Anti-Racism Workshops

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Below is an overview of workshops the ACM consortial office provided to enhance intercultural skills among ACM faculty and staff. The sessions covered a range of topics from in-class facilitation, to student advising/mentorship and other institutional processes and decisions. Our goal was to provide skills and evidence-based practices that individuals could take back to their specific departmental and divisional contexts.

Workshops are scheduled through the academic year. Sessions will be recorded and made available on this page within a week of the workshop.

May 2024: Exploring Contextual Enablers of Modern Discrimination


Presenter: Ersaleen M. Hope, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President of Institutional Equity & Belonging, Colorado College

Description: As explicit forms of discrimination are declining, institutions must respond with policies built to identify and protect campus communities from contemporary modes of discrimination. Minimal research has explored policy and procedures as a contextual enabler of modern forms of discrimination. Studies have identified gaps in existing organizational policy but have yet to explore how these behavioral interventions (policy) contribute to ineffective antidiscrimination efforts. This talk illuminates the limitations of Civil Rights and other legal protections to identify and address root causes of harm, highlights the dangers of internal policy stagnation, and proposes practical solutions to ensure policy development and implementation address modern forms of discrimination.

February 2024: Planting Equity – Lessons From Plants on Cultivating Equitable Ecosystems

Presenter: Beronda Montgomery, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, Grinnell College.

Description: Humans engage with plants with an expectation that these organisms have the capacity to grow and thrive. Plants are extremely sensitive to external environmental conditions and adapt their growth and behavior to dynamic cues, which results in optimized survival and productivity. The specific ways in which humans engage with the plants growing in their environment offer many lessons about mentoring, professional development interventions and impactful leadership, as well as a need for promoting ecosystems-based awareness, tending, and cultivation to promote the success of individuals therein. Dr. Montgomery will discuss specific plant biology-inspired practices for supporting the comprehensive development of a diverse range of students, academic staff, and faculty members as researchers, scholarly thinkers, and independent practitioners.

Winter 2023: Balancing the Engagement Needs of Our Students, Campuses and Communities Post-Covid

With the generous support of the Spencer Foundation, ACM hosts our final virtual workshop discussing aspects of belonging and well-being in the lives of BIPOC college students. Panelists including current students, college staff, and community leaders share their thoughts on defining both belonging and well-being, their relationship to one another, the ways in which the campus experience may impact both, and what role the community plays.

Overview: As our campuses increase opportunities for community & civic engagement post-covid, what conversations are we having about the responsibilities that we have to our students and the outlying communities in these partnerships? How are we able to identify and respond to both the needs of our students and the outlying communities? What intentional discussions or work are we doing to address concerns around safety, access and sense of belonging? Join us in a discussion about the importance of asking these questions and how the answers may differ according to our campus location, community needs and student expectations.

Fall 2022: Equitable Civic Engagement: Race, Public Safety, and Civic Engagement


With the generous support of the Spencer Foundation, ACM hosts the second of four workshops discussing aspects of belonging and well-being in the lives of BIPOC college students. Panelists including current students, college staff, and community leaders share their thoughts on defining both belonging and well-being, their relationship to one another, the ways in which the campus experience may impact both, and what role the community plays.

Part two focuses on BIPOC students’ relationship with public safety. We turn to stakeholders, on campus and throughout our communities, to highlight the challenges and opportunities present in safety, security, and living in multicultural communities.


  • Dr. Hassel A. Morrison, Vice President for Student Life, St. Olaf College (he/him)
  • Derek Kruse, Department of Public Safety, St. Olaf College (he/him)
  • Jake Woodford, Mayor of Appleton, Wisconsin (he/him)
  • Dr. Eric Mayes, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Professor of Education, Lawrence University (he/him)
  • Malcolm Davis ‘23, President of Lawrence University Community Council (student government), Lawrence University (he/him)
  • Moderator: Christyn Abaray, Chief of Staff, Lawrence University (she/her)

2022 Retention and Success Workshop

Since 2015, ACM has hosted a series of Hiring and Diversity/Retention and Success workshops focused on unconscious bias, composition of search committees, faculty recruitment strategies, and strategies to support underrepresented students and faculty once they arrive on campus.

This year’s workshop is composed of three sessions centered on equity-based success strategies for the three constituent groups: faculty, students, and staff. We will feature:

  • A panel on how Carleton, Cornell, and Knox have approached and implemented equitable practices centered on recruitment, tenure, and promotion.
  • Stefan Debbert (Lawrence University) will share findings from an HHMI grant Lawrence is implementing to restructure introductory STEM classes to support underrepresented student success.
  • Leslie Bleichner (Grinnell College) will share information about a five-part retention strategy for historically marginalized staff members.

