Registration is now open for the UMass Learning Community book groups. Learning Communities are based on two books carefully chosen to foster constructive conversations around the topics of inclusion, bias, empathy, understanding and respect. Those interested in joining a group may express their interest on the Office of Equity and Inclusion website.
Faculty, staff and students who are new to the Learning Community initiative are invited to join by participating in a book group based on “What if I Say the Wrong Thing?” by Verna Myers, Vice President of inclusion strategy at Netflix. In this book, Myers uses examples from her own personal journey to illustrate the ways in which our subconscious biases seep into our daily lives, how to confront them and how to become more culturally competent and inclusive.
Returning Learning Community members have the option to read Brene Brown’s “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Power to Stand Alone.” Brown’s book delves deeper into the challenges of communicating with others, particularly in a time when we face great political and social polarization.
A dozen groups will meet throughout the semester with varying frequency, times and locations. Participants can choose which groups best fit with their schedules, or start their own group if none work. Members will have access to online resources to reference and guide them as they read and discuss the books. Supervisors are asked to provide release time to staff who would like to participate.