Infusing Diversity Into University Curricula Dr. Bonnie A. Gray Dr. Paul N. Grocoff 7 September 2007 University of York, United Kingdom
II. DEFINITIONS A. Breadth of Diversity and Intercultural Competence “Diversity” = all the ways in which we differ from other human beings. “Diversity is more than meets the eye.”
Definition of Diversity • geographical location • ethnic background • racial background • religion and religious background • spiritual background • family heritage and customs • working habits • societal heritage and customs
Definition of Diversity • gender • age • marital status • occupation • sexual orientation / sexual identity • social-economic status • physical and mental health • suburban / urban / rural life
Definition of Diversity • biological, psychological, or social factors influencing one’s life • language and communication style • physical appearance • abilities and/or disabilities / handicaps / challenges • thinking style • opinion
Intercultural Competence Intercultural Competence means “that a student understands a variety of significant cultural experiences and/or achievements of individuals; the cultural history of various social groups; the interrelations between dominant and non-dominant cultures; and the dynamics of difference.” (Pennsylvania State University). (www.senate.psu.edu/curriculum_resources/guide/glossery.html)
Intercultural Competence A shorter definition provided by Milton and Janet Bennett is that “Intercultural competence is the ability to communicate effectively in cross-cultural situations and to relate appropriately in a variety of cultural contexts (1998).”
III. PRACTICAL ISSUES WHEN DEVELOPING A PROGRAMME TO INFUSE DIVERSITY INTO THE CURRICULUM: AN INSTITUTIONAL / PROGRAMME PERSPECTIVE
Developing a Diversity Infusion Programme • Essential Requirements and Elements • There MUST be support from the very top of the organisation • Diversity must be part of the Institution’s culture • The commitment from administration must be perceived as real • Financial Support
Developing a Diversity Infusion Programme • Essential Requirements and Elements • There has to be a good foundation for the programme • Know that the programme may take some time to get going, so have patience
Developing a Diversity Infusion Programme • Programme Structure and Logistics: Creating a Foundation of Services, Activities, and Resources • The Diversity Helpline • Special Library Collection on Diversity • Web Site • Student Internship Programme • Mentoring Programme
Diversity Infusion Programme Services The Diversity HelplineA resource and referral service to answer questions about infusing diversity into the curricula and dealing with a diverse student body.
THE DIVERSITY HELPLINE • The Helpline assists with issues related to: • Managing conflicts in the classroom involving diversity • Addressing sensitive topics in the classroom • Finding resources for your classes and curriculum design • Brainstorming ideas • Connecting with mentors • Learning about how others have infused diversity • Learning to prevent and/or defuse problems in the classroom
Developing a Diversity Infusion Programme • Programme Structure and Logistics: Creating a Foundation of Services, Activities, and Resources • The Diversity Helpline • Special Library Collection on Diversity • Web Site - www.maricopa.edu.diversityinfusion • Student Internship Programme • Mentoring Programme
Developing a Diversity Infusion Programme • Bringing Participants to the Table • Respect the work that is being done by providing faculty with a stipend for their efforts • Start with faculty who represent the “Choir” • Help spread the word • Programme Seminars • Outcomes Assessment
IV. PRACTICAL ISSUES WHEN DEVELOPING A PROGRAMME TO INFUSE DIVERSITY INTO THE CURRICULUM: A CLASSROOM PERSPECTIVE
Different diversity experiences appear to positively and significantly influence growth in critical thinking during college. Students experienced growth in critical thinking if they participated in meaningful discussions with the potential to encounter challenging and new ideas about the perspectives and experiences of people culturally different from themselves. Racially oriented diversity experiences were particularly important for enhancing critical thinking of white students. (National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment)
Effective Curriculum Infusion • Ground recommended curricular changes in the larger mission or diversity statements adopted by your University. • Be clear about the expected learning goals for diversity modules. Recognize that there are multiple goals for learning about diversity, and take the time to collectively identify priorities important for your students and your community. • Build cross-departmental coalitions early in the process of developing recommended curricular changes. Involve students in curricular change efforts.
Effective Curriculum Infusion (cont.) • Make faculty development - which includes both study and dialogue - a separate and essential commitment. • Think about assessment early. Pilot test any newly required modules or exercises. For required exercises, develop carefully defined criteria that students must meet to fulfill the requirement. Develop accountability mechanisms that ensure continuing integrity and support. • Explore how curriculum can be strengthened by links to student-life programming.
Effective Curriculum Infusion (cont.) • Recognize both the campus community and the neighboring community as important sites for learning. • Adapted from University of Maryland: • http://www.inform.umd.edu:8080/Diversityweb/Digest/W97/advice.htm
Methods of infusing a module with diversity perspectives • Readings about topics in diversity or readings by diverse authors, followed by class discussion or a paper. • Guest speakers – always followed by an opportunity for questions and answers. Make sure you set guidelines for having guest speakers. • Using newspapers or TV news to bring up diversity issues within current events. • Class activities. There are a whole host of activities you can have students do which teaches them different aspects of diversity. There are workbooks available that provide lots of different options that you can use directly or modify for your classroom.
