In the Chronicle here:
… The emails leaked to The American Conservative document a conflict that began in February, when Mr. Griffiths responded to a colleague’s email urging Divinity School faculty members to participate in voluntary diversity training with his own email urging them to skip it as a waste of time. “It’ll be, I predict with confidence, intellectually flaccid: There’ll be bromides, clichés, and amen-corner rah-rahs in plenty,” he wrote. “When (if) it goes beyond that, its illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies will show.” He argued that such training was “at best a distraction” from the school’s academic mission.
Elaine Heath, the Divinity School’s dean, subsequently responded with an email saying “it is inappropriate and unprofessional to use mass emails to make disparaging statements” to humiliate or undermine colleagues. “The use of mass emails to express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry is offensive and unacceptable, especially in a Christian institution,” she wrote. …
I’ve been to some hilariously bad and counter-productive diversity trainings, some mixed ones, and one good one (run by a church when I was 9). UO is now requiring members of search committees to take “implicit bias training”, and the administration has hired diversity consultants to train the deans and others on it. I took a version offered at a recent BOT meeting, complete with doing the Implicit Association Test. I thought it was pretty interesting.
But the facilitator did not spend much time explaining the scientific controversies about the research. The Chronicle has a good analysis of the disputes over whether the IAT is reliably repeatable, whether it correlates with behavior, and whether changes in the IAT correlate with changes in behavior, all motivated by several recent meta-analyses. Read it all here:
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Harvard, and the University of Virginia examined 499 studies over 20 years involving 80,859 participants that used the IAT and other, similar measures. They discovered two things: One is that the correlation between implicit bias and discriminatory behavior appears weaker than previously thought. They also conclude that there is very little evidence that changes in implicit bias have anything to do with changes in a person’s behavior. These findings, they write, “produce a challenge for this area of research.”