UCSF Offers Online "Foundations of Diversity" Course

Michael Adams

A new learning module is available to help UCSF managers and supervisors refresh and expand their understanding of diversity issues and laws.

Employees who are not managers or supervisors are also encouraged to use the learning module.

Now available on the UCSF Learning Management System, the “Foundations of Diversity” learning module guides the user through the best practices of building and maintaining a diverse workforce.

Fostering diversity is fundamental to fulfilling UCSF’s mission of advancing health worldwide™ and serving the people of California, the most ethnically and racially diverse state in the United States. Nurturing diversity is high priority for UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH.

How to take the diversity course:

  • Step 1: Sign in to the UC Learning Center with employee ID number.
  • Step 2: Use the Search function and type in “diversity” and click Go
  • Step 3: Click on Register for the “Foundations of Diversity for Supervisors Course”
  • Step 4: Click Submit to complete the registration.
  • Step 5:  Click Start to begin and then follow the instructions to complete the course.

Note: If logging in while off campus, employees can locate their employee ID number by going to http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/.

These instructions can also be found on the AAEOD website.

The web browser’s pop-up blocker should be turned off.

For technical assistance: Campus employees call: 476-4032

UCSF Medical Center employees call: 514-4100

The new online tool also is among the initiatives approved by campus leaders as part of the UCSF Strategic Plan. In fact, two of the seven major priorities in that plan call for nurturing diversity and promoting a supportive work environment.

All new faculty and staff supervisors and managers will be made aware of this educational opportunity, and asked to repeat the course every two years, consistent with institutional and industry standards for similar programs. The Learning Management System tracks who takes the online course. UCSF Medical Center administrators will oversee and implement the training for medical center managers and supervisors.

The learning module was developed by the UCSF Office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity (AAEOD) with valuable input from many partners and committees across the University. The project was co-sponsored by then-Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Eugene Washington, MD, and Steve Barclay, who recently retired as senior vice chancellor.

The learning program is designed as a complement to in-person diversity workshops, which provide an interactive, interpersonal, experience-based learning environment.

Reviewing the online diversity course are, from left, Sandra Avila, assistant director of the UCSF Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity (AAEOD) office; Michael Adams, director of the UCSF AAEOD office, and Nick Plezbert, an analyst and trainer in the UCSF AAEOD office.

“This new training program is a major step forward towards improving UCSF’s diversity and its workplace climate,” Barclay said. “I am very thankful to everyone who has devoted their time, energy and expertise to develop it. I am confident that in the future UCSF and its staff will all significantly benefit from it.”

The online course explains best practices and provides links to tools and resources for all stages of the employment cycle: outreach and recruitment, interview for hire, selection and retention. It also acquaints users with additional training that is available to them for managing a diverse workforce. The course takes about two hours to complete, or can be taken over multiple sessions.

“The Foundations of Diversity training module gives the supervisor a foundation in establishing and maintaining a diverse workforce,” said Nick Plezbert, an analyst and trainer in the UCSF AAEOD office, who developed the module. “After the training, the supervisor should be comfortable leading a diverse team and have more tools to apply to the complexities of managing a 21st century organization, including compliance with affirmative action and equal opportunity laws.”

The in-person diversity training workshops provided by AAEOD analysts build on these basic skills, adding a human component and offering communication techniques and problem-solving approaches that managers can apply to real-life situations.

“UCSF is dedicated to providing a work environment that encourages a climate of equal opportunity and cultural inclusion,” said Michael Adams, director of the Office of AAEOD. “The Foundations of Diversity training module is one tool we can use to achieve this goal.

Adams says the diversity learning module fills an ongoing demand.

“Faculty and staff supervisors were asking for this kind of support, both for their individual development and for the benefit of the institution. We are pleased at their enthusiastic interest in the module as it has progressed through development,” Adams said.

Importantly, a work group of more than 40 members representing many different departments contributed to the training module while others offered feedback on content, design and usability. “In our view, this was the most important part of the development process, to get both diverse content ideas and practical suggestions about look and feel of the presentation,” Adams noted. 

Mike Tyburski, director of Human Resources, thinks the training will help give managers a clearer picture of their roles as leaders.

“We recognize it isn’t always possible for managers to participate in the live training before taking on their leadership roles, but at the same time, it is crucial that they be aware of certain principles and practices,” Tyburski said. “The online training is a way to give supervisors the basic information they need – before they need it.”

Photos by Susan Merrell

Related Link:


UCSF Leaders Approve Initiatives to Improve Staff Diversity, Work Climate, Professional Development
UCSF Strategic Plan website, March 17, 2008