Spring 2022: Exploring Belonging and Well-being for BIPOC College Students


With the generous support of the Spencer Foundation, ACM hosts the first of four workshops discussing aspects of a sense of belonging and wellbeing in the lives of BIPOC college students and how they are shaped by their experiences both on and off campus.  Panelists including current students, college staff, and community leaders share their thoughts on defining both belonging and wellbeing, their relationship to one another, the ways in which the campus experience may impact both, and what role the community plays. This event is the first of a series exploring this topic and we hope to provide a framework for attendees to consider what this may look like in their own communities.


  • Autumn Green: Sociology major & Theatre minor, Sophomore, Beloit College
  • Ron Watson, PhD: Associate Professor, Political Science and Health & Society Chair, Health & Society Program; Co-coordinator, Health and Healing Career Channel, Beloit College
  • Harold Walehwa – Social and Criminal Justice and African-American Studies double major, Senior, Coe College
  • Okpara Rice – CEO, Tanager Place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Winter 2022: Successfully Navigating the Intersection of DEI and Academic Freedom


Few, if any, issues in higher education have received more attention of late than the pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and the defense of academic freedom. Unfortunately, these two “moral goods” are occasionally seen as in competition with each other when the assertion of one is seen as diminishing the other. Some, for example, fear that academic freedom is restricted by DEI efforts, leading to “cancel culture.” Others see assertions of “academic freedom” to be an inadequate response to proposed changes in classroom pedagogy. Still others simply avoid potential conflict by pulling back from certain pedagogies or topics when the application of one or both of these core principles might lead to hurt or bad feelings.

Successfully Navigating the Intersection of DEI and Academic Freedom will bring ACM faculty together with each other and national thought leaders across three different sessions. The first will offer an ACM-facilitated discussion of DEI and academic freedom as broad concepts, exploring the positives of each and considering how faculty can navigate the tension when these two moral goods collide in the classroom. Session two will bring in Jennifer Ruth (Portland State University) and Valarie Johnson (DePaul University) to frame the issues and questions more broadly. The third session will offer concrete solutions for assignments, syllabi, and in-classroom practices. These conversations will build an ACM community of practice through which each participant can support the others in building the most inclusive classroom possible.

Fall 2021: Cultures Collide

In this day and age, the ability to appreciate, accept and maybe even, internalize different cultures is vital. As individuals, we experience ‘our place’ or indeed the world around us in our own unique way. So, when cultures collide within us, each of us is equipped differently to handle the situation. Nevertheless, the options to reconcile the differences in cultures are often limited – we either fight the collisions or we find a way to be flexible. This talk will explore how and when these cultural collisions happen, the stakes of not being a culturally competent leader, and practical lessons to maintain your authentic self when working with people from different cultural backgrounds.


Adirupa Sengupta is Group Chief Executive of Common Purpose, a global non-profit committed to developing leaders and organizations that can work across boundaries to achieve positive impact. Utilizing over 30 years of global leadership experience, Common Purpose offers face-to-face and online leadership programs for multiple generations of leaders: from students in universities to senior leaders in organizations and society.  Adirupa has been with the organization since 2001 and has held a variety of roles over the years including CEO of Common Purpose Asia-Pacific, during which time she started a global hub out of Singapore and grew it to be a major player in the leadership field in Asia-Pacific. She has been working in the leadership development space for over 20 years with a passion for developing talent and connecting people from different backgrounds. She has extensive knowledge and experience of working across different countries, cities and cultures to help leaders learn to cross boundaries in order to tackle complex problems.


May 2021: Cultural Taxation and Allyship: Avoiding Amplification of Challenges Facing BIPOC Faculty and Staff at Predominantly White Institutions

Over 25 years ago, Amado Padilla coined the term “cultural taxation” to describe the additional work that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) scholars undertake in higher education due to their racial/ethnic group membership. Cultural taxation impacts both faculty and staff at predominantly White institutions and can make establishing a positive relationship with their school challenging. BIPOC individuals can benefit substantially from authentic allies who allow BIPOC to feel supported and on whom they can depend to engage consistently in racial/ethnic matters. This presentation will bring together the concepts of cultural taxation and allyship to engage participants in conversation about the need to move beyond performative allyship and lessen the cultural taxation that BIPOC staff and faculty experience.


Kendrick Brown is Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He served previously as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Redlands in Southern California for four and half years. For 18 years, he was a faculty member, department chair, and Associate Dean of the Faculty at Macalester College. His research focuses on the perception of allies by Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as well as how skin tone bias affects the psychological well-being of Black people and the ways in which interracial contact on sports teams can promote empathy and policy stances.


