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Short Reading Discussion Series

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Developing Antiracist Pedagogies

In this monthly discussion co-sponsored by the Office for Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture, we will examine the intersection of race, identity, teaching, and learning. Each month participants will be provided with a short article, chapter, or excerpt to read. Together, through semi-structured and small group discussion, participants will explore concepts proposed in the readings and reflect on ways they may be implemented within their teaching. These materials will address topics such as how social identities impact classroom dynamics, how to practice culturally relevant pedagogies, how to create inclusive classroom environments, and how to promote honest and productive discussion.


Winter Session 1: In this first discussion of the winter term, we will explore the results of a 2021 study, Identity Safety Cues Predict Instructor Impressions, Belonging, and Absences in the Psychology Classroom. This study found that small adjustments to teaching, through messaging to students, fostered a sense of belonging and motivation to attend the class for learners with diverse identities (Howansky, Maimon, Sanchez, 2021). Together, we will explore the strategies used in this intervention and ways they might be implemented in other disciplines and course modalities.

Winter Session 2: This discussion will focus on how an educator’s mindset can inadvertently create racial inequality in college classrooms. We will draw from two short articles. The first, by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, explores how fixed mindsets have historically had a negative impact on medical education. The second article by Jamie M. Carroll, associate project director for the National Mindset Innovation Network and David Yeager, psychology professor at the University of Texas, Austin discusses why a growth mindset is critical to reducing equity gaps. Together we will explore strategies for moving towards a growth mindset for both us and our students.

Winter Session 3: In our last discussion of the winter term, we will review a study examining correlations between a sense of belonging and undergraduate retention in STEM majors. Findings from the study indicate that students from underrepresented groups are less likely to feel that they belong. The study highlights structural and cultural features of universities, as well as STEM curricula and pedagogy as contributing factors. Together we will consider practical steps we can take in STEM classrooms, as well as other disciplines, that will promote an inclusive environment and help to cultivate a sense of belonging for all students.

Fall Session 1: Join the Teaching and Learning Center and Office of Equality and Diversity to discuss the first chapter in the book, What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching by Tracie Marcella Addy, Derek Dube, Khadijah A. Mitchell, and Mallory SoRelle. Together we will explore the “what” and “why” of inclusive teaching, the relationship between inclusive teaching and anti-racist pedagogy, and ways these approaches to teaching are reflected in our teaching—both in theory and in practice.

Fall Session 2: In our second meeting of the fall, we will discuss “What Everyone Can Do to Promote Racial Equity,” from the book, The Conversation, How Seeking and Speaking the Truth about Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations, by Robert Livingston. This chapter provides a number of practical anti-racism action strategies we can all take, such as counter stereotyping and interracial dialogue. Together we will discuss which of these strategies can be best adapted to teaching in higher education. We will also discuss both positive and potentially challenging results of promoting racial equity in our classrooms.

Fall Session 3: In this last discussion of the fall, we will shift gears to learn about a specific grant-funded project to create a free, online module on antiracism, that will be embedded broadly within health care education curriculum. Participants will read a short news article in preparation for our discussion with one of the project leads and Co-PIs, Dr. Leon McCrea. This is a great opportunity for faculty and staff to consider approaches to anti-racism in healthcare that can be transferred to other teaching and learning environments. Dr. McCrea will also field questions from faculty who may be interested in embedding anti-racism more intentionally within their curriculum.


Winter Session 1: In our first meeting of the winter term, we will discuss Chew, Houston, and Cooper's “The Anti-Racist Discussion Pedagogy.” This introductory guide provides suggestions on how to incorporate anti-racist practices in your teaching and course design. Readers will be given the opportunity to begin the process of self-reflection, one of the first steps towards adopting anti-racist pedagogies in the classroom.

Winter Session 2: In our second meeting for the winter term, we will discuss the article, "Creating Inclusive Classrooms by Engaging STEM Faculty in Culturally Responsive Teaching Workshops" by O'Leary et al. The article discusses changes in STEM instructors' attitudes and motivation to adopt new teaching practices aimed at fostering equitable and culturally responsive learning environments after participation in an immersive workshop. While the article focuses on STEM classrooms, we will discuss applicability to a variety of fields.

