DEI Foundations

MSU’s DEI Foundations is a university-wide mandated online introductory education program about diversity, equity and inclusion. All Spartans, including students, staff and faculty, are required to take the course during their time at MSU. The ​​​​​​​Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion developed this fully customized, MSU-specific e-learning opportunity in collaboration with many campus units and experts.


You don’t have to take any action to enroll in this course. The course is not available to take on demand. You’ll be automatically assigned when you must complete the course and will receive an email notification. In spring 2024, the program is required only for new students, staff and faculty who have yet to complete it. An incremental rollout will continue through the end of the year. The program will be accessible from the Ability learning platform by logging in with your MSU NetID. 


The program has five modules, and a few include supplementary PDFs that can be downloaded from the module or here.


  • Additional learning opportunities

    DEI Foundations is only an introductory course for your DEI journey. We strongly encourage you to continue learning through other courses or programs.  

    Credit-bearing courses  

    MSU offers a variety of academic programs that promote the study of culture, geography, language, gender, religion, ability or other DEI-related topics. If you’re a student, consider majoring or minoring in those programs or take one or two classes to broaden your horizon. You can find academic programs and minor lists here.

    IDI programs

    You can continue your DEI journey by taking programs offered by IDI.  


    Campus programs  

    The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center offers Quest: Building Capacity for LGBTQA+ Inclusion. This online educational program explores introductory concepts and provides a solid foundation of knowledge on LGBTQIA2S+ identities and pronoun workshops.  

    The Office of the University Ombudsperson offers education and training programs and presentations to improve the knowledge, skills and understanding of university policies and procedures and conflict resolution and endeavors that build fairness, equity and due process within university systems. Those include workshops for faculty such as “MSU Syllabi: Promoting Equity, Fairness and Dialogues in Classroom.” 

    Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, or RCPD, offers many resources and services to support Spartans with disabilities better. RCPD Disability and Accommodation Training is a self-enroll D2L course that covers disability education, accommodation implementation and accessibility. It takes approximately one hour to complete.    

    The Office of Student Support & Accountability provides a Restorative Justice Program that helps community members resolve conflict peacefully and effectively. They offer training for facilitators to learn the principles and practices of restorative justice.  

    The Office of the Executive Vice President for Administration, or EVPA, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office, provides various learning solutions that invest in professional and organizational development opportunities for MSU employees. Those courses include 1) mitigating bias in hiring, 2) cultural competency training, 3) leading with cultural competency, 4) building awareness and deepening understanding using the intercultural conflicts style inventory, 5) intercultural development inventory, 6) the basics of supplier diversity and 7) mitigating bias in the workplace. To find details of each course, visit the EVPA DEI Office website.   

    The Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs offers academic search committee training, which provides foundational compliance requirements, commitments to equitable hiring and expectations for implementing best practices at MSU. It includes helpful information on recruitment, evaluation and appointment processes for open faculty and academic staff positions. A must training for search committee chairs and committee members.

    The College of Natural Science Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office offers Cultural Competency for Personal, Organizational and Community Change workshops. The program will explore issues of power, oppression, and privilege. Participants will raise their self-awareness about social identities, identify systems of inequity and oppression, and learn a framework for cultural competency development. Open to faculty, staff and graduate students. 

    The WorkLife Office offers various presentations and workshops related to work, life, well-being, and workplace culture. They, in collaboration with the University of New Brunswick, created the Towards a Respectful Workplace to help address toxic work environments and workplace bullying that can lead to burnout and anxiety. Further discussion and possible solutions to these issues can be found using the Well-Being at Work Guide, which dives deeper into mental and physical health and work, boosting workplace cohesion, and more.

    MSU Extension offers two-day Multicultural Self-Awareness Workshop. Participants will explore ways to view interactions with people different from themselves. This intensive learning experience focuses on increasing awareness of several areas of prejudice, discrimination and oppression. Participants are encouraged to reflect on how they’ve learned to think about human differences and the widespread tendency to view differences within a monocultural view of “better than/less than” thinking. In addition, participants have opportunities to apply what they’re learning to work-related scenarios and explore alternative, more helpful behaviors. Open to MSU non-extension employees.

