Pluralism

 

Pluralism

The Ethos Statement at Georgetown expects students to commit:

  • to the highest standards of honesty and personal integrity both inside and outside the classroom
  • to treat others in a respectful manner, regardless of differences such as race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation
  • to open discourse and the free exchange of ideas
  • to exercise mutual care and responsibility in all relationships and to an active concern for the safety, security, and well-being of each individual and a respect for individual, communal and university property

During the 2000-01 academic year, the Office of Special Programs in the Provost's Office made a video of students talking about their experience of diversity at Georgetown. The students represented a range of interests related to diversity and otherwise. A majority of these students noted that multicultural or diverse components were not introduced into the class conversation unless it was specifically a part of the course. Much of the time, though, students felt that they would have been appropriate and added to the overall understanding of the course. A couple of students were surprised at some faculty members' lack of awareness of how diverse beliefs and backgrounds were in their class. Some others noted how it was frustrating to be asked to represent their entire race or religion. All the students appreciated diversity on campus.

Remember that each student is unique in your course. Far from limiting the range of class discussions, these differences can extend and deepen the richness of the conversation by providing many points of view and experiences. If you would like extra training in how to make the most of the diversity in your class, whether it be race, class, gender, sexuality, age, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, religion, and/or culture of your students, there are several resources for you.

Consider some of the resources listed at the beginning of this publication, such as the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access, the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching & Service, and the Women's Center. In addition, the Georgetown website provides calendars of various religious holidays so that you can be aware of upcoming dates when your students might be absent. CNDLS has several books on pedagogy and diversity. The Office of the Provost supports several programs throughout the year that examines and celebrates diversity.

There are also several programs on campus for undergraduate students that engage the topic of pluralism. For instance, incoming students are now assigned mentors from older students, faculty and staff to discuss issues of diversity through the Pluralism in Action program. Georgetown also has an Incident Response Team, made up of faculty, students and administrators, which responds to issues and incidents that impact the well-being of the Georgetown community. Many educational programming and research initiatives on diversity are supported by the Diversity Working Group, made up of faculty, students and administrators.

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