Michigan Engineering News

participants speak in small groups

Change it UP! and improve campus culture

Upcoming bystander intervention workshop aims to educate staff, faculty, and students on ways to be proactive in helping others.

Author Robert Scott (BSE CE ’75) is the Director of Diversity Initiatives at Michigan Engineering and Co-Implementation Lead for the College of Engineering’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” —Winston Churchill

We’ve all been in a situation where someone said or did something that made us want to intervene… but we didn’t.

Moments like these are more common than you might think, and are known as the bystander effect. That’s why the University of Michigan created the Change It UP! Bystander Intervention Program. Change It UP! Is a diversity, equity and inclusion program that educates faculty, students and staff to be proactive in helping others.

Change it UP! brings bystander intervention skills to the University community for the purpose of building inclusive, respectful and safe communities. It is based on a nationally recognized four-stage bystander intervention model that helps individuals intervene in situations that negatively impact individuals, organizations and the campus community. The program teaches how to identify inappropriate behavior and gives strategies and options for doing something about it, including becoming more aware of why we sometimes don’t help. As a result, we are more likely to help in the future.

The goals of Change It UP! are to:

  • Raise awareness of helping behaviors
  • Increase motivation to help
  • Develop skills and confidence when responding to problems or concerns
  • Ensure the well-being of oneself and others

A key objective of the College of Engineering DEI strategic plan is to “Increase the understanding and application of diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts to build skills and provide learning experiences to effectively and constructively engage in dialogue on DEI-related topics across our community.” The College of Engineering has decided to use the Change It UP! Workshop as a key intervention to deliver this objective.

We are thrilled to be trained facilitators for the Change It UP! Workshop for Michigan Engineering. It is our sincere hope that Change It UP! will help students, faculty and staff learn strategies and techniques to intervene both directly and indirectly in both emergency and non-emergency situations. Doing so can lead to fewer problems as well as improve campus climate for all.

Change it UP! staff training takes place October 17 – register online. The faculty session is on October 29, and a joint session for both faculty and staff will take place on November 19.

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