    MSU Human Resources offers a few DEI courses for employees, including cultural competency, mitigating bias in hiring or implicit bias series in collaboration with the EVPA DEI Office and IDI.

  • Acknowledgments

    IDI is grateful to all individuals and offices who participated in developing DEI Foundations. Their writing drafts at various stages, reviews, feedback and perspectives contributed significantly to this e-learning opportunity. Thank you so much for your contribution and participation in this project.    

    Project owner: Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

    Project manager: Mina Shin

    Project supervisor: Patricia Stewart

    Editor: Henry Mochida, Mina Shin 

    Instructional designer: Anne Baker

    Initial consultation: Amol Pavangadkar, Jay Miller 

    Content and writing contributors  

    We thank the following internal and external individuals  and entities listed in alphabetical order:

    Yael Aronoff, Ellie Baden, Jabbar Bennett, Sydnie Burnstein, Cheryl Caesar, Matea Caluk, Anjam Chaudhary, Morgan Doherty, Maggie Chen-Hernandez, Kirsten Fermaglich, Colleen Floyd, Tesia Freer, Nicolas Gisholt, Jonelle Golding, Shelby Gombosi, Oprah Jrenal, Swapna Hingwe, Qi Huang, Danielle Hook, Mohammad Khalil, Stratton Lee, Kevin Leonard, Anna Lin, Ebony Lucas, James McGill II, Joyce Meier, Ariana Mentzel, Henry Mochida, Matt Olovson, Anna Pegler-Gordon, Jade Richards, Saba Saed, Linda Sayed, Nicole Schmidtke, Kelly Schweda, Mina Shin, Amy Simon, Emily Sorocche, Rose Spangler, Patricia Stewart, Sitara Thobani, Shannon Torres, Naoko Wake and Antonio White.

    Chicano/Latino Faculty, Staff, Specialist and Graduate Student Association   

    Office for Education Abroad  

    Prevention, Outreach and Education  

    Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities 

    University of Advising DEI Working Group      

    Workforce Action Committee for Spartan Staff  

    Video credits  

    Meet Spartans Video  

    Interviewees (listed in alphabetical order): Gula Annamyradova, David Anosti, Gian Batayola, Anjam Chaudhary, Patrick Forystek, Brooke Jeffery, Dominant Johnson, Alyssa Konesky, Danny Layne, Anna Lin, Susan McFarlane-Alvarez, Tamari Tensley   

    Interviewer and Producer: Mina Shin  

    Videographer and Editor: Kevin Epling, Randy Flick II

    When two roommates meet for the first time  

    Writer/Director: Lynn Lammers   

    Actors: Khanyi Nawa, Aleida Contreras 

    Videographer and Editor: Kevin Epling, Randy Flick II   

    Producer: Mina Shin

    Toxic Culture

    Writer/Director: Lynn Lammers  

    Actors: Rico Bruce Wade, Angela Dawe, Aral Gribble

    Student Council on Disabilities Video

    Speakers: Megan Weil, Caroline Downes  

    Additional credits: Virginia Rutan, Jennifer Montague, Rebecca Wetzel, Michael Hudson


    University Communications, Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, College of Social Sciences, Broad College of Business  

    Anne Baker, Meaghan Kozar, Blake Matthews, Dane Robison, Mina Shin 


    Earlene Ling  

    Jada Flowers/College of Communication Arts and Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office

    IT support   

    Office of Research Regulatory Support: Candace Winslow, Michelle Carlson, Dan Krull 


    Many anonymous reviewers and testers 

    Accessibility Review 

    Tracy Leahy, Josie Davidson/Office for Civil Rights & Title IX Education and Compliance 

    Annika Arney, Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities 

    The progress of this project has been presented at many venues. Special thanks to  

    Meaghan Kozar (Inclusive Community Initiative), Associated Students of Michigan State University, Tina Alonzo (EVPA DEI Office), Philip S. DeOrtentiis (School of Human Resources and Labor Relations) and Opal Bartzis (Office for Education Abroad).

Please check this FAQ page for frequently asked questions, especially related to student account holds if you’re a student.  

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact