During their weekly eLunches, members of the Finance Group often discuss current events. As a result of one of their discussions about the Black Lives Matter protests, members of the Finance Group decided to do an Implicit Bias Workshop.
In their work, much time is spent assessing the quality of work of others (students, fellow academics). That was one of the reasons they felt it was important to learn more about implicit biases and the role they may play in an academic environment.
The workshop was organised by Janissa Jacobs and Alfrida Martis, members of the UvA Chief Diversity Officer's team. During 2 90-minute online sessions, participants talked about diversity and inclusiveness, reflected on specific statements/ examples and participated in role playing scenarios. They also brainstormed about concrete plans to make hiring practices and teaching more inclusive.
'I truly enjoyed thinking more deeply together with my colleagues at the Finance Group about diversity and potential hidden biases in academia. The workshops were organised in a concise and very interactive manner. One insight that stuck with me is that hidden biases may arise from mental shortcuts that may seem to lead to efficient responses. But at the same time we might also impose unfairness and negative externalities upon others. Unlearning such thinking patterns won't happen without conscious effort; it requires continuous self-reflection and making changes in your decision processes.'
- Torsten Jochem , Associate Professor of Finance
'I enjoyed the workshop by Alfrida and Janissa! It was perhaps the first time we discussed the biases that we probably all have but never speak openly about. I think that the role playing was particularly interesting and useful for us to 'experience' various situations from our daily life. It enabled us to hold a group discussion and reflect on our experiences later with the instructors. We also formulated a few suggestions to further promote an inclusive environment for students and colleagues at our school. Many thanks to the organisers!'
- Evgenia Zhivotova, lecturer, Finance Group