H&S Faculty Forum

Faculty Forum 2016

School of H&S Faculty Discuss Teaching Infused with Diversity and Inclusion (08.16.16)

On Tuesday, August 16, the School of Humanities and Sciences held its annual Faculty Forum in the Emerson Suites of Campus Center. The event was attended by nearly 150 H&S faculty members, and included traditional introductions for new faculty, followed by a review of the school’s overriding priorities and goals, as well as small group discussions.

Welcoming remarks from new dean, Vincent Wei-cheng Wang, were followed by focused discussion sessions on a number of topics: one of which centered on diversity and inclusion and relative tactics for incorporating these concepts into classroom instruction.

Stressing the importance of fostering a diverse and inclusive academic community and the pivotal roles faculty can play, Dean Wang engaged the faculty to reflect and innovate on infusing diversity and inclusion in their quest for teaching excellence. “Excellence in teaching is a shared commitment of H&S faculty. Constant improvement is a hallmark of a good teacher. In light of the changed educational environment, demographics, and student feedback, how can we improve our teaching by infusing diversity and inclusion?” he asked.

He first invited faculty to share and celebrate what we have done that are successful and can be emulated. Then he asked the participants to “revisit the topics, pedagogies, methods, perspectives, interpretations, and emphases in our classes with greater attention to D&I” with the goal of continuing delivering the knowledge and helping students explore while encouraging a more inclusive environment.

The D&I group session was co-moderated by Jennifer Jolly, associate professor and chair of art history, Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, professor and chair of politics, and Belisa Gonzalez, associate professor and director of the center for the study of culture, race, and ethnicity.

Before faculty broke into groups, Soyinka-Airewele reminded the audience, “We are not experts, just faculty facing challenges.”

The presenters provided a comprehensive list of questions related to diversity and inclusion as a resource for inspiring group conversations.

Jolly noted that the questions were “designed to move us away from just thinking in terms of the content of our classes, to thinking about how our expectations, assumptions, about success, and classroom pedagogies allow all our students to thrive.”

The session concluded as representatives from each group reported highlights from their discussions, while some provided supplementary thoughts and questions aimed at promoting additional academic discourse.

Jolly closed by stating, “We hope that our faculty will take the questions and any others that were generated, back to their departments for further conversation.”