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Change Makers Build More Inclusive Environment at Northwestern University

Change Makers is a campus program using intergroup dialogue and change management skills to create a more inclusive community. Collaborating across the Northwestern University campus, 280 faculty and staff—including 10% of Northwestern Libraries staff—have participated in several Change Makers cohorts since 2013. The program is based on the University of Michigan’s evidence-based Intergroup Dialogue Model.

The Change Makers program heightens and deepens understanding about social identities and privilege, while developing skills and techniques for addressing challenges related to individual and structural power and privilege. It also builds a diverse network that is committed to fostering a campus climate that supports all social identities and that is empowered to effect change at Northwestern and beyond. The program acknowledges the necessity of making personal commitments to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and recognizes the impact that changes in personal attitudes and behaviors can have on larger structures and systems. Currently the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion and Human Resources are conducting a yearlong review of the Change Makers program.

Change Makers logo

Specific impacts Change Makers have made in the Northwestern Libraries include the following:

  • Adding diversity, equity, and inclusion components to existing library awards
  • Creating a Diversity Interest Group
  • Requiring the hiring manager—in addition to the search committee—to attend unconscious bias training
  • Participating in university initiatives to promote access and affordability through the Affordable Instructional Resources (AIR) program
  • Implementing a laptop-lending program in the libraries through the 20X2020 Initiative, which set the goal of admitting a class of 20 percent Pell Grant–eligible students by 2020—a goal achieved by Northwestern in 2018
  • Gaining funding from the Northwestern provost’s faculty initiative in diversity and equity for one librarian Change Maker, Steven M. Adams, to attend the National Intergroup Dialogue Institute at the University of Michigan

View this video about the Change Makers program to learn more.