Student facilitators make possible our small-group, discussion-based approach. They create an open and safe environment for their fellow students to have collaborative, action-oriented discussions about addressing sexual violence and misconduct. Informed-U's team provides a 3.5-hour, in-person facilitator training on our methodology and our learning tools, with a focus on managing group dynamics.
Serving as a facilitator is a great way for students to develop leadership skills, make new friends, and build their résumés, while playing a key role in improving their campus. That being said, facilitating sessions on sexual violence and misconduct is no easy task. It takes considerable emotional intelligence, leadership, and courage, and it requires time and energy. We greatly appreciate the contribution our facilitators make to their campuses and we provide them with ongoing support. Below are some of the resources we offer to Informed-U facilitators:
Contact us for more information about how you can invest in your campus by creating a network of Informed-U facilitators.
Facilitator Training Video
Training video available in summer of 2018!
+ Can I be a facilitator if I am a mandatory reporter?
If you are a mandatory reporter, you should discuss this question with your Title IX Coordinator before you lead your first session. Each institution may have its own guidelines, but in general, you can be a facilitator if you are a mandatory reporter. However, prior to every session you should let your group know that you are a mandatory reporter and what that means based on your prior conversation with Title IX.
+ How do I prepare for leading an Informed-U learning session?
Review the Facilitator Checklist before leading sessions to make sure you are prepared.
+ Can I lead sessions with more than 8 students or fewer than 6?
The ideal group size is 6 to 8 participants, which allows for a diversity of opinion but is small enough for everyone to have plenty of opportunities to contribute. It’s okay to make exceptions under extenuating circumstances, but the experience tends to be most productive within the the 6 to 8 range. As facilitator, you will often have to use your best judgment, and this is one of those cases.
+ What is the difference between the Facilitator Guide and the Discussion Questions?
The Facilitator Guide is used only by the facilitator. It includes all the content contained in the Discussion Questions, as well as an introduction and facilitator tips. The Discussion Questions are used by participants and are passed out to the group at the beginning of the session. As a Facilitator, do not read Discussion Questions aloud, instead have participants read them with some one new take over each section.
+ Am I supposed to read all of the Facilitator Tips (green boxes) in the Facilitator Guide to the group?
The facilitator tips provide potential responses, answers to specific questions, and additional information. If the group touches on the content listed in the facilitator tips, you do not need to repeat it to the group. You can use your judgment as to whether or not using the facilitator tips will augment the discussion.
+ What do I do if the group gets behind schedule?
The best way to manage this is to be attuned to the timing throughout the session by referring to the timing cues in the Facilitator Guide. If you get behind schedule early, let the group know that there are a lot of other important topics to cover, and that they can come back to the current discussion if there is time left at the end.
+ What do I do if the the group has already discussed something that is covered later in the session?
The natural flow of conversation can occasionally lead the participants to discuss a topic mentioned later in the session. If that happens, you can let them know that they will have the opportunity to talk about about it later and table it for now. However, if the participants appear to be really engaged and you don’t want to disrupt a productive conversation, you may allow them to continue addressing that topic and then skip it when it comes up later. You will have to be quite familiar with the content to do this.
+ What do I do if the conversation gets derailed from the script?
If the conversation is productive, it is okay to allow it to continue for a bit as long as there is enough time to cover the remaining content. If the conversation is not relevant, it is a good idea to intervene and remind the group of the goals of the session. You will have to use your judgment in this case. The more sessions you lead, the better you will get at dealing with this.
+ What do I do if the group is moving through the discussion too fast? How do I encourage them to have a deeper conversation?
Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions, such as "Why do you think that is?" or "Does anyone have anything to add?". If the group doesn’t respond, don’t be too quick to fill the silence. Often, if you wait, someone will speak up. As the group delves further into the session and gets more comfortable with the topic and with each other, the conversation usually becomes richer and more natural.
+ What do I do if someone is dominating the conversation?
This is not always easy. You can shift control by asking other participants to read, calling on others by name and asking them what they think. You might also satisfy a dominating person’s desire to be heard by giving them a specific task such as passing out cards. As a last resort, you can ask the dominating person directly to allow others to contribute more.
+ What do I do if someone is not participating in the conversation?
Sometimes people aren’t that comfortable speaking in front of others, especially when it comes to sharing their own thoughts and opinions. This does not mean that they are not engaged. One way to help ease a quieter person into the discussion is by having them read from the card activities or discussion questions. However, if it is apparent that someone is clearly uncomfortable speaking, don’t put that person on the spot. You will have to use your judgment in this situation.
+ What do I do if the group keeps turning to me for answers?
As a general rule, if someone asks you a question, you should turn the question back to the group, to see if they can answer the question on their own. You might want to say "What does the rest of the group think?". Of course, it is okay to answer specific questions about the process of the session or campus resources. You might want to share personal experiences or opinions, just to get the conversation rolling, but do so sparingly.
+ What do I do if someone shares a traumatic experience with me and the group?
It takes a lot of strength to share painful experiences. When this happens, we recommend staying calm and acknowledging the participant’s courage for sharing their story. After you have done this, you can remind the group of the campus resources available to them and of any onsite resources available during the session itself.
+ What do I do if someone says something that I find offensive?
It is not your job to tell someone if their opinion is wrong or right, but rather encourage discussion and debate among the participants. Perhaps ask the group if any one else has a different opinion. However, if someone crosses the line and makes inappropriate comments, you may want to be direct and tell them that type of language won’t be tolerated. If someone becomes abusive, you should call a campus resource for help.
+ What do I do if a serious disagreement breaks out among the group?
Let the group know that there is value to hearing different perspectives and how important it is to have conversations such as these. If the disagreement becomes unproductive, however, it might be best to redirect the conversation back to the next discussion question.
+ What do I do if it is apparent that a student is feeling very uncomfortable?
Rather than single that person out in front of everyone, remind the group of the resources available to them and that, should they feel uncomfortable, they may step away at any time. If the student still appears distraught and unable to leave, you can ask them if they would like to step away with you and direct them to the appropriate campus resource.
The Facilitator Checklist outlines all the responsibilities associated with delivering Informed-U learning sessions. We recommend that facilitators print off a copy to refer to when getting ready to facilitate and also that they take it with them to their sessions to have as a reference.
Webinar Schedule and Replay Links Coming in Fall 2018!
After attending the in-person training, all facilitators should receive an invite to join the Informed-U Facilitator Facebook Page, where they can communicate with our network of facilitators across campuses. If you have been through the training and have not received the invite, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.