CNDLS is here to support faculty interested in issues of diversity and inclusion in the classroom. Those interested in reading more on the subject have access to a variety of resources through the Teaching Commons, several of which are highlighted below. If you have specific questions about either designing or teaching a course, we encourage you to reach out to us for recommendations or to set up a consultation.
Teaching CommonsOur Teaching Commons is a compilation of resources and case studies designed to help faculty revitalize their courses and gain insights into practical issues in pedagogy at Georgetown, with pages on many different topics. Click the below titles to learn more!
Difficult Discussions: As the news regularly reminds us, local and national events find their way into the classroom, and difficult discussions are an inescapable part of higher education; they even crop up in courses whose focus is theoretically far removed from topics of public controversy. The diversity of our students, their experiences, and our collective interests create conditions where conflict and volatile conversations are always possible. Often it’s the role of faculty to lead students in exploring “hot button” items that can arouse intense opinions and feelings.
Teaching Well-Being: Central to Georgetown’s educational mission is the Jesuit ideal of “Educating the whole person.” This ideal calls for both students and faculty to bring their “whole selves” into the classroom—intellectual curiosity and critical thinking, certainly, but also the full range of human experience and development. Campus resources and teaching strategies can support you in this endeavor.
Universal Design For Learning: To teach effectively, you have to reach your students, students who come to the classroom with varied backgrounds, expectations, abilities, and learning styles. This understanding is at the heart of the philosophy of practice known as universal design for learning (UDL). UDL is part of a larger movement of universal design, which works to increase access for all through designs that—from the beginning—consider needs of diverse people, not just adapting when a situation requires it. For instructors, UDL means designing your course with accessibility in mind—regardless of whether you’ve been approached by a student who may “require” such adjustments.
Inclusive Pedagogy at TLISI 2016
As part of the 2016 Teaching, Learning & Innovation Summer Institute, the Doyle Engaging Difference Program offered the Inclusive Pedagogy Colloquium, a new experience open to all interested in incorporating issues of diversity and inclusion into the classroom.
The Doyle Inclusive Pedagogy Colloquium ran as a 4-day intensive workshop with sessions focused on developing and incorporating diverse teaching strategies into the classroom, and finding ways to foreground issues of inclusion and social justice in courses of any subject matter. A full list of sessions is available below.
Doyle Opening Session
In this session, the Inclusive Pedagogy Colloquium was introduced, with an overview and discussion on “inclusive pedagogy” and introducing the concept of backwards design.
Opening Keynote: Race in the College Classroom
Shaun Harper (University of Pennsylvania)
Professor Shaun Harper, from the University of Pennsylvania, spoke at the opening plenary to discuss race in the college classroom: information, observations, and recommendations. The full plenary is available to view (with a GU login) here. Following his keynote, Professor Harper held a workshop for small groups to discuss and react to the presentation and share their own experiences with small groups.
Who Are Georgetown Students?
Daviree Velázquez and Devita Bishundat (CMEA)
This session focused particularly on GU classroom experiences of students of color, first generation students, and students with high financial need, while providing an overview of Georgetown’s changing student demographic and cultural shift. Understanding students and their backgrounds is critical to inclusive pedagogy and teaching to the whole person.
Spotlight: Universal Design for Learning
Libbie Rifkin (English)
Libbie Rifkin, involved with the Disabilities Studies Initiative, provided a short overview on the latest events and principles of Universal Design for Learning, even sharing recommendations for syllabi.
Syllabus Design for Engaging Diversity
Michelle Ohnona & David Ebenbach (CNDLS)
At this session, facilitators briefly reviewed Georgetown’s new Engaging Diversity requirement—its history, its learning goals, and how it’s intended to work—and then focused on hands-on syllabi work. Each participant worked through a process of backward syllabus design, starting with their goals surrounding the opportunities of diversity, and building assignments, classroom expectations, and even the general tone of their syllabus.
Lunch Plenary: Well-Being in Higher Education
Brandon Busteed (Gallup)
Brandon Busteed of Gallup presented on well-being within higher education, “We Are What We Measure.” He focused on the five elements of “well-being”, sharing data on college graduates and their experiences both of college and life after college. He also discussed the 6 crucial factors in “thriving” after college. One of the strongest predictors of thriving was having a mentor on campus (faculty, staff, etc.)
Well-Being in Practice -- For Our Students and Ourselves
Jade Wood (Gallup)
Jade Wood of Gallup (Well-Being Subject Matter Expert) hosted a workshop following Brandon’s plenary, focusing on each of the elements of well-being (purpose, social, financial, community, and physical) and also providing a bit more of Gallup’s research on well-being in the workplace. Participants were challenged to think about their “domains” on campus and how they can contribute to well-being of themselves, peers/colleagues, and students.
Facilitating Difficult Discussions
Joselyn Lewis & James Olsen
Doyle Program co-leads Joselyn Lewis and James Olsen held a session focused on difficult discussions: moments in the classroom that may be heated, uncomfortable, or “scary” to wade into. A critical component of engaging difference and diversity in our classrooms is facilitating constructive and in-depth dialogue—giving students experience grappling with multiple perspectives different from - and sometimes in tension with - their own. The session focused on how to prepare and create an environment conducive to such discussions, as well as tools/strategies to address difficult conversations as they arise. Five scenarios were provided, and the notes document is a compilation of the group debrief & ideas regarding each scenario.
Self-Awareness & Implicit Bias in the Classroom
Daviree Velázquez (CMEA)
Whether we intend to or not, we each bring all aspects of ourselves into the classroom— including our social identities, power dynamics, and implicit biases. This session focused on self-awareness of one’s own social identity, as well as tools to recognize our biases and understand how they may impact student learning.
Doyle Working Session (Thursday)
On the final day of TLISI, participants had dedicated time to work on their Doyle learning goals, individually as well as in pairs and small groups. There was also a panel of former Doyle faculty fellows, who shared their experiences and advice with participants.