“CWW is very knowledgeable and their commitment to these issues comes through.”

We offer the following programs to external organizations interested in addressing workplace microaggressions

Microaggressions: They're a Big Deal graphic with mosquito in background

Microaggressions are “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual-orientation, and religious slights and insults to the target person or group” (Sue, 2010, p.271). Reference: Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions in everyday life: Race, gender, and sexual orientation. John Wiley & Sons Inc.

  1. Activating Bystanders to Address Workplace Microaggressions: Mobilizing for Organizational Change Workshop
    This two-day foundational workshop is designed for people who have the capacity and passion to lead bystander efforts within their own organization.
  2. Activating Bystanders to Address Workplace Microaggressions: Implementing peer-to-peer bystander training at your organization
    After completion of the foundational Mobilizing for Change workshop, CWW is available to support organizations in implementing a peer-to-peer approach to bystander activation within their own workplace.
  3. Workplace Climate Assessments: Anchoring Change in a Deeper Understanding of Organizational Issues
    CWW also provides consultations to help organizations take a deeper dive into diagnosing the current state of their organization vis-v-vis a workplace climate assessment.
  1. Effect Modifier Assessment: An Innovative Approach to Assessing Impact of Institutional Initiatives
    Organizations are not static over time; both internal and external events can influence the same outcomes that an equity program is seeking to change. Effect Modifier Assessment (EMA) is an evaluation method designed to systematically assess alternative explanations for changes within the institution.
  2. Bystander Training to Address Microaggressions in the Academic Workplace
    This hands-on workshop focuses on enhancing knowledge about workplace microaggressions and promoting skills for becoming an active bystander to address this wide-spread problem. The workshop is focused on the academic work environment.

Overview of the approach

The Get A Collective GRIP® approach for addressing microaggressions through bystander activation is a distinctive approach developed by the University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Women & Work (CWW) with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Center's distinctive approach emphasizes ways that bystander action can foster more positive and inclusive organizational cultures by promoting collective accountability for challenging expressions of workplace bias. Expanding collective organizational capacity to address bias in respectful ways has been shown to have an empowering impact and to foster more equitable organizational norms, behaviors, and workplace climate. Rather than a one-time bystander workshop, the approach underscores the importance of embedding the initiative within an organization by developing in-house expertise to sustain the effort.

CWW recommends that for the most impactful organizational change, organizations choose all three activities if they have not already done their own internal assessment. The data collected during the workplace climate assessment can be invaluable in identifying areas of focus for additional work and for ensuring the Get A Collective GRIP® approach is optimally tailored for your organization.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Program funded the UMass Lowell Center for Women & Work’s (CWW) Making WAVES (Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM) Initiative.

National Science Foundation (NSF) logo

One aspect of the WAVES initiative was the development of the distinctive CWW approach, Get A Collective GRIP® on microaggressions, that emphasizes the value of bystander action to promote more positive and inclusive organizational cultures.

For more information, contact Mary Spooner by email: Mary_Spooner@uml.edu.

Learn more about our Get A Collective GRIP approach: Promoting Active Bystanders to Address Workplace Microaggressions webinar

Institutions we have worked with include:

  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • Florida International University
  • Florida State University
  • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • National Jewish Health
  • Palo Alto University
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University Libraries
  • University of Southern Maine