Call for Proposals: UW–Madison Diversity Forum 2021

The Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement is pleased to announce a call for proposals for breakout sessions at the annual UW–Madison Diversity Forum, to be held on November 2 and 3 at Union South and also to be held virtually.

This year’s overall theme will address how we press forward with social justice issues during the COVID-19 recovery period. How do we acknowledge and work to change the continuing inequities the pandemic exposed? How do we stop systemic racism and xenophobia and fight for gender and sexual identity rights? How will our country address the on-going debate around immigration issues?

Breakout Proposals Due May 17

We are seeking proposals for 75-minute breakout sessions for the second day of the Diversity Forum. Breakout sessions can take the form of workshops, panel discussions or lectures. Presenters will have the opportunity to share their insights and findings with a diverse and highly engaged group. Last year’s Diversity Forum drew 6,600 registrants. As always, the Diversity Forum will be free and open to the entire campus and community.

Successful proposals will meet some or all of the following criteria:

  • Align with the Forum’s mission to update, educate and activate attendees
  • Provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the latest research and best practices in diversity, equity and inclusion with practical applications for a broad audience
  • Respond to or build upon the conference theme
  • Help increase attendees’ understanding of matters of specific importance to people from historically marginalized or underrepresented groups
  • Provide a starting point for discussion, self-learning or interactive work among attendees

To submit your proposal, please complete this form by May 17. You will be notified in June if your proposal has been selected.


Past Breakout Sessions

Examples of well-received breakout sessions at recent Diversity Forums include:

  • Stress as a Public Health Crisis: The Daily Grind of Discrimination and Racism on Campus and Beyond — Emerging science shows the economic, psychological and emotional stresses suffered by people of color, especially Black people, is contributing to disparities in every realm of health and wellness from focus in the classroom to mortality rates. This 2020 panel discussion dived into the ways these stresses are manifested and create “triggers” that can block full social and intellectual engagement, as well as cause physiological responses.
  • Niceness is Not Anti-Racism: How White Women Can (and Must) Step Up Their Game — This 2020 virtual workshop encouraged white woman-identified participants to think more deeply about their allyship, discuss their failings honestly to overcome white fragility, and decide on some actions to improve.
  • A Stronger Madison for All: Racial Disparities in Madison and Wisconsin — This 2019 lecture by the Rev. Alex Gee Jr., Ph.D., explored how the Justified Anger initiative is addressing racial disparities in Madison by creating a movement that coordinates leadership, vision, policy and strategy to identify the gaps in services and areas of need and implement a long-term strategy to improve the lives of African Americans in Dane County by eradicating racial disparities.

About the Diversity Forum

An event with 21 years of history on the UW–Madison campus, the Diversity Forum is the university’s premier two-day conference focused on the most pressing diversity and equity issues facing America today.

The goal of the Diversity Forum is to update attendees with the latest knowledge and research in the diversity and inclusion fields, educate them about perspectives and best practices for equity and social justice, and activate attendees so they go on to make positive changes in the world.

“I learned many things including how to begin the process of challenging my own thoughts, values and ingrained personnel bias. The sessions I attended will lead to some soul searching. This is something I welcome. Thanks to all who organized these events.” – Anonymous

“As a person of color, working in a predominantly white university is intimidating and sometimes difficult. Getting the opportunity to have events like this one that educate others and make them reflect on their privilege is necessary. This made me feel like others could be more educated about the struggles we have and find ways to be allies in the work place. I really loved all of the topics covered and how well this was planned.” – Anonymous

Learn more about recent Diversity Forums