Mar. 2021: Decolonizing Pedagogies: Decentering Whiteness as Method

Description: In this session, we will reflect on our attachments to traditions embedded in our identities as members of small liberal arts college communities. These attachments–to disciplinary training, to administrative expertise, and to classroom-based authority–often thwart campus-wide aspirations for equity and justice. We will use this time to propose an “anti-diversity” framework that seeks to decenter whiteness and center Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) knowledges, histories, and experiences.

We argue that our institutions’ racialized demographics cannot serve as the primary metric of success. Small liberal arts colleges (SLACs) in the Midwest tend to hold tight to assimilationist dreams of “diversity and inclusion” that are frequently superficial and, in the end, even counterproductive. Efforts to “diversify” our campuses don’t name and address the whiteness that rests at the center of our histories and practices and can actually function as institutional refusals to be altered in fundamental ways. Additionally, there is a misperception that the work we need to do on our campuses is somehow naturally “built-in” into the bodies of BIPOC and other historically underrepresented groups.

We argue that the work of decolonizing our institutions requires critical masses of people–especially white people–to both recognize and resist the intimate geographies of their cultural and academic training in whiteness. Moving beyond one-off workshops and “tips and tricks,” the work of Beloit College’s Mellon-funded Decolonizing Pedagogies Project (DPP) has attempted nothing less than reimagining what equity and justice can look like at predominantly white institutions through a foundational critique of popular diversity discourse and an institutional-change method focused on decentering whiteness.


Dr. Jennifer Esperanza is a Professor of Anthropology at Beloit College, where she teaches courses in cultural and linguistic anthropology. She teaches courses in cultural anthropology, research design, ethnographic methods, consumerism, and linguistic anthropology. In addition to teaching and publishing, Dr. Esperanza regularly facilitates and organizes workshops and panels on issues of racial justice, equity, inclusion, multiculturalism. Her pedagogical strategies strive to be inclusive and decolonized. This includes storytelling, class-curated Spotify playlists, live-action role-play (LARPing), and student-curated museum exhibits, to name a few examples.

Dr. Catherine M. Orr is Professor and Chair of Critical Identity Studies, Co-PI of the Mellon-funded Decolonizing Pedagogies Project, and Director of Equity Initiatives at Beloit College. She is co-editor of Rethinking Women’s and Gender Studies (volumes 1 and 2) as well as co-author of Everyday Women’s and Gender Studies: Introductory Concepts, all published by Routledge. She has served in numerous positions on the board of the National Women’s Studies Association and is co-founder (along with Lisa Anderson-Levy) of Reflective Justice, a professional development consulting firm that works with higher education and non-profit organizations to promote more equitable and just workspaces.

Dr. Lisa Anderson-Levy is a Professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Critical Identity Studies at Beloit College. Her ongoing research examines the operation of whiteness as identity, structural apparatus, and ideology.  Publications include An(Other) Ethnographic Dilemma: Subjectivity and the Predicament of ‘Studying Up,’ and “The End(s) of Difference? Towards an Understanding of the “Post” in Post-Racial.” She has served in administrative roles at Beloit College and is co-founder (along with Catherine Orr) of Reflective Justice, a professional development consulting firm that works with higher education and non-profit organizations to promote more equitable and just workspaces.


Feb. 2021: Culturally Responsive STUDENT & FACULTY Mentorship

Students look to faculty and staff for guidance in navigating their time on our campuses. Research has shown that a single model of mentorship may not resonate with all students given different backgrounds and preferences. This session will introduce mentorship and advising skills to better connect and build a relationship with students of color throughout their academic experience.


  • Shanna Greene Benjamin is a biographer and scholar who studies the literature, lives, and archives of Black women. With over twenty year of higher education experience as a teacher, administrator, and change agent, Dr. Benjamin’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice shines through in her public presentations, which bring scholarly expertise to institutions and organizations seeking to ground their initiatives in historically contextualized best practices.
  • Hemie Collier is Senior Diversity Officer and Director of Intercultural Life at Cornell College. He also serves as an Assistant Lacrosse Coach for Cornell’s women’s program. Hemie has been with Cornell since 2016. He holds a Bachelors from Luther College and Masters in Educational Leadership from Concordia University – Ann Arbor.  He’s also currently a Doctoral Candidate with Concordia University – Chicago.



