Anchor an #NCLUDE Learning Group

#NCLUDE is designed so that individuals, pairs, or groups can host their own learning group. You may find our Q&A section below helpful if you are not sure whether your idea is a good fit for #NCLUDE. Anchoring an #NCLUDE group involves three steps:


Create a learning group:

  • Let the ODI know you are interested.
  • Identify your topic and intended audience.
  • Select your educational resources.


Prepare for a successful group:

  • Submit dates, modality, and group description.
  • Help promote your group.
  • Attend anchor training.


Anchor your meetings:

  • Communicate with your group.
  • Keep meetings on track.
  • Update the ODI with attendance.

Creating your learning group

If you are interested in anchoring, the first step is letting us know. #NCLUDE is designed so that groups can address a wide variety of topics that fit into one or more of the following categories:

  • Elevating knowledge and awareness about historical or social context of underrepresented groups or cultures,
  • Developing skills for pursuing inclusive excellence and fostering belonging,
  • Developing skills or support for navigating (and dismantling) institutionalized structures of oppression or marginalization.

Additionally, #NCLUDE learning groups can be open to anyone (staff, faculty, students, or even community members) or you might choose to focus on a particular audience. For example, you might want to host a learning group with the intention of recruiting the majority of participants from your unit, or you might focus on participants who have a particular role (students, staff, instructors, supervisors). You can work with the ODI to establish your intended audience.

Finally, you'll want to work with us to identify the educational resources you want to use for your group. This could be a book (or two), a collection of short readings, a series of videos, or any combination of these items.

Email to let us know you are interested.

Preparing for success

Once you've worked with the ODI to create a learning group, it's time to set the community up for success. This involves recruiting participants and preparing yourself to anchor the group. The first part is easy: select your meeting dates and modality, and work with the ODI to develop a group description.

Recruiting participants is a joint venture. The ODI will handle registration, promote the group to our broader #NCLUDE community, add it to the #NCLUDE website, and include it in our newsletter. We'll also help design a flier so that you can promote your group. We cap groups at 12 and think six is enough to have a good experience.

We'll also ask anchors to join us for a 75-minute training, where we'll address logistics, introduce you to "The Circle Way" as a guiding structure for groups, and answer any questions you might have about your role.

Anchor your learning group

Learning group anchors aren't experts. They are people committed to creating a space where people can learn and grow. We expect everyone in a learning group will have knowledge, experiences, and awareness from which others learn. Anchors provide the logistical foundations for that mutual learning.

We will use resources from "The Circle Way" to help you establish a structure where roles rotate each meeting that help facilitate the group discussion. Your job is to make sure these roles are reassigned at the end of each meeting so that the group runs itself next time.

We do ask that you keep the ODI updated with attendance records and reach out to us if you have any challenges. We hope that as an anchor, you will encourage others in your group to become anchors in the future!

Anchoring FAQ's

Q. Who can “anchor” a learning group?

A. Any individual, or pair of individuals (students, faculty, or staff), can anchor a learning group as long as they a) work with the ODI to develop a set of learning materials for the 6 sessions or use previously developed materials and b) attend the anchoring workshop. Individuals may do so on their own or on behalf of a sponsoring unit.

Q. What topics can we address in a learning group?

A. Anchors can propose any diversity, equity, or inclusion topic and work with the ODI to develop that topic in ways that: 
  • Elevate knowledge and awareness about the historical or social context of underrepresented groups or cultures,
  • Enhance skills for pursuing inclusive excellence,
  • Develop support or skills for navigating (and dismantling) institutionalized structures of oppression or marginalization.
Anchors can also use topics and learning materials previously used to host #NCLUDE groups.

Q. Our unit already sponsors a learning group (or something similar). Can we collaborate with #NCLUDE?

A. Yes! We want to work with sponsoring units. As part of that process, we will work with your unit to ensure that the structure and learning materials meet the time and topic parameters of #NCLUDE. We’ll then support the group by helping to identify and support anchors, facilitate registration, and publicize the opportunity.

Q. Why should we work with #NCLUDE rather than working on our own?

A. In addition to supporting anchors, facilitating registration, and publicizing a group, working with #NCLUDE will enhance our collective impact as an institution. By publicizing with #NCLUDE, a group can reach more people in more areas across the university. Working with #NCLUDE also allows for a topic or structure to be picked up by multiple individuals or units and repeated, building a common knowledge base and language across the institution. Additionally, we have some financial resources to support the development and anchoring in cases where it is not part of job responsibilities and to purchase learning materials if needed.

Q. Is every #NCLUDE group automatically open to everyone on campus?

A. While we encourage opening groups to campus, a group may focus on an issue that is more relevant to a particular audience. For example, a group focusing on inclusive classroom climates is primarily relevant to instructors. We can work with sponsoring units or programs that may want to prioritize members of their units in the registration process.

Q. What exactly does the anchor do?

A. The anchor is meant to be a guide, holding space for vulnerability, question-seeking, and deep learning. At each meeting, the anchor joins group members in self-reflection and a deeper understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Anchors are not experts. They anchor a group by keeping it from going off track and supporting a structure that keeps people focused.

This table helps illustrate the responsibilities of the ODI and the anchors.

The ODI’s Roles and Responsibilities  Collaborative responsibilities between ODI and anchor  Anchor or sponsoring unit responsibilities 
  • Solicits learning group anchors.  
  • Trains and supports learning group anchors.  
  • Publicizes learning group to university and #NCLUDE community. 
  • Facilitates space reservations if necessary. 
  • Buys books and other resources if necessary and manages borrowing process. 
  • Manages registration process. 
  • Assigns people to groups.
  • Build learning materials for six meetings.  
  • Ensure that learning materials adequately address diversity, equity, and inclusion.  
  • Create group description for the website.  
  • Address any concerning developments in group meetings. 
  • Define the audience and group composition. 
  • Chooses mode of meeting. 
  • Finalizes dates for meetings and shares with the ODI. 
  • Attends training for Anchors.  
  • Anchors group during meetings and facilitates the assigning of roles.  
  • Communicates with group throughout the semester.  
  • Tracks attendance on the ODI teams site.