Bystander to Upstander workshops empower participants to stand up against intolerance

A TCU professor will present her intervention training for faculty and staff this month and is currently working to extend the reach of the program beyond TCU.   

Expanded and renamed, the “Bystander to Upstander” workshop empowers participants to transform bystanders into upstanders to build communities that support difference and unify against intolerance. Participants will learn how to identify sexual violence, racism and sexism.  

“If everyone learned how to act as un upstander when faced with situations of injustice — be it with a colleague or in a classroom, for example — it may be possible to shift the campus culture so everyone can work together to create a safe, equitable and inclusive campus community,” said Nada Elias-Lambert, MSW program director, associate professor of social work and inclusive teaching coordinator at the Koehler Center.

Those interested may choose from two initial sessions: 9-11 a.m. Feb. 4 or 1-3 p.m. Feb. 10 in room 209 of the TCU Campus Store. Those will be followed by train-the-trainer opportunities later in the month. 

While interactive, the workshops allow participants to practice upstander strategies that match their personality and comfort level. They will be trained to identify intolerance or injustice, gain confidence in addressing it, de-escalate situations using engagement and conversation and stand up with the most effective actions. 

“I created the program about four years ago and have worked with participants — both faculty and staff — to continue to refine and further develop the program through focus groups and participant and trainer feedback,” Elias-Lambert said.  

The program was broadened to encompass the subjects of sexual violence, racism, sexism and anti-queer sentiments, she said, as well as to encourage participation from faculty and staff. She said it has been well-received at TCU and in the community. 

“I have also presented the program to the American Airlines Allied Pilots Association and am currently working to expand the reach of the program to other universities,” Elias-Lambert said.  

After completing the initial workshop, participants are encouraged to take the train-the-trainer session. Participants will learn how to facilitate the original workshop, including a discussion of potential issues that may arise during workshop facilitation, as well as ideas to customize the workshop to meet the needs of different groups.  

“Currently, we have more than 30 trained faculty and staff at TCU,” said Elias-Lambert. “Anyone who is interested in learning how to facilitate the workshop and impact change in their own unit or department would be welcome to attend the train-the-trainer session.” 

Those sessions also are available on two dates: 9-11 a.m. Feb. 20 or 10 a.m.- noon Feb. 26. Both are also in the Campus Store.  

“I ask those considering attending to have the courage to attend and be open to hearing new strategies and techniques to help prevent or intervene in moments of injustice,” Elias-Lambert said. “I encourage everyone to set aside their fears and take a step in learning the role they can play in supporting a safe, equitable and inclusive campus community and beyond.” 

Interested participants can find out more and register online