For more than 30 years, the Women’s Center has championed broad diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on behalf of Northwestern staff, faculty, and students. Since 2013, the Women's Center has sponsored a dialogue based series entitled, Change Makers. The Center staff developed the program in response to Northwestern staff and faculty members who were interested in engaging in personal journeys of social identity exploration over the course of an academic year. Primarily focusing on the social construct of race, the Change Makers curriculum is based on the Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) model developed by social scientists at the University of Michigan. The program is designed to supplement participants’ professional development and their ongoing commitments to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion here at Northwestern.
The Change Makers program predates the establishment of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, and the office’s subsequent efforts to better align, communicate and coordinate University-wide diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and programming. In 2016, OIDI, the Associate Provost for Faculty and Human Resources began co-sponsoring the program allowing it to flourish but after six years, the program outgrew the capacity of the Women’s Center.
During the 2019 - 2020 academic year, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and Human Resources charged a committee to review Change Makers’ mission, operations, and desired impact moving forward. The review committee, co-chaired by Steven Adams and Francesca Gaiba, drew upon the 300+ staff and faculty who have participated in the program as their experiences and the program’s evaluation data informed the program’s future.
The review committee will publish their findings and the programs' recommended refinements in the Summer of 2020 and Change Makers, now an initiative within the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, will re-launch in the Fall Quarter of 2021.