Unconscious Bias (UB) is one part of the overall Diversity and Inclusion work across MUSC.
Diversity and inclusion refers to the richness of human differences and the intentional engagement with each other through professional development, education, policy and practice. Diversity and inclusion is about stories. It encourages us to notice who is at the table and who is missing from the discussion. As we become more diverse, we have more frequent encounters with what is unfamiliar. Consequently we may find ourselves more surprised by our own assumptions. Recognizing and intentionally working on our UB is the next step in encouraging and supporting healthy conversations, behaviors and policy around MUSC.
UB—also known as implicit social cognition—refers to thoughts and feelings that are outside of conscious awareness and control. Although we all would like to believe that we are objective and capable of judging people solely on the basis of merit, over 20 years of research demonstrates that we generally fall short of our self-perceptions (see Banaji et al, 2003). There are many forms of cognitive biases which humans have developed out of the need to rapidly process new and extensive amounts of information. Unconscious bias can be particularly insidious because what we are unaware of we don’t address, and we may unintentionally promote. Increasing awareness of bias and assumptions and their role in evaluation is an important first step in minimizing their influence. There is a vast literature on unconscious bias. This page provides links to some online resources and a list of suggested strategies for minimizing bias in faculty recruitment, which are adapted from www.northwestern.edu/provost/faculty resources.
In this 30 minute video, AAMC Chief Diversity Officer Marc A. Nivet Ed.D. interviews Howard Ross, Founder & Chief Learning Officer of Cook Ross and author of Reinventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance. Dr. Nivet and Mr. Ross explore how and why diversity efforts plateau at institutions, what role unconscious bias plays in these situations, and discuss how to mitigate unconscious bias to increase the success of diversity initiatives.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that unconscious bias may influence the evaluation and selection of candidates from entry-level to leadership positions in all types of organizations, including medical schools and teaching hospitals. This presentation, created for academic medicine audiences, is designed to acquaint search committees and others with this research as one step toward mitigating the effects of unconscious bias.
Marc Womack, Chief Operating Officer, TD Auto Finance, gives advice on how to respond when someone has a preconceived notion of your appearance and says, "you speak so well."
Implicit Association Test. Project Implicit is a non-profit organization founded by researchers from the University of Washington, Harvard University, and the University of Virginia. Its goal is to educate the public about hidden biases and to function as a virtual laboratory for collecting data on unconscious bias. The link takes you to a page where you can take online implicit association tests (IATs) relating to different types of unconscious bias, including skin-tone preference, sexuality preference, the link between gender and science, age preference, the link between gender and family versus career, racial preference, weight preference, disability preference, and others. For a list of articles relating to IAT procedures and application, visit here (pdf).
Managing Unconscious Bias workshop. Facebook recorded its internal training program on managing unconscious bias and has made the videos available to the public. The link provides access to the video presentation, which is divided into six brief modules. Presentation slides and a bibliography of reference materials are also available for download.
Interrupting Bias in the Faculty Search Process. The University of Washington’s ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change created a training video and facilitation guide to help faculty search committees uncover and address unconscious bias in the faculty candidate evaluation process.
Set forth below is a list of specific interventions for addressing unconscious bias in the context of faculty recruitment. The strategies, adapted principally from WISELI's Searching for Excellence and Diversity® Guide (see pages 35-59), are grounded in research.