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FAQ: The IDEAL Learning Journey

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Frequently Asked Questions about The IDEAL Learning Journey

Learning Journey goals

What are the reasons it's important for me to participate?

The Learning Journey is one of many critical components in the university’s IDEAL Strategic Plan for staff. Our goal is to ensure our culture is fair, respectful, inclusive, and one where all feel they belong.  Achieving this vision for our culture will take all of us working together. By learning together, we build a common understanding of the behaviors and actions we can all take toward enabling a fair, respectful, and inclusive workplace. We build our confidence in how to support each other and disrupt othering and hurtful behaviors when we observe them happening. This is an opportunity to make your personal commitment to embrace diversity, advance equity, and cultivate inclusion at Stanford.

What will I learn?

The Learning Journey has been designed to be highly relevant to Stanford’s issues and challenges by members of UHR, IDEAL Advisory Committee members, and nationally recognized women and minority-owned DEI consulting firms. The curriculum builds self-awareness through education on biases, racism and injustice, microaggressions, diversity and social justice, and how those show up at Stanford. You will learn how to change behaviors and habits to promote a more inclusive environment where everyone feels that they can more fully contribute.

You will have opportunities to observe role-play exercises in how to have race-based conversations, learn how to apply what you have learned at work, and engage in discussions with others to share learnings and insights. 

You’ll also have an opportunity to develop and practice empathy, perhaps the most crucial skill in communicating across our differences.

When does the Learning Journey end?

Learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion is a life-long journey. Currently, the journey includes a core curriculum focused primarily on race; however, additional diversity-related content will be added over time.

Learning Journey enhancements

What is changing with the Learning Journey in February 2024?

The Learning Journey is undergoing multiple updates in February 2024, including transitioning workshops to e-learning and additional learning opportunities. An overview of what is changing:

  • The interactive Foundations of Racial Equity and Allyship in Action workshops will be replaced with a 1-hour Equity and Allyship e-learning module, allowing flexibility to complete the Learning Journey at your own pace.
  • A 2-hour Equity and Allyship workshop will be offered to provide an opportunity to review the e-learning content and have meaningful discussions with peers. Attending the workshop is optional, and participants who are currently in progress will receive priority enrollment. Workshop registration will become available via STARS on February 19, 2024, and sessions will be offered monthly beginning in March 2024. 

Current participants in the Learning Journey will receive an email with more details about navigating this transition. Should you need help, please submit a help request.

The IDEAL Learning Journey help request


Timing & participation

Who is expected to participate in The IDEAL Learning Journey?

All benefits-eligible, academic and non-academic staff are expected to participate; approximately 15,000 staff. This number includes staff in positions that are exempt, non-exempt, and bargaining unit, but not temps, casuals or staff currently on a leave. 

What time commitment is needed to participate in The IDEAL Learning Journey?

The learning journey is meant to be experienced over a six-month time period. Within those months, you’ll participate in about eight to ten hours to complete the learning journey. Your actual time may vary and will depend on your learning style as well as the number of hours you devote to exploring the self-paced videos, articles, and self-assessments, and lastly, if you participate in the optional open discussion groups. 

People managers have additional learning options related to their role that add approximately one hour.


Is the Learning Journey mandatory?

No. However, in alignment with Stanford's IDEAL Strategic Plan, this learning program is a priority. We strive to have a culture that is fair, respectful, and creates a sense of belonging for all—participating in the Learning Journey helps us all work together toward achieving this vision. The goal is to have approximately 15,000 Stanford staff complete the Learning Journey within approximately two years of its launch. Our hope is that our culture will change for the better when we have a common understanding of how we can forge a workplace where we all feel respected, valued, and knowledgeable about how to support each other.

Will non-exempt staff, including represented staff, be able to participate?

Yes. Participation in The IDEAL Learning Journey is open to all staff, including those in bargaining unit positions, and is considered as paid time. Managers are expected to work with their teams to ensure operational effectiveness while team members are participating in the experience. Options for staff who do not use computers or mobile devices in their work are being arranged and announcements will be made within schools and units.

I'm enrolled in the track for individual contributors, but am going to be taking a manager role. Will I be enrolled in a different track for managers?

Yes, any staff member whose role changes from individual contributor to manager, as well as managers who take an individual contributor role, will be automatically reassigned to the correct Learning Journey track. 

I have already attended a diversity, equity, and inclusion training offered by my department/unit; am I expected to attend the Learning Journey, too?

Yes, staff are still expected to attend the Learning Journey as it is one of the university’s critical initiatives as part of the IDEAL Strategic Plan for staff. This is the first time in Stanford’s history that over 15,000 of us will be participating in a comprehensive experience together to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future. What you learned in your department, school or unit was undoubtedly highly useful; at the same time, that experience was not shared by thousands of your colleagues. By having a shared experience, we begin to use a common language, learn ways to disrupt any bias or discrimination we observe, and share approaches and best practices with each other. Plus, the Learning Journey provides an opportunity to reinforce and supplement what you have already learned as we believe learning about diversity and inclusion is a life-long journey.

Are faculty being invited to The IDEAL Learning Journey?

No, but faculty are welcome to participate if they desire and can request enrollment in The IDEAL Learning Journey by submitting a help request that goes to the Learning Journey team.

What are the plans for diversity and inclusion education for faculty?

