Caucusing Guidelines & Schedule

Guidelines for Dialogue

To support you in moderating these sessions, we recommend the following guidelines for caucus discussions as a starting point. These should be reviewed and amended in the first session, and revisited in every subsequent session.

  1. Be fully present.  Our time together is precious and limited.  Everyone at the table has significant contributions to make and we need you to fully participate with both your head and your heart.
  2. Confidentiality.  We want to create an atmosphere for open, honest exchange.  What is said in the space stays in the space. What is learned in the space can leave the space.
  3. Speak from personal experiences. Use “I” statements to share thoughts and feelings. You cannot speak for your group; just because you are does not mean you understand.
  4. Challenge the idea and not the person.  If we wish to challenge something that has been said, we will challenge the idea or the practice referred to, not the individual sharing this idea or practice.
  5. Speak your first draft.  If something is bothering you or if you have an idea or thought that is not completely formed – share this with the group.  Often our emotional reactions to this process and our initial ideas and thoughts offer the most valuable learning opportunities.
  6. Take responsibility for your impact. Our intentions do not negate the negative impact we may have on someone.  We will hold ourselves accountable by challenging ourselves to be quick to sincerely apologize and then open to learning when we do not understand.
  7. Assume best intentions. Trust that people are doing the best they can and everyone is attempting to balance being honest, vulnerable, and imperfect with standards of perfection, mastery, and survival.

The following additional guidelines may be helpful – please add any to the list above that you feel would be helpful to your moderation style/expectations of folks in your session.

  • Our primary commitment is to learn from each other.  We will listen to each other and not talk at each other. We acknowledge differences amongst us in backgrounds, skills, interests, and values.  We realize it is these very differences that increase our awareness and understanding through this process.
  • Do not demean, devalue, or “put down” people for their experiences, lack of experiences, or difference in interpretation of those experiences.
  • Monitor your airtime. Be mindful of taking up much more space than others. On the same note, empower yourself to speak up when others are dominating the conversation.
  • Redefine the term “Safe Space.” Conflict and discomfort are often a part of growth. Make sure to differentiate between feelings of discomfort and experiences with conflict and being unsafe.
  • Trust the process. The journey to our destinations offer us the chance to gain insights about ourselves and others.  These insights help us grow and change and contribute to our cohesion, offering us opportunities for gratitude and appreciation on the way to goal achievement.
  • Be mindful of language and perceived behavior, which can be potentially triggering. You may have some personal anecdote or experience that may be received as traumatic for someone with a connected history. Please be mindful when sharing experiences that may be received as violent.

ACPA Caucus Moderation Guide Day 1 – Sunday, 3 March, 2:30pm-3:45pm

Today’s discussion is meant to focus on why we caucus, and engage in some general reflections on our relationship with race and its role in our work. Does anyone have any thoughts or questions before we begin.

Guided Questions:

  1. What thoughts or feelings do I have about meeting in caucus groups?
  2. What dominant narratives about my racial identity do I believe in, and why? More specifically: What dominant narratives about your racial identity was I taught to believe in? What impact have these narratives had on my self concept?
  3. How does my identity affect the way I experience the world?
  4. What does my racial identity mean for how I interact with the field of student affairs? More specifically: How does my racial identity show up when working with students, staff, and executive leadership?

ACPA Caucus Moderation Guide Day 2 – Monday, 4 March, 10:00am-11:00am

Guided Questions:

  1. What does racial justice mean to me?
  2. What is my understanding of decolonization?
  3. In what ways do race-based inequity and colonization show up in our field? How do similar inequities show up within my own work?
  4. In what ways do I experience the perpetuation of racism and colonized practices in my day to day work? How is this behavior reinforced by our field and institutional norms?

ACPA Caucus Moderation Guide Day 3 – Tuesday, 5 March , 3:00pm-4:15pm

Guided Questions:

  1. What is my vision for decolonizing my work? What is my vision for achieving race-based equity in my work? In the field?
  2. What are some immediate actions I can take to begin to decolonize my work? What are some immediate actions I can take to make my work more equitable for students and colleagues of all races?
  3. Who are some co-conspirators in this process at my institution and within the broader profession? How might you hold each other accountable in this work?
  4. What are some of the risks I am willing to take to pursue racial justice and decolonization at my institution? In the field of higher education and student affairs?
  5. What supports and obstacles do you foresee in this process?