Learning Community for Inclusive Organizational Citizenship

About     Objectives     Structure     Schedule     How to apply    Frequently Asked Questions

About

Extension’s Learning Community for Inclusive Organizational Citizenship (Learning Community) is a cohort-based professional learning and development opportunity open to all Extension staff. It is a sustained community in which participants commit to weekly engagement over critical equity topics including race and racism, power and privilege, disability and ableism, gender justice, and more.

Artwork that says "we have work to do"

Artwork by Monica Trinidad

Participants meet virtually and in-person and learning is facilitated with the support of self-directed readings, dialogue, reflection, and other pedagogical approaches. During the course of the Learning Community, participants will closely examine how current and historical issues shape their personal and professional lives, and how they influence the context of Extension work across the state.

Participants will explore topics that include:

  • Race, identity, intersectionality and power
  • Ableism and disability justice
  • Gender, gender identity and sexuality
  • White supremacy culture and systemic privilege
  • Anti-racism
  • Inclusive leadership
  • Generative conflict

Learning Community Objectives

Through participation in this Learning Community, participants will be able to:

  • Reflect on and begin to deconstruct their socialized beliefs about whiteness, race, identity, and power;
  • Build an understanding of oppression as a force that operates on 4 levels: ideological, interpersonal, institutional, and internalized;
  • Develop ways to notice and address power and privilege in the workplace and understand how anti-racism and anti-oppression work benefits them and their workplace as a whole;
  • Build tools and an overarching intersectional anti-racist lens that foster equity and belonging in the workplace, including relationship building, engaging in constructive conflict, and inclusive practices.

Learning Community Structure

Virtual Face-to-Face Sessions:

Participants will attend weekly sessions, which are facilitated virtually by OAIC staff and guest facilitators. Over the course of a semester, participants will have the opportunity to share stories, process learning and unlearning, and engage in practice together.

Self-Directed Learning:

Participants will be provided with materials for each session (e.g. readings, podcasts, documentaries, etc.). Learning materials will be housed on Canvas. Reflection questions and discussion board prompts will support sustained reflection between sessions.

In-Person Deep Dive Sessions:

Participants in the Learning Community will convene on two separate occasions in-person to establish and deepen relationships, and to allow for a broader exploration of topics through dialogue and practice. In-person sessions will last two days with an overnight stay.

“Transform yourself to transform the world.” – Grace Lee Boggs

Learning Community Schedule

There will be two cohorts offered in the fall. When you apply, you will be able to indicate your preference.

Cohort 1
Tuesdays: 1-2:30pm (virtual)
September 28th – December 13th
Day-long In-Person Sessions: September 28th – 29th and December 13th

Cohort 2
Wednesdays: 1-2:30pm (virtual)
September 28th – December 12th
Day-long In-Person Sessions: September 28th – 29th and December 12th

How to apply

The application is now open! Sign up here and email Caitlin Yunis with questions or more information.
*Application closes on August 19th. 

FAQ:

What is the goal of the Learning Community for Inclusive Organizational Citizenship?

The goal of the Learning Community is to foster a culture of equity and belonging by:

  • Exploring the complexity of our social identities and how they influence the work and lives of Extension professionals;
  • Promoting open, constructive learning and dialogue around the social, relational, historical and political factors that shape the context of Extension as a workplace.

The Learning Community is one of nine total initiatives that outline the “Call to Action: Extension’s Strategic Commitment to Inclusivity & Anti-Racism Work.” It aims to provide a sustained space in which Extension staff can do the necessary inner work of building self-awareness in our socio-political context and with the support of a trusted community.

Why 12 weeks?

Working towards equity calls us to consistently examine our identities and behaviors and their relationship to power and privilegeWhile this work is lifelong, this 12-week dialogue-based experience will provide participants with the tools and community needed to develop a sustained daily practice of learning and unlearning.

What does the process look and feel like?

Virtual face-to-face and in-person sessions will be gently facilitated and co-created spaces in which participants are invited to explore their own stories and experiences and share what they are learning within a trusted community.

Some of the tools that the facilitators will utilize are:

  • Building critical consciousness grounded in history, through the use of documentaries, podcasts and readings.
  • Self-Reflection through the use of dialogue, journaling, and guiding questions.
  • Storytelling through relationship-building and upholding shared values and agreements.
  • Practice through the use of case studies and personal experiences.

While the majority of conversations will take place in a mixed-race setting, there also may be the opportunity to incorporate race-based affinity groups to allow participants a deeper dive into their shared experiences.

Who is eligible to participate in the Learning Community?

All Division of Extension employees are invited to participate. No prior experience is needed.

Do I need approval from my supervisor to attend?

Because of the time investment involved in this learning opportunity, it’s important that your supervisor is aware of and supports your participation. If your supervisor needs more information, please have them contact Caitlin Yunis or Dominic Ledesma prior to the application deadline.

Is prior experience required for participation?

No. The only thing required of participants is to be engaged learners during this process. All participants will have much to contribute and much to gain from this community of practice.

Are there certain Extension positions that are prioritized over others?

No. Our goal in seeking applications is to build cohorts that are balanced in terms of geographic region and Institute, position, years employed with UW-Extension, and self-disclosed social identity.

Can a limited number of people from each office, team or program participate?

No. To the contrary, we encourage you to apply with a/several colleague/s or program collaborator/s. The ability to carry these conversations into your offices and programs will only deepen your capacity to apply what you are learning.

If I have participated in a similar type of experience, can I still apply?

If you’ve participated in a similarly structured experience and are wondering if this Learning Community is appropriate for you, you may consult Caitlin Yunis before submitting an application.

Is there a cost to participate in the Learning Community?

No. Costs associated with participation are covered by the Division of Extension. However, employees will need to fill out a Travel Expense Reimbursement (TER) for travel expenses associated with in-person sessions.

“Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.” – Rev. angel Kyodo williams