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Call for Proposals 2023

The UW–Madison Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement (DDEEA) is seeking proposals for breakout sessions for the annual Diversity Forum this Fall.

The theme for the 2023 Diversity Forum will be Bridging the Divide: Realizing Belonging While Engaging Difference, in an effort to understand how we embrace shared problem solving and engage in constructive dialogue across a broad range of differences, from political to cultural to religious and more, to create living and learning communities characterized by a sense of inclusion and belonging. We are looking for proposals that provides attendees the insight and/or tools to develop this skillset to create a more inclusive environment.

The 2023 Diversity Forum will be held in-person November 14 and 15 at Union South. Sessions will also be streamed online. The event is free and open to the public.

Proposals are due April 30, 2023Submit a Proposal

PDF Version

View the topics our 2022 attendees suggested. 

Proposals will only be accepted via the online form. Submissions are due April 30. Presenters will be notified by June 9.

Proposal Details

A large crowd of people sit at round tables in a large auditorium while a panel of people speak on a stage at the front.
A large crowd of people sit at round tables in a large auditorium while a panel of people speak on a stage at the front.

The DDEEA is seeking proposals for 75-minute breakout sessions that will be facilitated in-person and streamed online for virtual attendees. We are especially interested in sessions that encourage participation from students and student groups. Breakout sessions can take the form of workshops, panel discussions or lectures.

Successful proposals will meet some or all of the following criteria:

  • Align with the Forum’s mission to update, educate and activate attendees
  • Provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the latest research and best practices in equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging with practical applications for a broad audience
  • Respond to or build upon the conference theme
  • Help increase attendees’ understanding of matters of specific importance to people from historically marginalized or underrepresented groups
  • Provide a starting point for discussion, self-learning or interactive work among attendees

Note: If you would like to propose a workshop, please keep in mind that interaction with online attendees will be limited.

Submit your breakout session proposal by completing this form by Sunday, April 30.

Please email with any questions about the call for proposals process.

Examples of well-received breakout sessions

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Reckoning with Ourselves: Developing Skills to Process and Engage with Difficult Histories

From monuments to the renaming of buildings, historical writing to museum exhibits, conversations about difficult and painful histories have come to the forefront in recent years. While some of these conversations have been productive and informative, others have been volatile and even violent. Similar to our connection with community and culture, engaging with history can cause deep reflection and natural emotional response. Yet, we often do not spend intentional time and energy developing our capacity and skills to engage with emotions as a natural part of the historical process. As our community reflects on our history through the findings of the UW–Madison Public History Project, we must also reckon with our responses to our campus history. This session will engage participants in the difficult work of building skills to process personal reactions when encountering new understandings of the past. Participants will be encouraged to be self-reflective as they learn new practices to grow their ability to engage with history and navigate their emotional responses and reactions. Participants will use scenarios and have the opportunity to dialogue and share resources for processing and de-escalating problematic responses to difficult history.


Watch the session.

A Disability Primer: Reclaiming, Imagining, Creating Change

When we reflect on our nation’s history and some of the more recent conversations around social justice, it is clear that society was not intended or designed for people with disabilities. Even 32 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, disabled people are still fighting for equal access and inclusion.

In this session, we will review pieces of disability history in the United States and recall key moments in activism on disability justice. How we think about disability needs to be reframed to embrace access and inclusion as a shared societal norm. Collectively, engaging in conversations on disability and ableism is one way to affect change. We will highlight disabled activists, past and present, and honor their legacies in continuing these needed conversations. We will talk about ways to reframe disability through the social model of disability and steps to actively engage and interrupt ableism at the University.

Participants in this session will:

  • Review some of the history of disability in the United States
  • Learn about some of the key moments in activism centered on disability justice
  • Understand the difference between the medical and social models of disability
  • Gain an understanding of the underpinnings of ableism and how it presents today
  • Strategize actionable steps to recognize and disrupt ableism

Watch the session.

Stress as a Public Health Crisis: The Daily Grind of Discrimination and Racism on Campus and Beyond 

Emerging science shows the economic, psychological and emotional stresses suffered by people of color, especially Black people, is contributing to disparities in every realm of health and wellness from focus in the classroom to mortality rates. This 2020 panel discussion dived into the ways these stresses are manifested and create “triggers” that can block full social and intellectual engagement, as well as cause physiological responses.

Watch a video

Niceness is Not Anti-Racism: How White Women Can (and Must) Step Up Their Game 

This 2020 virtual workshop encouraged white woman-identified participants to think more deeply about their allyship, discuss their failings honestly to overcome white fragility, and decide on some actions to improve.

Watch a video of the workshop