Staff as Students of Social Justice

Bridging our work and lived experiences

Image credit:
Keegan Houser


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

The SSSJ Program is an important expression of the campus’s commitment to the intellectual and professional development of staff, especially around issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity. The program is made possible by funding support from the Division of Equity and Inclusion, the Division of Undergraduate Education, and People & Culture, and is a keystone effort of the university’s work towards Becoming an Anti-Racist Campus.


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 to bridge the university’s academic and work environments in a way that is mutually beneficial, meaningful, effective, and inexpensive.

Summer 2024 Program

This summer, we will be offering a seminar for staff led by SSSJ Director of Pedagogy David Maldonado: “Material Anti-Racisms”, a deep exploration of abolitionism and higher education, paired with content from our previous  lecture series “Aspirations of Material Anti-Racism: What’s Next.” This seminar would be scheduled for 90 minutes, meeting once a week. In addition, participants can look forward to periodic brown bag lunch sessions hosted by the American Cultures Center over the semester.


  • Participate in a weekly discussion section with a graduate student instructor just for SSSJ participants, facilitated over Zoom
  • Anticipate 3-4 hours of class/discussion/lecture viewing per week, plus additional time to complete readings
  • No exams, grades, or academic credit
  • Must attend at least 80% of meetings and participate fully to complete the course
  • Upon completion, you will receive a certificate signed by Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Oliver O’Reilly, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Dania Matos, and Associate Vice Chancellor Eugene Whitlock, and your completion status will be added to your HR personnel file.

How to Apply

  • Applications for the program must be submitted via online form by end of day, Wednesday, June 5. We recommend applying as early as possible.
  • You do not need written approval from your supervisor/manager but we do encourage you to speak to them so that they are aware and supportive that you are investing in anti-racist learning through the SSSJ Program. If participation in the program will impact your work duties, please discuss with your supervisor/manager.

  • Space is limited. If interest exceeds demand, we will prioritize minoritized/underrepresented staff, campus staff with seniority, non-managers, and the waitlist from previous terms. We will also use a lottery if necessary. Staff who are not selected this round will have wait list priority for the next semester.

For questions or more information about the Staff as Students of Social Justice Program, please contact