UW-Eau Claire’s EDI leadership certificate is a new opportunity for students

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion certificate provides students opportunities to add to their resume and expand their horizons

More stories from Claire Schoenemann

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The EDI leadership certificate will require all first-year students to complete tier one training.

The EDI leadership certificate provides UW-Eau Claire students with the opportunity to gain an understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion and deeply explore and understand these social issues. 

The EDI leadership certificate is a unique opportunity provided on-campus, in which you can earn a certificate without partaking in semester-long courses. The certification involves a three tier system for students. 

All incoming, first-year students are required to complete tier-one training prior to attending UW-Eau Claire. Tier-one training can be requested by returning students at the student EDI homepage. 

Following the completion of tier-one training, students are required to take a total of 10 seminars in their tier-two experience. There are three required seminars: microaggressions, safe space training and diversity 101.

Students can select from any tier-two workshops for the remaining seven seminars that are required in the tier-two level. 

The final step in completing the EDI leadership certification is tier-three, a student project demonstrating the individual’s learning throughout the EDI certification process. This could be an internship, capstone or research project. 

The only requirement is that the project must demonstrate how the student will utilize their EDI certification or what they have learned. Project proposals must be submitted and approved through the student project form. 

Jodi Thesing-Ritter, the executive director for diversity and inclusion, spoke about the importance of completing the EDI leadership certification. 

“I think it’s important that our campus has committed resources to helping students to go beyond their required curriculum related to diversity to really explore these issues,” Thesing-Ritter said.

Thesing-Ritter said a deep understanding of issues of equity, diversity and inclusivity is critical of anyone going into the workforce, especially as we continually become a more diverse society. 

Additionally, Thesing-Ritter added that the implementation of equity, diversity and inclusion opportunities brings a healthy campus-climate and education for all. 

“Our goal is to create programming that helps students to engage in deeper exploration of these issues and then critical self reflection that helps them to make positive change in their own lives,” Thesing-Ritter said. 

Thesing-Ritter provides seminars on microaggressions, diversity 101, identity, power and privilege, and is also working on a project titled “Bias Inside Us” that will later be on display at the Pablo Center.

Peter Hart-Brinson, associate professor in sociology and communication and journalism, also provides a seminar within the EDI certification. Hart-Brinson presents about racial discrimination throughout America as one of the tier-two exploration seminars. 

“We often think of racial descrimination as something that happened a lot in the past, but doesn’t happen as much anymore,” Hart-Brinson said, “but the evidence from social science shows that’s not true.” 

EDI certification explores more than just issues of race, but also socioeconomic status, religion, disabilities, LGBT topics, feminism, sexism and many minorities. 

Hart-Brinson and Thesing-Ritter both said it is important to navigate the world outside of college with an understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion, whether this be in the workforce, graduate school or society in general. 

“I think over the last ten years there’s been kind of a wake up call about how important diversity, equity, and inclusion is,” Hart-Brinson said.

More information on equity, diversity and inclusion can be found at the center for EDI training, development, and education webpage. 

Schoenemann can be reached at [email protected]