Tag Archives: diversity

Unconscious (implicit) bias – some take-outs from the talk

Dr Benjamin D. Reese (Duke University) presented a well-attended and fascinating talk on Dilemmas of our time: Unconscious (implicit) bias and race relations last night, organised by the Macmillan Brown Center for Pacific Studies at UC.

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This topic is especially relevant to us in Christchurch at the moment, as many of us reflect on the nuances of racism and what it might be like to look or sound different to others in our city.

Dr Reese presented findings from his many years of research in implicit bias. He explained how implicit bias, which is below the level of consciousness, is learned early and absorbed from our environment. This is one reason why it is so important to have diversity of role models in our movies, TV shows and other media.

No one can avoid having implicit bias – even Dr Reese shared examples of his own bias, however you can counter it. You can do this by being aware of your own bias, reminding yourself regularly that implicit bias exists, and by exposing yourself to different ideas and different people to broaden your experience.

On an organisational level, leadership is key but everyone can play a part. When an organisation focuses on diversity, it has a noticeable impact, Dr Reese says.

As always, sharing stories and experiences is part of the journey to better understanding and a more accepting world.

Upcoming opportunities for engage with discussions around racism at UC include:

31 July – Looking and Sounding Different with nine UC staff and students discussing their experience and exploring ways to create a more accepting society.

12 August – Whites Engaged in Antiracist Action: Struggles and Coping Mechanisms with Associate Professor in the Department of Education and Counselling at Villanova University, Krista Malott.


Invitation for staff to an open conversation with Dr Benjamin Reese Jr.

This an open invitation for staff to come along to a conversation with Dr Benjamin Reese Jr that is taking place tomorrow, Tuesday 23 July, between 12.30pm and 2.30pm in John Britten 102.

Dr Reese is currently visiting UC from the US and will be talking about topics connected with equity and diversity. More information about the convesation can be found on the Events page.

Note that there’s no strict need to be there from the start time until the very end; any staff who are interested are encouraged to drop in and leave as their schedule permits.

About Dr. Benjamin Reese Jr

Clinical psychologist and Vice President for Institutional Equity at Duke University and Head of Duke Hospital System. Immediate past president of the US National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE). Represented both International Council of Psychologists and the World Federation for Mental Health at the United Nations. In 2016, the North Carolina Business Journal awarded him their Lifetime Diversity Achievement Award in recognition of almost 50 years of leadership of issues of race relations and diversity. Specialize in implicit bias, race relations, diversity/inclusion training, and conflict resolution. More than 45 years’ experience in race relations and diversity and is a highly sought after national and international speaker, workshop facilitator and consultant to higher education, not-for-profit organizations, and the corporate environment.

Description for the public lecture on Thursday 25 July

In spite of our best efforts to treat others in an equitable and fair manner, as humans, we are prone to unconscious racial bias. Life experiences, the media, the influence of peers, etc. can contribute to the development of unconscious and unintended bias.  We are often surprised when we exhibit behaviours reflective of negative biases … behaviours that can differ from our conscious, or explicit attitudes.  Focused and deliberate strategies hold promise for managing the expression of negative implicit racial biases.

What are some critical lessons for us in the aftermath of Christchurch 15/3?


New anonymous reporting tool launches on Pink Shirt Day

At UC we want everyone to feel safe on campus and to report any behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason.

Today we’ve launched a new anonymous online reporting tool, Report It, to coincide with Pink Shirt Day, the global movement that celebrates diversity, promotes positive relationships and takes a stand against bullying.

Staff and students can use Report It to raise concerns anonymously. We understand you may not always feel comfortable making a formal complaint and would prefer to remain anonymous.

The information provided via Report It will be used to inform future strategies and education initiatives that address behaviour and improve respect and inclusiveness at UC.

Many universities here and overseas already use similar tools and UC has drawn from their experience. A number of UC teams have been consulted about the development of the tool including staff and student representatives from across the University on the Central Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee (CEDAC).

Bullying or harassment, whether on or off campus, is not okay. Without exception UC will not tolerate bullying, harassment or discrimination of any kind.

We can all work together to build an even stronger and supportive community for all.

  • More information about the Report It tool is available here>
  • You can find the Report It tool here>
  • You can still make a formal complaint by following the Raise a concern process here>


Tomorrow it’s Pink Shirt Day! All students and staff are encouraged to wear pink and join the global movement that celebrates diversity, promotes positive relationships and takes a stand against bullying.

Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying after a new student was bullied for wearing pink.

Here in Aotearoa New Zealand the Pink Shirt Day campaign is run by the Mental Health Foundation. Celebrated annually, the campaign is all about creating schools, workplaces and communities where all people feel safe, valued and respected.     

Check out the Pink Shirt Day website here for more information, stories and resources. And don’t forget to wear your pink shirt tomorrow.

Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora
Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying

Send us your photos
Show us your pink shirts! Get your team together, take some snaps and email them to communications@canterbury.ac.nz