies so when the inevitable occurs–we are ready and feel like we have choices in how we might act.
Profession O’Meara will be presenting the preconference workshop Interrupting Bias: A Workshop for Faculty, Administrators and Students at the 2016 IARSLCE Conference in New Orleans, September 26 – 28, 2016.
Preconference Session information below.
It seems every day another social science study is published showing the prevalence of implicit bias in our daily interactions and organizations. However, implicit bias can be subtle and hard to identify while it is happening, and even harder to mitigate. In this workshop, Professor KerryAnn O’Meara, Director of the University of Maryland ADVANCE program, will walk us through the perfect storm cconditions that make bias most likely to emerge, and present strategies for reducing bias and its consequences. We will focus in on four kinds of implicit bias to make our discussion concrete: bias in hiring and employment, bias in negotiation, bias in recognition of performance, and bias in perception of others based on appearance and speech. We will consider the research in these areas and how they might apply to faculty and student interactions with community members and partners, and faculty and student relationships and careers on campus. We will discuss strategies that we might apply to reduce the likelihood of bias shaping perceptions and actions in these areas.