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June 20, 2017

Professionals check their privilege, address work biases in Penn summer course

Education Diversity
University of Pennsylvania campus Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice Staff

The Quadrangle at the University of Pennsylvania.

Every once in a while universities will offer courses that grab everyone’s attention: there was when Georgetown offered a class on Jay-Z, Skidmore offered a class on Miley Cyrus, and Penn offered a class called “Wasting Time on the Internet.”

University of Pennsylvania also is offering the latest class title of interest, though the target student population isn’t undergrads: a weekly, seven-hour workshop called “Diversity and Inclusion: Strategies to Confront Bias and Enhance Collaboration in 21st Century Organizations.”

The class is part of Penn’s Organizational Dynamics master’s program, geared toward mid-level professionals who may take the coursework while earning an MBA or another degree. The course will be co-taught by Penn professor Dr. Aviva Legatt, who previously taught a course titled “Optimizing Diversity on Teams,” and organizational psychologist Harvey Floyd.

“In the workplace, it is inevitable that differences between individuals will cause conflict – whether explicit or beneath the surface. Denial and unconscious bias will prevent issues from being addressed,” the description reads.

“This course will expand participant perspectives about strategies for addressing bias and for creating effective collaborations that bridge difference.”

For mid-level career professionals enrolled in the course, the concept of workplace diversity may be a slow coming realization, even as gender and racial inclusion are linked to company gain.

The course will be made up of “self-assessment and group reflection” and visiting lecturers.

Students will also be designated to two teams, one to solve business challenges related to inclusion and the other for brainstorming inclusion into their own workplaces. “Remote collaboration” is encouraged outside the classroom to “create a seamless and continuous learning community.”

Take a look at the full description here.