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Promoting an Inclusive Culture: Outcomes from Active Bystander Training

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Professional Skills for Graduate Students

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

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Paper Authors


La'Tonia Stiner-Jones Ohio State University

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Dr. Stiner-Jones is Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs and Assistant Professor of Practice in Biomedical Engineering at The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering. As Assistant Dean she provides leadership of graduate affairs and professional development for graduate students and postdoctoral trainees. She also oversees strategic recruitment of graduate students with a focus on increasing diversity. As Assistant Professor, she is responsible for participating in teaching, scholarship and service for the department.

Dr. Stiner-Jones received her Bachelor’s and PhD. degrees from Wright State University and her MBA from Capital University. After completing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences, she completed postdocs, in neuroimmunology and psychoneuroimmunology at Ohio State. Her work has been published in numerous scientific journals and presented both nationally and internationally. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Stiner-Jones accepted a faculty position in Ohio State’s College of Dentistry and served as Director of Minority Student Recruitment and DENTPATH, a post baccalaureate program to prepare disadvantaged students for dental school.

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All too often graduate students have indicated being the recipient of biased or inappropriate language when talking to faculty, staff or other students within their program or the college. Despite the fact that promoting an inclusive culture is a priority for many institutions across the country and is seen as an important component for supporting the retention of graduate and undergraduate students and faculty and staff alike, many colleges still struggle with this issue. Based on conversations with graduate students experiencing this issue we developed Active Bystander training. The training is aimed at educating participants about implicit bias and how to interrupt it in the course of conversation without causing defensiveness. We invited faculty, staff and students to participate so that everyone could benefit. We collected pre-and post-survey data to assess the prevalence of bias and impact of the training on participants. The results of the pre-survey show over 70% of respondents experienced or observed some form of bias in the 2-month period prior to the training with a similar percentage of respondents indicating they did not intervene. The major reason given for why they did not intervene was “not knowing what to do or say”. These data highlight the prevalence of bias and necessity of providing the tools to interrupt it. After the training nearly 90% of respondents indicated they felt better equipped to respond in these situations and nearly all were motivated and committed to doing so. This study is a step forward in supporting inclusion and retention of our graduate students. At the request of the training participants, we will host opportunities to practice what they learned and will periodically survey our graduate students to assess the impact of the training.

Stiner-Jones, L. (2018, June), Promoting an Inclusive Culture: Outcomes from Active Bystander Training Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30904

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