The Curriculum and Faculty Action Team focuses on enhancing the academic experience and curriculum to better prepare students to be effective leaders and culturally competent citizens after graduation. A key recommendation was development of a required course for students in cultural competency. The Office of the Provost and the Office of the Dean of the College partnered with faculty responsible for curricular decisions to consider enhancements. Other recommendations focused on faculty engagement and providing faculty with professional development opportunities focused cross-cultural dialogue and inclusive pedagogy.
In the interim, more than 300 students attended the two Teach-Ins on Race and Human Community, sponsored by the Humanities Institute. The events were organized around faculty-led teaching sessions running simultaneously on campus. Each session focused on a topic and included a short reading that the faculty member selected for students to read prior to the discussion. Faculty and students examined and learned from critical academic discourse on race, racial formation and related topics. The Muslim Student Association and the Office of the Chaplain co-hosted a panel on Islamophobia, “Islamophobia: The Anatomy of Difference,” aimed at promoting greater interfaith understanding. The event was attended by faculty, staff, students, and community members. Additionally, a Teach-In on LGBTQ Identities happened in conjunction with the LGBTQ Alumni Conference.
In March 2015, the Office of the Dean of the College convened “Campus Climate Change: Faculty Forum on Intercultural Engagement throughout the Curriculum” that was open to all College Faculty. The event resulted in robust conversation around what are the most effective ways to create a diverse learning experience for students. Since then, the Curriculum Committee approved a proposed First Year Experience pilot course that will equip first year students with the conceptual and practical tools to acknowledge and celebrate human difference. Learning outcomes for the course include improved dialogue skills, increased understanding of human motivation, increased understanding of resilience, and increased resilience, increased cultural elasticity, increased self-awareness, increased curiosity, increased mindfulness and knowledge of campus resources. The course will be pass/fail to encourage full participation without the pressure of grades. Through the pilot course, insight will be gained into whether such a course might serve as the first tier of a revised cultural diversity requirement that focuses on development of cultural diversity skills.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Teaching and Learning Center offered faculty development workshops this spring focused on inclusive pedagogy and strengthening intercultural skills in the classroom.
Additionally, the Dean’s Office in partnership with the Director of Diversity Education offered a summer institute, covering a wide-range of topics, including facilitating difficult dialogues in the classroom and campus settings, the role that self-awareness plays in cultural competence, and best practices for creating inclusive spaces.
Under the leadership of Jose Villalba, current best practices for diversity in faculty recruitment and selection are also being implemented by the College and the professional and graduate schools.
Dr. Jose Villalba
Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity and Inclusion