Governing Body for Staff at the University of Kansas

Unpacking Whiteness in the Workplace

The Staff Senate D&I Committee hosts a series of workshops focused on the impacts of privilege on the work environment. Through small group discussions, participants will explore the concepts of whiteness and privilege and how they shape office cultures that are oppressive to people with marginalized identities.

Part 1: Focus on the Individual - This introductory session focuses on privilege at an individual level, providing participants with a better understanding of basic concepts, along with tools and resources for addressing privilege in their personal and professional lives. We encourage all levels of faculty and staff in your department to attend in order for employees in various roles and levels of management to gain from this experience and begin to develop the tools needed to create a more inclusive work environment in your department and throughout campus.

Part 2: Focus on the Institution - Part 2 builds on themes of whiteness and privilege that were discussed during Part 1 to focus on how those elements contribute to structural racism in the workplace. Participants will explore office culture and social norms as well as departmental policies and procedures that exclude people with marginalized identities. We encourage faculty and staff to attend in departmental teams in order to work together on evaluating departmental practices and barriers to change.

Part 3: Risk and Aspiring to Allyship - The final session in this series focuses on how individuals within a majority group can take action to support and protect individuals with marginalized identities. Participants will leave this session with a greater understanding of what it means to aspire towards allyship and being an accomplice, what risk looks like in the context of aspiring to allyship, and how people with privileged identities can use their privilege to support people with marginalized identities.

Check our calendar of events or search for “Unpacking Whiteness in the Workplace” under My Learning at mytalent.ku.edu to register for the next session.

Special thanks to the Office of Diversity & Equity, the College of Liberal Art & Sciences Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Office, and Staff Senate for supporting the 2019-2020 workshop series.


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