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Stanford Staff Step into Brave Spaces with IDEAL Engage

On May 29, in response to the national outcry over racial injustice, Provost Persis Drell called out systemic issues of racism and inequality and asked the Stanford community to come together to seek “racial justice and an end to the brutality that oppresses and traumatizes Black communities."

The Provost underscored this call to action by announcing new resources available under the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment (IDEAL) initiative. 

IDEAL grew out of Stanford’s long range vision planning and branched into four areas: Recruitment, Engagement, Education and Research. The teams include representatives from across campus who have been working to identify:

  • Training programs to educate staff about creating a respectful, inclusive culture
  • Recruitment strategies to increase staff diversity
  • Resources to help managers facilitate meaningful dialogue and promote equity within their teams
  • Research and education efforts that support transparency, diversity and equity

Strong participation in Brave Spaces

In June, under IDEAL Engage, the university launched Brave Spaces, a series of virtual forums to help staff openly discuss anti-Black racism and inequality, and how to confront them. So far, approximately 1,300 staff members have attended Brave Spaces conversations, where they shared their personal feelings and experiences with anti-Black racism, the actions they would like to see Stanford take to address these inequities, and the burning need for systemic change.

Sabah Khan, Director, Outreach in MBA Admissions, said she appreciated the space to have these discussions. “It was informative and really valuable to learn where other people were coming from. I clearly took away that there’s a lot of work to be done at Stanford, and that while words are important, actions speak louder than words.”

Taking action

To support community members taking action beyond the forums, resources to learn more about anti-Black racism and how to drive change have been made available on the IDEAL Engage website. New resources have been added to the Manager Toolkit so managers are equipped to facilitate conversations and promote inclusion within their teams. 

What’s ahead

There are plans to hold additional Brave Spaces sessions in the future. At this time, broad recommendations and concerns raised within the recent forums are being shared with university leadership to inform current and future efforts to promote racial equity at Stanford.

Longer-term, there are plans to deliver a university-wide training curriculum focused on racism, biases, and inclusiveness in our culture, our work processes, and our day-to-day practices. 

As Provost Drell said, “the IDEAL initiative is a critical step in our journey toward sustained and lasting racial equity and reform.”

To learn more, visit the IDEAL Engage site on Cardinal at Work.