Interactive Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Training

Michael Hubenthal, IRIS Consortium; Daphne Ladue, University of Oklahoma; Marty Snow, University of Colorado, Boulder

Author Profile


An interactive workshop designed to encourage a more inclusive geoscience culture that is resistant to harassment and discrimination by educating and empowering undergraduate students. The curriculum is targeted toward undergraduates who may have little formal training in the terminology and concepts surrounding issues of harassment and discrimination; are likely to be unaware of policies and procedures regarding harassment, discrimination, and fraternization; are unlikely to know how to respond if they were to witness an incident of discrimination or harassment; and are unlikely to know how to report incidents. This curriculum seeks to empower undergraduates who might otherwise be vulnerable.

The curriculum is also designed as a practical and approachable resource to inspire, encourage, and enable program facilitators, faculty, and other community leaders to engage with their students around these important topics to change our community's culture.

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This workshop is designed for undergraduates, of any level, who are participating in research opportunities, field camps/campaigns, and other educational experiences in the Earth sciences.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

While we have found that many undergraduates do have some experience with this content, it seems varied. Thus, the workshop has been designed such that mastery of particular skills and concepts prior to the workshop is not necessary.

How the activity is situated in the course

This training should be provided early in the program to both prepare students for their experiences, and to communicate programmatic expectations/policies around issues of harassment, discrimination, and civility in the workplace.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Participants will be able to describe a work environment that
    • Consists of mutual respect
    • Promotes respectful and congenial relationships
    • Is free from all forms of harassment and
  • Summarize who is responsible for creating the work environment described above
  • Apply the program's anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and non-fraternization policy to a series of case studies and distinguish between behavior that is harassing or discriminating and non-harassing or non-discriminating
  • Describe how to report harassment or discrimination to the program, the program's investigation procedures, and possible disciplinary outcomes
  • Plan how they would use the bystander interventions to respond to incidents of discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

In addition to learning new concepts, programmatic policies, and skills, participants will be required synthesize this information together in order to use it when analyzing a variety of novel situations, and deciding how best to apply the policies and skills.

Other skills goals for this activity

There is a significant amount of small group work incorporated with this workshop. Also, some of the topics included in the workshop can be sensitive. Therefore, students must be willing to be both uncomfortable as they work through challenging ideas, and supportive of their peers as they are uncomfortable.

Description and Teaching Materials

Detailed Instructor Guide (Acrobat (PDF) 2.4MB May26 21)

Instructional Flow

  • GET THEM THINKING (15–20 MINUTES) - A facilitated whole group discussion of literature-based data set and the results from an anonymous survey of the group.
  • WHAT DO THEY ALREADY KNOW? (20–22 MINUTES) - In small groups, play Pictionary using key vocabulary important to topic and then generate consensus definitions for terms.
  • DEVELOPING NEW IDEAS (~35 MINUTES) - As a whole group refine consensus definitions to create a common vocabulary, review programmatic policies and procedures from the program handbook, and work in small group work to discuss mini-scenarios in light of key info in program handbook policies.
  • INTRODUCING AND REINFORCING SKILLS (~35 MINUTES) - As a whole group, explore benefits derived from a work environment that consists of mutual respect, promotes respectful and congenial relationships, and is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination, versus one that is not. Explore the responsibility each actor has for creating such an environment. Introduce possible bystander interventions, and potential barriers to intervention, and in small groups discuss mini-scenarios again applying possible interventions weighing various risks versus benefits.
  • PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER (15–18 MINUTES) - As a whole group, show the video clip and facilitate a discussion that applies students understanding of what is and is not harassment and discrimination, programmatic policies and procedures, and possible bystander interventions that could be employed at various points in the video.



  • Laptop with speakers
  • Projection system
  • One copy your program handbook outlining the program's anti-harassment and discrimination policies for each participant
  • One copy of Clancy et al., 2014, for each participant
    Clancy, K.B., R. Nelson, J.N. Rutherford, and K. Hinde. (2014). Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees report harassment and assault. PLoS ONE. 9(7), e102172,
  • Anonymous polling software, such as VoxVote (or your favorite), prepared with the following question:
    Which of the following most closely to applies to you in a work or school environment?
    • Never witnessed discrimination and never heard of someone who experienced it
    • Heard of someone who experienced discrimination but never witnessed
    • Witnessed discrimination
    • Experience discrimination
  • For every 6 to 8 people (teams of 3 to 4)
    • One large flip chart(s) and markers
    • Pack of "Pictionary" cards (print and cut out from Instructor Guide Appendix B)
  • Pack of small group discussion questions (print and cut out from Instructor Guide Appendix C). Assuming groups of 2 to 3, one pack will work for up to 20–25 participants.
  • Intervene video cued up to 09:41. This video is a set of brief scenarios demonstrating ways in which student bystanders can successfully intervene in problematic situations (Cornell Health, 2016).


Teaching Notes and Tips

  • This workshop is designed to be completed using either an in person (primary) or virtual (secondary) implementation
    • If, in person the workshop takes ~120 minutes (or two 60-minute sessions)
    • If conducted virtually, options exist for sessions ranging from ~30 minutes to ~180 minutes
  • Prior to starting
    • Make sure the facilitator fully understands the policies and processes in place for their program and their institution regarding harassment and discrimination. If no policies exist, they must be created prior to this lesson. Understanding these policies is critical to being able to lead this lesson and tailor it to fit the program's needs.
    • Know whether you are considered a mandatory reporter on your campus or institution. Understand the associated responsibilities and communicate your status and responsibilities to the participants.
    • Learn about the mental health resources available on your campus or in your community and whether/when they apply to REU participants.
      • What services are available to participants given their
        status on campus? How do you/participants make
        those connections?
      • If participants aren't eligible to access campus
        services or you aren't on a campus, ask what local or regional non-university services would be available and how you/participants would go about connect- ing to those support services.


The final scenario presented in the workshop, provides instructors with a formative assessment of students understanding and skills.

References and Resources

This workshop requires that your program have an handbook of policies. If you do not have such a handbook you may be able to use the IRIS Intern/Mentor Handbook as a template.

View the page that describes the development and testing of these training materials.