The University of Alaska is currently considering implementing refresher courses for the mandatory Title IX: Sex and Gender-Based Discrimination Prevention training. While no official action has been taken yet, Interim Title IX Coordinator Ron Kamahele said the Title IX administrators across the state are working with the training vendor, EVERFI, to look into future training for students.
“We don’t want to, just every year, have people do exactly the same thing, exactly the same training,” Kamahele said. “The idea is that there would be a refresher for someone who’s already done [the training], which would be shorter, but still refresh.”
Kamahele said the refresher trainings, which EVERFI calls Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing, will be available to staff starting next semester, but no refresher training is available for students yet.
“Having a refresher training would hopefully present the information that needs to be conveyed but in a way that might be more engaging for the people doing it,” Kamahele said.
If implemented, Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing would be available to students who have previously completed the Title IX: Sex and Gender-Based Discrimination Prevention training.
Holly Rider-Milkovich, senior director for Prevention Education at EVERFI, said refresher courses purposefully target older students who are more familiar with the university.
“We needed to develop additional courses that campuses could develop for sophomores, juniors, seniors, to reinforce those important lessons and skills that they were first introduced to in the initial course, that most students receive as they’re arriving to campus,” Rider-Milkovich said.
Rider-Milkovich said students would best engage with the material if it was not the same each year.
“At some point, the positive effects of that course will tend to wear off,” Rider-Mikovich said. “This is a principle in public health called dosage.”
To target this idea of diminishing returns, EVERFI released the Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing refresher course in October to offer universities a training for students who have already finished the initial Sexual Assault Prevention training.
Since the training is focused on an older cohort of students, they will emphasize concepts of engaging with consent in a workplace environment more than a university setting.
Students at UAA had mixed reactions to the mandatory training, which resulted in the College of Health sending out a letter to its students with an opt-out link over concerns that students were triggered by the training content.
Rider-Milkovich said she does not hear comments that the course is triggering frequently, but that the trainings utilize content warnings and internal live chats with domestic violence hotlines.
“We know that when we are delivering programs to 10 thousand, 20 thousand, 30 thousand students, that it is not going to be a perfect fit for everyone,” Rider-Milkovich said.
The Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing course was created using both student and professional feedback.
“We created [Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing] over a period of months involving student focus groups involving many different campuses all across the country, and then expert panels of campus based practitioners who have a lot of deep knowledge about the different needs of ongoing students,” Rider-Milkovich said.
Despite mixed reactions to the training and to the account holds that were placed, UAA had the highest rate of completion among UA campuses.