Staff as Students of Social Justice

Bridging our work and lived experiences

Image credit:
Keegan Houser

Overview

The Staff as Students of Social Justice (SSSJ) Program is an opportunity for Division of Undergraduate Education (UE) staff to audit an American Cultures (AC) course and learn first-hand from leading scholars and American Cultures instructors about the intersections of race, ethnicity, and gender, dig into subjects of personal interest, and build connections with faculty, students, and fellow UE colleagues.

How it Works

  • Audit an AC course of your choosing from a curated list of program courses

  • Participate in a weekly discussion section led by a graduate student instructor specifically for program participants.

  • Complete a project with your program classmates to showcase what you have learned and gained in the program, and present your project at the end of the term.

  • Receive a certificate of completion signed by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, as well as a letter in your HR file for merit and performance reviews.

Why SSSJ?

At UC Berkeley dozens of staff groups have been organizing EID activities with the help of the Division of Equity and Inclusion and the first Director of Diversity and Equity in People & Culture. There is a palpable hunger for conversation and education, as evidenced by the growing number of reading lists, websites, webinars, and programs that have been organized and shared. 

In addition to staff-led informal efforts, we are fortunate to have an incredible wealth of anti-racist scholars among our faculty—leaders in public health, education, sociology, ethnic studies, political science, law, history, environmental science, anthropology, comparative literature, and more. Conveniently, many teach American Cultures courses, which provides an exciting opportunity for UE to bridge the university’s academic and work environments in a way that is mutually beneficial, meaningful, effective, and inexpensive.

How to Apply

  • Applications for the program must be submitted via online formWe recommend applying as early as possible.
  • You must have approval from your supervisor to participate in the program. Please obtain permission in writing before applying for this program.

  • Space is limited. Depending on the level of interest, you may not get your first choice class or you may have to reapply next semester. Staff who are not selected this round will have wait list priority for the next semester.

  • If interest exceeds demand, we will prioritize minoritized/underrepresented staff, staff with seniority in UE, non-managers, and the waitlist from previous terms. We will also use a lottery if necessary.

Expectations

Participants are expected to attend with an auditor mindset. You should do your best to attend the majority of class sessions (lectures) and if possible, follow the readings. You will not be expected to take exams or complete assignments, and you will not receive academic credit for the course. No exceptions.

To get the most out of the program, we encourage you to keep up with your course. We also understand the need to balance work and life against the demands of a program like this. The only significant requirements are (a) that you attend at least 75% of the weekly staff discussions (which will be offered at two different times for your convenience and have short readings/pre-work) and (b) participate in a final group project and presentation at the conclusion of the semester. Based on feedback from past participants, expect to spend 3-5 hours per week on this program. 

We ask that all program participants complete two surveys (one at the midpoint and one at the end) to give feedback on your experience. This is so we can learn from and improve the program.

For questions or more information about the Staff as Students of Social Justice Program, please contact sssj@berkeley.edu

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