Faculty Initiatives Related to Teaching, Coursework, and Course Content
Institutional racism has been a concern of our faculty for many years. Recently the faculty have been exploring how teaching, coursework, and the content of courses can avoid a colonized representation of subject matter and implicit bias or racism. These initiatives include the following:
The Dean of the College, the Dean of the Faculty and the Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) are working with a grassroots faculty effort to more rapidly advance approaches to decolonizing the curriculum. They are also addressing issues in the classroom environment. These efforts include not only faculty development but also Peer Learning Assistant (PLA) training.
Several faculty members are planning events and workshops for the coming academic year around decolonizing the curriculum and anti-racist pedagogy. This work is being coordinated by the Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies (CGRAS), CETL, and the Higgins School of Humanities. The faculty have also formed a working group on anti-racist pedagogy, which has met twice. Among other roles, this group will work in conjunction with CETL to create programming and other efforts that propagate anti-racist pedagogy as part of ongoing faculty development.
We will be committing new resources to CGRAS that will enable it to more fully develop and enhance curricular offerings, professional development in conjunction with CETL, and research related to anti-racist and decolonized academic practices.
Initiative 4 (new initiative as of Sept. 23, 2020)
Faculty Steering has committed to focusing on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion as a priority this year, including working closely with President Fithian to ensure that the administration provides monthly updates at both Steering and Faculty Assembly regarding the demands expressed by faculty and the Black Student Union.
Updates as of Sept. 23, 2020:
- Faculty inquiry groups aimed at decolonizing curricula and pedagogy: In collaboration with CETL, the Hiatt Center for Urban Education, and the Higgins School of Humanities, the Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies (CGRAS) will create faculty inquiry groups in which faculty learn about anti-racist pedagogy, interrogate their existing pedagogy, and build new teaching practices. The yearlong inquiry group will conclude with a roundtable presentation to the University community. This work formalizes and institutionalizes the informal grassroots faculty discussion groups that commenced over the summer.
- Support for course development: CGRAS and CETL will oversee support for faculty to design Diversity and Inclusion courses that are intersectional and interdisciplinary in nature, and address issues of social and political significance (e.g., CYES 108: Identity and Social Change in Higher Education). Junior faculty of color and faculty who wish to teach first-year intensive seminars would be given priority. In addition to a stipend, faculty would receive support from CGRAS and CETL in designing their syllabi and in other aspects of their instruction (e.g., rethinking assessment, facilitating productive dialogue across multiple forms of difference).
- CETL PLA Training: Dean Laurie Ross, director of CETL, has developed and delivered PLA Training and, working with Michael Vidal of the ODI, has created diversity and inclusion training as part of the curriculum for PLA training, scheduled for Oct. 28 and 29.
- CETL Anti-Racist Pedagogy Repository: The CETL Moodle site now houses a collection of anti-racist pedagogical resources for faculty that include theories, concepts, practices, and tools. This collection was developed as a result of a faculty-driven anti-racism summer reading group.
- In its fall programming to support classroom experiences, Higgins sought out ideas from faculty around DEI efforts and, following a strong response from faculty, has funded a variety of such events, including:
- A conference honoring Winston Napier (Clark’s first E. Franklin Frazier Chair of African American Literature, Theory, and Culture chair; and founder of the African-American Intellectual Culture Series hosted by Higgins).
- Guest speakers on “How do soundwalks address urban communities,” “Hip hop as a poetic response for social justice,” and “Radical Hope, racial trauma among youth, civil engagement and activism among African Americans, ” and “Structural health of specific postcolonial francophone countries.”
- A discussion with the author of the poetry volume “Full Metal Indigiqueer.”
Initiative 4 (new as of Sept. 23)