The Department of Teaching and Learning (DTL) is committed to creating informed, effective, and responsive educators and researchers. There is increasing evidence, however, that large numbers of aspiring educational professionals are completing both undergraduate and graduate degrees without any meaningful understanding of difference (e.g., socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, disability), as well as how systems of oppression operate regarding these differences. It is an ethical and moral responsibility to ensure that all our graduates understand and can implement humanizing relational, curricular, and instructional practices, especially when working with students of color and students from communities who have been historically disenfranchised. We are especially concerned for the well-being, inclusion, and professional growth of faculty, students, and staff from historically underrepresented communities. We envision a department known for empowering all of its members.
As scholars, we believe that it is imperative to reflect on our own positionality in relation to our respective fields of knowledge and the narratives our scholarship produces, as well as the history of our fields and how they reproduce hegemonic narratives and epistemologies. This work is ongoing and requires an inward look, knowledge of critical scholarship, and personal involvement in producing new knowledge that reflects these commitments and priorities. Institutional structures need to be examined, tested, challenged, and refined if we wish to achieve lasting and healthy change concerning social justice, diversity, and inclusion. Our goal is to cultivate scholarship from underrepresented scholars as a valuable way of building the field.
Our commitment to increase student diversity requires attention to the concerns and distinct needs of undergraduate, professional, graduate, and international students. These issues involve course offerings, curriculum, pedagogy, and the everyday interactions between students-students and students-faculty. More specifically, we envision the types of course offerings and forms of pedagogy that create the kinds of informed and effective educators described above. Microaggressions targeting students from historically underrepresented communities, for example, work against the creation of an empowering department. We therefore envision ongoing review of our efforts to create a more inclusive and empowering department, as well as the implementation of supports toward this end.
DTL Diversity and Inclusion Committee, January 27, 2017
Robert Jiménez, Ann Neely, Ilana Horn, Ana Christina Iddings da Silva, Andrew Hostetler, Donna Ford, Grace Kim, Jeannette