Pride Center

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Pride Center expands learning opportunities

Pride Center director, Dr. Jeff Maliksey discusses upcoming changes to LGBTQ+ education and training opportunities this coming fall semester.

The fall semester is bringing some new changes with Pride Center offerings of educational opportunities. One noticeable change will be moving away from LGBTQ+ Ally Training. “This was an intentional decision to better align with best practices and trends in LGBTQ+ higher education,” says Jeff Maliskey, director of the Pride Center. Ally Training programs or Safe Zone trainings are limited with two to three hour training sessions that provide credentialing in the form of a placard and name listing on a webpage. Maliskey states that this type of learning and credentialing limits opportunity for further growth and development.

“Two to three hours is not enough time to cover all the content that is necessary to engage in active allyship. The one-and-done model of ally training does not promote further learning it actually encourages performative allyship which is not what we are trying to achieve with our educational programs.”

He adds that allyship is a practice that requires ongoing learning.

“Best practices in serving and supporting LGBTQ+ communities is constantly changing, we have to continue our own education to stay relevant and engage in a forward moving practice.”

Although the LGBTQ+ Ally Training program is no longer going to be offered, the UND community can further their knowledge on LGBTQ+ inclusion through online learning. The Pride Center has created online learning content that explores identities, experiences, terminology, and helps viewers gain skills to engage in allyship.

There is also opportunity to attend an in-person workshop on Allyship in Action, a two-hour session designed to help participants identify inclusive practices, skills, and resources to support LGBTQIA2S+ communities at UND and demonstrating a commitment to the practice of allyship.

A Shift in Focus

Maliskey shares that he hopes the new changes will allow for greater opportunity to connect the campus community to resources and learning so individuals, units, departments, teams, classrooms, and more can expand on their efforts for LGBTQ+ inclusion.

“With online learning and by creating intentionally designed workshops, we are able to shift our focus to developing curated learning experiences to the campus community. One way we are going to do that is through consulting. Departments, academic programs, student organizations, researches and more can reach out to our team to work one-on-one with them and meet their goals and objectives as it relates to LGBTQ+ inclusion.”

Maliskey encourages those that have completed LGBTQ+ Ally training in the past to explore the newly developed learning opportunities and attend an Allyship in Action workshop.

“There is always opportunity for learning. We have to remind our selves that an ally is not an identity term, it is a practice. To engage in allyship is to be active, that means taking an active role in your own understanding and knowledge around LGBTQ+ inclusion, experiences, best practices, services, and more.”

To learn more about LGBTQ+ educational opportunities check out the Pride Center webpage.