Wright State University’s director of faculty development and leadership will share a model for bias training at a conference hosted by the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine.
Stephanie Goodwin was invited to present at “Together We Can Do Better,” the organization’s convocation on sexual harassment in the academy in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 9.
Goodwin will present “Moving the Needle from Awareness to Action: Reducing Bias and Harassment through Interactive Bystander Intervention Training.”
Goodwin will share an evidence-based model of bystander intervention training that she has developed in collaboration with PowerPlay Interactive Development, an improvisational and applied theater program at the University of New Hampshire. After sharing the research behind the training model and what they have learned about its benefit, Goodwin and David Kaye, founder of PowerPlay Interactive Development, will demonstrate the training for convocation attendees.
The training draws from Goodwin’s research on bystander reactions to prejudice, which suggests that bystander responses are important in shaping whether bias and harassment are tolerated. When everyday incidents of bias and harassment go unaddressed due to bystander apathy, it can lead to more egregious harassment and sexual assault in the workplace.
“As conversations around the #MeToo movement illustrate, people want to speak up when they witness bias and harassment, but they are also often hesitant to do so,” Goodwin said. “Bystander inaction (apathy) is more likely to occur when people are unsure about their understanding of the bias, believe bias was not harmful, or they don’t know what to do. Bystanders also worry a lot about the potential costs (and benefits) of speaking up.”
The training uses interactive learning tools to address the barriers that contribute to bystander inaction. Trainees gain experience using evidence-based strategies for speaking up, including strategies that invite dialogue, minimize backlash and promote inclusive norms.
Goodwin says that people who complete the training report they feel more confident and have more skills for speaking up to bias in the future.
“We remind trainees that choosing to do nothing sends a signal that we agree with bias and harassment,” she said. “It is increasingly important that we find strategies for engaging in constructive dialogue to reduce bias and harassment.”
Having dedicated her academic career to understanding social biases and how to reduce them, Goodwin says she is committed to reducing bias and improving the workplace climate in academia.
She received her B.S. in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and M.S. and Ph.D. in social and personality psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She completed postdoctoral training in implicit social cognition at Yale University.
She serves as Wright State’s institutional representative for the American Council of Education Women’s Network of Ohio and the vice chair of the advisory board for the Ohio-Western Pennsylvania-West Virginia Regional Higher Education Recruiting Consortium.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are independent, nonprofit institutions providing science, technology and health policy advice.
The morning sessions of the academies’ convention will be streamed and will appeal to Wright State community members who are interested in the broader conversation around reducing sexual harassment on college campuses. You must register online in order to watch the stream.