Winter Session 3: In our final meeting for the winter term, we will discuss the article, "Anti-Racist Pedagogy: From Faculty’s Self-reflection to Organizing Within and Beyond the Classroom" by Kyoko Kishimoto. This article adds additional depth to our understanding of anti-racist pedagogical practices by discussing the vital role that faculty can play both within and outside of the classroom, and includes several recommendations for faculty to begin the process of critical self-reflection.

Fall Session 1: In this first discussion of the fall term, we will explore recommendations made by Derald Wing Sue in Facilitating Difficult Race Discussions: Five Ineffective Strategies and Five Successful Strategies. This short article offers practical guidance for instructors who either teach courses about race, or where topics that intersect with race often arise. These strategies also provide a guide for college instructors who sometimes face impromptu conversations about race with students in class.

Fall Session 2: In our second meeting, we will discuss Bista and Foster’s “Making Meaning of Race and Racialization in the Lives of Five International Graduate Students.” This chapter looks beyond the black-white binary which is often the focus when discussing the experiences of historically marginalized students in U.S. higher education. Their work offers college instructors insight into the experiences of international students and the complexities of race both in the U.S. and their home countries.

Fall Session 3: In our final meeting for the fall term, we will discuss the article, Thin Ice: "stereotype threat" and black college students by Claude M. Steele. Steele’s article provides research on stereotype threat, as well as strategies higher education instructors can use to reduce the impact of stereotype threat in their classrooms. While Steele’s article first appeared in the Atlantic almost two decades ago, the content is seminal, timely, and relevant to current Black college student experiences.


October: In this first session, we will discuss an excerpt from From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education by Tia Brown McNair, Estela Mara Bensimon, and Lindsey Malcom-Piqueux. This book offers practical guidance on the design and application of campus change strategies for achieving equitable outcomes. The excerpt we will use for our first discussion provides examples of how faculty seeking to increase their own equity-mindedness may begin this process through activities such as examining course data, scrutinizing and adjusting their teaching practices, and making adjustments to their syllabi.

November: In session two, we will discuss the article Faculty Accountability for Culturally Inclusive Pedagogy and Curricula by Stephen John Quaye and Shaun R. Harper. While research points to the value of diversity in college curricula and student experiences, many courses still lack explicit value for multiculturalism. This reading explores opportunities for faculty to make more culturally informed pedagogical choices and how these can benefit students; particularly those from historically marginalized groups.    

December: In session three, we will discuss the reading Responding to Microaggressions in the Classroom: Taking ACTION by Tasha Souza and the video Microaggressions in the College Classroom. These two resources provide perspective on the experiences that many students have in their higher ed careers and how we can respond to microaggressions in the moment. We will also consider what to do if we ourselves are perpetuating microaggressions.  

Teaching Design Thinking

Are you looking to improve students' problem solving skills and prepare them to face situations they have never seen before? Join us for this monthly series where we will discuss teaching design thinking in higher education! In each meeting, participants will be provided with a short reading about design thinking. Together through semi-structured and small group discussion, participants will explore concepts proposed in the readings, consider disciplinary approaches to design thinking and reflect on ways they may be implemented within the courses they teach.


Session 1: In our first meeting of the series, we will discuss Design Thinking basics using Dam and Siang's article "What is Design Thinking and Why is it so Popular?". This work gives us a window into the foundational knowledge of this approach. We will use it to discuss a comprehensive introduction to design thinking approaches, and provide several recommendations for implementing these practices in the classroom.

Session 2: In our second and final meeting of the series for the winter term, we will discuss three short prologues from "Transdisciplinary Case Studies on Design for Food and Sustainability" by Sonia Massari. This reading provides examples of the "interconnectivity of sustainability, food, and design, demonstrating the presence of food design in various food-related fields of study." Discussion will focus on how design thinking is used to address challenges in food design, however, participants will also have an opportunity to consider how to apply similar strategies to their own courses.