Jan. 2021: Creating Effective Systems of Support for Historically Marginalized Students

Significant advances in psychological science have shed insight on how to best support the achievement and well-being of students from a diverse range of backgrounds. The interactive workshop will review the latest experimental research evidence on the effects of strengths-based approaches to engaging with students. Participants will explore how the study findings apply to their own campus resources, programming, and practices.


Mesmin Destin is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Mesmin studies how socioeconomic circumstances influence individual thoughts, identities, and behaviors. Building upon theories of identity and motivation, his research investigates social and psychological factors that contribute to disparities in educational outcomes from middle school through early adulthood. He employs a combination of secondary data analysis, laboratory experiments, and field experiments to uncover effective strategies and supports that guide young people’s perceptions of self, society, and opportunities as they navigate inequality and pursue goals.


Dec. 2020: "1 Angry Black Man" Film Discussion with Writer/Director Menelek Lumumba

We are joined by Colorado College alum and award-winning filmmaker Menelek Lumumba (’02) to discuss his film “1 Angry Black Man.” The film takes place in an African-American literature class at a liberal arts college and critically examines discussions of race, boundaries of identity and political correctness, and how what happens outside the classroom shapes the people and discussions inside the classroom. It’s a film with themes that resonate vividly following the fraught conversations about race and racism that emerged following the death of George Floyd. Lumumba was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He double majored in English and Film Studies at Colorado College and attended Howard University’s Master of Arts program, concentrating on Cinema.

We encourage everyone to watch “1 Angry Black Man” prior to our conversation. The film can be rented at YouTubeGoogle PlayiTunesVimeo, and select on-demand cable platforms.


Nov. 2020: Inclusive Discourse – Free Speech & Disagreement

Academic inquiry requires the ability to test ideas, consider multiple perspectives, and actively seek and constructively engage disagreements. With little training and even fewer models of talking about, with, and across difference, students (and faculty, staff, administrators, and community members) often fear discussing controversial issues or diverse perspectives or do so in ways that can be detrimental to both the mission of open discourse and the campus climate. Through an examination the principles of academic freedom of expression, this session explores developing student and campus capacity for vigorous, inclusive, and productive discourse.


Leila Brammer is Director of the Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse at the University of Chicago. Through curricula, programming, and outreach, the Parrhesia Program seeks to foster robust, inclusive, productive discourse in classrooms, campus life, and the community. To this work, Leila brings a background in rhetoric, civic learning, and faculty development. Prior to University of Chicago, she spent over two decades at Gustavus Adolphus College in the Communication Studies Department (she/her/hers)


Oct. 2020: Taking the Measure of our Gatherings: Identifying points of access and exile, and creating belonging in our spaces

In this workshop, we will discuss the ways in which our identities give us points of access and subject us to points of exile within our many professional contexts, and how assessments that seek to understand experiences as well as outcomes can be used as tools for equity.


  • Devavani Chatterjea is a Professor of Biology at Macalester College. Devavani works at the intersection of inflammation, allergies, and environmental health to study intersections of allergies and chronic pain.  She enjoys working collaboratively on art/science initiatives and STEM equity and inclusion projects.
  • Sedric McClure is Assistant Dean for College Access, Retention, and Success at Macalester College. Sedric’s work has revolved around college access for underrepresented students, social justice education, as well as creating pathways for students’ academic trajectories and self-actualization.
  • Nancy Bostrom is Associate Director of Assessment at Macalester College. Nancy helped to establish an institutional framework for assessing student learning outcomes in and out of the classroom. She also works with faculty and staff across Macalester to define goals and appropriate assessment plans given a department’s specific objectives.


Sept. 2020: Charting the "How": Coalition Building and Policy Change in the Age of Anti-racism

In the past, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on many of our campuses have been the purview of staff offices devoted to intercultural relations; beyond that, much of the work has often fallen by default (and in the form of uncredited labor) into the lap of faculty, staff, and students of color. The work has also often been reactive – responding to a racist incident on campus, for example – rather than sustained.  Events of the last two years have illustrated the need to have a more intentional, proactive, and cooperative campus-wide effort to create a culture of equity and anti-racism.  In this presentation, staff and faculty from Lake Forest College will share the work they have done over the last two years to create partnerships among faculty, staff, and students that have led to a multi-faceted set of initiatives and policy changes.  We are at the beginning of this work, but we hope that sharing our challenges and successes will lead to a meaningful discussion among the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.


  • Claudia Ramirez Islas, Director for the Office of Intercultural Relations, Lake Forest College (she/her/hers)
  • Anna Jones, Professor of History and Director of the Office of Faculty Development, Lake Forest College (she/her/hers)
  • André Meeks, Assistant Director for the Office of Intercultural Relations, Lake Forest College (pronoun indifferent)


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