Suggestions on how to more deeply incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into the curriculum ran the gamut on Wednesday during a “Campus Conversations” event sponsored by Faculty Senate.
The gathering, “Campus Conversations: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Curriculum” was moderated by Faculty Senate Chair Brian Frost and featured Eloisa Gordon-Mora, University Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Sarah Cummings, Core Curriculum Director, and Jen Hill, Director of the Gender, Race and Identity Program. About 50 people attended the event, held in the Great Room of the Joe Crowley Student Union.
Most of the discussion centered around Core Objective 10 (“CO10”) of the Core Curriculum, “Diversity and Equity,” which asks students to “… demonstrate an understanding of diversity through courses that focus on topics such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, physical ability, language, and/or social class with an emphasis on the analysis of equity. Students will apply and evaluate approaches or modes of inquiry used to analyzed diversity and equity and the social barriers to these goals.”
Frost, a chemistry professor, encouraged classroom instructors in all disciplines to find novel ways to connect content in an unforced fashion to diversity and inclusion themes, when possible.
Gordon-Mora said that faculty can gain useful tools in teaching and understanding diversity and inclusion in the curriculum by engaging in regular pedagogical “conversations” that could lead to “more robust learning … not just for the students, but for all of us.” Hill added that although budgets are limited, she and her staff and faculty who are part of the Gender, Race and Identity Program would gladly help in the understanding of language and definitions surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.
Although implicit bias search committee training for the campus has been ongoing and diversity statements have been added to course syllabi over the past few years, Gordon-Mora said the University must now develop a fuller plan to understand the complexity and effectiveness of such measures.
The bottom line, Gordon-Mora said, is the University’s willingness to make diversity “a fundamental competency” for the entire institution. She said as that occurs, “then there will always be a core level of what we are hoping to achieve.”