“Train the Trainer” forum

In response to a need for more recognition and understanding toward diversity on campus, a workshop is scheduled to take place on Friday as a follow-up to last year’s “We Are All Purple” forum.

Titled “Train the Trainer,” this workshop is designed to help students and faculty members to understand others and learn how to handle difficult situations and conversations.

The members of the committee include Brent Bilodeau, Freda Briscoe, Crista Lebens, Richard McGregory, Mark McPhail, Elizabeth Ogunsola, and Trudi Witonsky.  The speaker of the event is Dr. Alma R. Clayton-Pedersen.

“We were just thinking what we could [do to] make an impact on campus and in part we were sort of stimulated by the hate crimes and [wanted to] respond in a positive way,”  Witonsky said.

“Train the Trainer” will be the first of multiple forums that will help get students and faculty members talking about difficult situations.

The workshop will take place at the Fern Young Terrace at the Young Auditorium.  It will be an all day event, starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m., with lunch provided. The event is funded through the Inclusive Excellence Initiative Program Grant.

Five students selected from each college, as well as five student leaders, will join specially chosen faculty members, non-teaching academic staff and professors.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to work across disciplines and divisions and with students to foster a more inclusive sense of community and to keep learning,” Witonsky said. “To look at what are best practices … learning from each other, keep evolving.”

This idea relates to the pay it forward idea, where a good deed or lesson is passed on from one person to another person.

“What we were thinking is, it could make a big impact if we could start training faculty, who are interested and volunteering, to do something on campus.  It’s sort of like each one, teach one idea that we’re thinking about,”  Witonsky said.

The workshop will teach participants how to deal with difficult conversations and to engage each other in their knowledge about student life.

“One thing [the participants] will get are some immediate exercises to try in a situation,” Witonsky said. “We’ll practice the different exercises during the seminar.”

A workbook will be provided for the participants.

Clayton-Pederson, the keynot speaker, is the executive vice president of Emeritus Consulting Group.  She has spoken at UW-Whitewater before and the seminar is related to inclusive excellence.

“Inclusive excellence really is trying to think about what do students need in a global economy and one thing would be the ability to deal with diverse people who are different than you are,” Witonsky said.

The idea of understanding individuals and different perspectives is a key part of the seminar, which will likely be a repeated event, Witonsky said.

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