Unlikely Allies in the Academy Series


Registration for the fifth cohort of Unlikely Allies in the Academy is now closed. Please complete the Qualtrics survey below if you would like to be notified when the next cohort opens.


Program Overview

What is the Unlikely Allies in the Academy series?

The Unlikely Allies in the Academy (UAA) series is an anti-racist campus dialogue program focusing on building community across racial barriers. All members of the UNT community—faculty, staff, and students—are welcome to participate. UAA involves both INTRAgroup dialogue (among those with the same or similar racial and ethnic identities) and INTERgroup dialogue (between those of differing identities) with the goal engaging all participants in systemic anti-racist transformation.

How did the UAA series begin at UNT?

Based upon the book Unlikely Allies in the Academy: Women of Color and White Women in Conversation, the series began in 2016 with campus visits from Dr. Karen Dace, the book’s editor, followed by sessions with some of the book’s contributors.


By demand, the series evolved into a dialogue-based curriculum exploring commonalities and barriers that affect coalition building. The first UAA dialogue cohort began in 2018, and in the fall of 2020, Diversity & Inclusion worked with the Student Government Association to offer a similar dialogue program for students called UNiTing Race Relations.

When does the UAA series occur?

Participants can join the next UAA cohort at the end of the spring semester. During the summer cohort members participate in INTRAgroups, dialogue groups of 4-14 participants from the same or similar racial and ethnic identities. Trained facilitators lead five 1.5 hour dialogue sessions for each INTRAgroup during the summer.

During the fall, cohort members will reconvene in racially diverse INTERgroup dialogue sessions to learn from each other and discuss next steps for anti-racist allyship and accompliceship. Diversity & Inclusion will schedule six 1.5 hour INTERgroup dialogue sessions during the fall. After the conclusion of the INTERgroup sessions, monthly informal UAA dialogue sessions are open to previous participants of any cohort. All UAA sessions generally occur during lunch (sometime between 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.).

What are the requirements to participate?

  • Participants must be faculty, staff, administrators, or graduate students at UNT.
  • Participants must be willing to abide by the principles of engagement for UAA. Participants are also encouraged to review “How to Have a Productive Conversation About Race.”
  • Participants do NOT need to understand everything about racism, but they must have a desire to grow, learn, and effect anti-racist change.
  • Participants are expected to complete assigned pre-work before sessions in order to come prepared to actively participate.
  • Participants must attend their first INTRAgroup session to continue with the program.

How do I get more information about UAA?

For more information contact Diversity & Inclusion at diversity.inclusion@unt.edu or the assistant director of Diversity & Inclusion, Marcella Clinard at marcella.clinard@unt.edu or 940-565-3724.


Detra Craig smiles for the camera

"Unlikely Allies in the Academy participation has proven to be a great benefit for me. Within my first two months of arriving at UNT, I discovered the opportunity to participate in UAA. Until I started participating in UAA, I was contemplating if I had made the right decision to join UNT and if I was going to stay at UNT. UAA provided me the opportunity to meet others across the university who looked like me, had similar career aspirations, had experienced the same feelings of isolation that I had experienced. By the first week of participating in the UAA INTRA-group, I felt connected to colleagues and a renewed level of energy.
Participation in the INTER-group sessions allowed me to interact and connect with colleagues in different areas of the university. UAA helped increase my level of engagement by providing the space for me to meet others I may not have met through daily interactions. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in UAA and look forward to continuing supporting UAA through facilitation, collaboration, and participation."

- Detra Craig, Director of TRIO Student Support Services (SSS)

Click on the headings to reveal the quotes.

  • Unlikely Allies in the Academy: INTRAgroup Dialogues

    As a participant, the INTRAgroup Dialogues were such a powerful opportunity and I am so grateful for all of the super important, hard work that you all do! Being able to discuss with individuals with experiences that were both similar and different from mine was something that I found to be extremely enlightening. It helped to be able to process with others in a smaller group setting that felt safe and comfortable for me to be able to be open about my own thoughts.

    It has been meaningful to me to re-engage with these topics and find that others on campus have shared experiences. It reduces the feelings of isolation.

    I think the articles, videos, websites, discussion topics and questions, organization of the Unlikely Allies INTRAgroup modules, and the leadership of the facilitators was all carried out really well. It was very helpful to have "homework" before getting together and having an agenda basically because we could've easily gone off topic for too long!

    Although we belonged to a certain (racial) group, we expressed varying viewpoints which lead to an open and informative dialogue.

    I think it was helpful to have a group of white allies of POC get together like this because we could deal with some of the white guilt/white tears without silencing POC in a dialogue about racism. This was very beneficial to do before we get together with the INTERgroups because hopefully all that stuff is out of the way for us. It was actually nice to be with other white people experiencing white guilt so we could work through it together.

    It was amazing meeting other employees on campus and building strong relationships that are rooted in authenticity.

    I'm soooooo happy the Unlikely Allies in the Academy program was created. This should be continued!!!

    The INTRAgroup conversations allowed us to support one another, find shared experiences, and recognize the strengths and challenges we face as a group. More than anything, I found these conversations to be an opportunity to build relationships and identify things on campus that are better than I sometimes expect, because feeling like the only voice or the only one who faces some of these (race) challenges is so isolating that it starts to feel like it's my problem rather than a systemic issue.

    The Unlikely Allies in the Academy INTRAgroup dialogues was amazing. I absolutely loved it. It was like a group therapy session.

    Thank you for providing this platform of self-reflection and opportunity to learn from each other on how to be better so that we can take what we learn and ripple it through our sphere of influence.

  • Unlikely Allies in the Academy: INTERgroup Dialogues

    It was a great and enlightening experience.

    Getting to know passionate people on this campus. What a gift!

    I loved this series! It helped me see other points of view.

    Hearing other ethnicities talk and discuss their different perspectives was impactful.

    The INTERgroup series was a great opportunity to engage with a diverse group of employees. Great to know that I’m not alone.

    Being able to sit with a diverse group and openly discuss comfortably and safely was most impactful for me in the INTERgroup dialogues.

    Fantastic program! I will suggest it to all of my colleagues.

    This was an AWESOME program. I loved every minute of it.

    Thank you for the great work and providing the staff at UNT with these excellent opportunities to engage in critical conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    I overall greatly appreciated the program, just wish there was more time (which is completely understandable that we are gathering multiple folks for multiple times and so much to cover).

    My participation in the Unlikely Allies program was one of the single most powerful and transformative experiences I have had at UNT. THANK YOU FOR CONTINUING THIS PROGRAM!

    I love that the program keeps growing!

    I really enjoyed this and I hope to participate in the next session!

    Thank you for your time and efforts -- this work is hard, this work is necessary, this work is often thankless -- but your mission is seen and appreciated and valued.

    This is just such an important group and opportunity to learn from each other.

    Really appreciate this program and the opportunity to improve as an ally and to help make UNT a better place for those in our community who are marginalized.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and I plan to continue to be involved in anything D&I at UNT as long as I remain here. I have made some great connections with my small group and have started conversations via email or even meeting up since we have begun and I hope others have similar experiences. This is a program that is much needed.

    This was a life changing experience for me.