The Vice Provost for Faculty Development, Diversity, and Engagement has created tools and materials to support the learning and development of faculty. There are also plans underway for additional learning opportunities such as workshops and peer-to-peer facilitated tabletop discussions. For more information, please contact Susan Drange. Faculty are able to participate in The IDEAL Learning Journey upon request.

How will faculty who manage staff be informed about this Learning Journey?

Faculty who have staff as direct reports received key information in an email a week prior to the launch, as did all managers. In addition, they received a communication “toolkit” to help them share information with their teams.

Logistics for the Learning Journey

What time commitment is required to participate in The IDEAL Learning Journey?

The Learning Journey is meant to be experienced over a six-month time period. The materials are designed to take approximately eight to 10 hours for you to complete over this timeframe. Your actual time may vary and will depend on your learning style as well as the number of hours you devote to exploring the self-paced videos, articles, and self-assessments, and other optional learning opportunities.

People managers have additional learning options related to their role that add approximately one hour.


Am I able to participate with my own workgroup / intact team?

Our diversity, equity, and inclusion partner, an expert in the subject matter and in designing learning experiences, has strongly recommended that intact teams not participate together due to the sensitive nature of the discussions. Of course, if intact teams wish to participate together, there are ways to do that, such as everyone agreeing to complete specific learnings within the self-paced activities and then having discussions about that learning in a team meeting. Once teams have completed the self-paced learnings and are eligible for the workshop component, teams can coordinate enrollment in the same workshop (based on workshop availability).

Will I be asked to complete assessments or surveys? What is done with the data from those?

Yes. You’ll be asked to do two self-assessments; one at the beginning of the self-paced learning, and a follow-up of the same self-assessment after you have completed the two workshops. This helps you and the Learning Journey team identify your baseline awareness, skills, and abilities and any changes over the course of the Learning Journey. Each self-assessment has just 15 rated questions.

There are also two surveys; these are very brief opportunities to give immediate input on the specific components of the Learning Journey so the Learning Journey team can identify any needed changes to content. The first survey is after completion of the foundational self-paced learning component, and the second is after completion of the Learning Journey. Each survey has just five questions. 

Each self-assessment and survey will ask you to self-identify your demographic information, such as race/ethnicity, gender, etc. This is voluntary, and we want to reassure you that no identifiable information will be shared with others; we are seeking to identify data trends, in aggregate, that help us more deeply understand the feedback and make useful changes to the Learning Journey experience.

When I am in one of the e-learning courses, the course won’t advance after I have viewed a specific component; e.g., a video. How do I keep going with the e-learning course when it won’t advance?

The e-learning courses require any embedded videos and audio to play to the end for the next button to appear. If you have just viewed a video and audio and the course will not advance, relaunch the course to access the screen and play the audio and video until it is completed. Click the next button to advance to the next screen.

Workshop details

When can I enroll in the optional workshop?

As soon as you complete the e-learning module in Part 2, you will see a link in STARS on your “All learning” page to enroll in an upcoming workshop. Enroll in a workshop that fits your schedule and be sure to block the time. Waitlists will be available for all workshops. 

Which days are workshop sessions offered?

Please reference STARS on your “All learning” page to see when upcoming workshops are available. Additional sessions will be added based on demand.

How far in advance will workshop dates be published so I can sync up with my calendar/work priorities/personal time off?

Workshop dates through August 2024 will be available in STARS for self-enrollment when the program update takes place in February 2024. Please reference STARS on your “All learning” page to see when upcoming workshops are available. Additional sessions will be added based on demand.

Based on current estimates (not counting additional dates that could be added), how many staff can attend workshops?

In 2024, there will be enough workshops to accommodate approximately 700 attendees; as of 2023, approximately 9,000 staff or faculty have started or completed the Learning Journey. All 15,000+ staff are able to participate in the self-paced learning opportunities available throughout the Learning Journey experience. Additional workshop sessions will be added based on demand.

Workshop attendance

I am not seeing workshops scheduled for future quarters when I look in STARS; why is that?

Workshop session offerings will be available in STARS when the Learning Journey is updated in February 2024. Sessions are currently scheduled to take place monthly beginning in March 2024 through August 2024, and additional session will be added depending upon demand. 

Please carefully review your calendar and availability before enrolling in a workshop to be sure you can attend on the date and time you scheduled.

What are the workshop drop guidelines?

You are able to drop a workshop you’re enrolled in up to five business days prior to the workshop date. When you drop prior to five days before the workshop, the first person on the waitlist will automatically be enrolled and sent a confirmation. 

Your ability to enroll in a future workshop may be limited as the workshop may not be offered again for many months, so we hope you take every opportunity to block the time well in advance so you can participate.

What if I have an emergency the day of my workshop and cannot attend?

If you have an emergency and need to drop 1-5 days prior to the workshop or the day of the workshop, you must submit a service request.

I need to reschedule a workshop I’m enrolled in. What’s the best way to do that?

Login to STARS in Axess. If the workshop is more than five days in the future, you can drop it in STARS and then search for a future workshop date. However, the workshop may not be offered again for many months/until the next quarter, so we hope you take every opportunity to block the time well in advance so you can participate.

Taking care of yourself throughout the Learning Journey

What resources are available to me as I participate in the Learning Journey components?

As with all aspects of the workplace, you have key resources; people and groups who are there to help you. Some of the content in the Learning Journey is sensitive in nature and/or could be emotionally triggering. If you experience these feelings and would like help processing them, please reach out to:

How to get help

Please submit a help request (webauth required) for any learning journey support you need.

Get help for The IDEAL Learning Journey