Methods of infusing a module with diversity perspectives (cont.) • Student research into diverse people who have made important contribution to a particular field, for example, women or people of color who have made a significant impact on a science discipline such as chemistry, physics, biology, math, etc. • Student research into how a discipline is taught in different countries. For example, how is math taught in India, or in Japan? • Research papers on various topics related to diversity.
Methods of infusing a module with diversity perspectives (cont.) • Interaction with individuals of various backgrounds in the community. This can be done in several ways, simple observation, reaching out to the community, involvement in cultural activities in the area (Greekfests, visiting a Senior Center or Nursing Home, attending a religious service of a faith different than yours, helping feed the homeless, doing a good deed without telling the person you did it, and so on). • Small group activities or discussions with results being brought back to the entire group. Caution: small groups may not work well with some students.
Methods of infusing a module with diversity perspectives (cont.) • Group (or individual) class presentations on particular diversity topics; can be done in various formats: debates (where students need to take opposite viewpoints on a particular topic), panel presentations, student PowerPoint presentations, and so forth. • Exploring diversity on the Internet (both the positive and the negative aspects of diversity). • Diversity portfolios, where students build a portfolio over the module of a semester on a particular topic, or on several topics related to diversity and the subject matter.
Specific Examples of Module Infusions From Professors in Our Diversity Infusion Programme
Examples of Infusing Diversity into the Curriculum Fundamentals of Chemistry Gita Perkins Intermediate Algebra & College Algebra Dr. Keith Worth
Fundamentals of Chemistry Gita Perkins Women are poorly represented in Chemistry. In 1997, 52% of all undergraduates were women, but only 37% of undergraduates in chemistry were female (Royal Society of Chemistry report). If this trend continues, there will not be parity for men and women until 2070. For this Chemistry module, the focus was on infusing two aspects of diversity, gender and geographical region, into the curriculum, wherein students participated in gathering information on the biographies and contributions of European women to the field of chemistry.
Fundamentals of Chemistry Students worked in pairs. They spent the first two months gathering extensive information on European women chemists of their choice. Some of the chemists chosen were Marie Curie, Eva Curie, Irene-Joliot Curie, Lise Meitner, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, Rosalind Franklin, and others. During the third month, each pair did an oral presentation with PowerPoint about the chemist' s biography, her contributions to Chemistry, her struggles, and accomplishments. At the end of the semester students completed a written paper on why women are under-represented in Chemistry.
Fundamentals of Chemistry Based on student evaluations of the infusion projects, the professor concluded that “the impact of this assignment was dramatic in that it helped facilitate peer-to-peer dialogues and interactions. Animated discussions occurred with each group voicing its opinion on the factors that it felt were responsible for promoting or hindering the progress of women in Chemistry.”
Intermediate Algebra & College Algebra Dr. Keith Worth Students modeled world population growth, density of population in terms of arable surface area (arable land was defined as land currently available for any human use (living needs, agriculture, urban activities, etc.)), and depletion of non-renewable resources, using exponential and logarithmic functions. A total of 50+ students in three different classes were assigned this project during the Fall semester of 2002.
Intermediate Algebra & College Algebra “The Earth Viewed as a Petri Dish” This project explored how many people can live on the earth. After reading and doing the described activities students were asked to answer three questions:
Intermediate Algebra & College Algebra • 1. How does the amount of land limit the total population that the earth can support? • What is the upper limit of human population that the earth can support? (Students were asked to base their answers on previous lessons to integrate their learning) • 3. How does mathematics help a person understand issues related to world population and limits on resources? (Use Julian Simon's wager as an example...did Julian Simon win his bet with Paul Ehrlich?)
Intermediate Algebra & College Algebra Students analyzed geographical data for 8 different countries of the world with widely varying physical geographies, cultures, and political, socio-economic, and technological conditions. The eight countries were Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and the United States. For each country students computed values for each of the empty cells in a table.
Intermediate Algebra & College Algebra Brazil was used because much of its total land is currently uninhabitable and unusable for any human purpose (only 7% is arable). The class then discussed why this is the case in Brazil. Conclusions were that most of Brazil’s population lives along its South Atlantic seaboard with much of its interior too mountainous and forested to be arable. The class also discussed why there might be pressure in a country like Brazil to clear, cut, and burn rain forest areas to create more arable land. The class also discussed how different societies might use arable land, for example, a technologically primitive, agrarian society versus a modern, industrial, high-tech society.”
Intermediate Algebra & College Algebra The class discussed what the entire world might be like if it was like the societies in Mexico or Nigeria (the two countries in the list that come closest to the current world average for square kilometers of arable land per 1000 people). Would every family have autos, computers, cell phones, televisions, and DVD players? In what kind of place would most people live? What would a typical day be like for them?
Intermediate Algebra & College Algebra The students also discussed what the world would be like in the future for these countries. To answer these questions, students had to find out about qualities for these countries such as physical geography, culture, and socio-economic and technological conditions.
Intermediate Algebra & College Algebra “Students gained an appreciation for how their assumptions about the world’s population growth and the way different peoples of the world live, affect how we all view our capacity to live and grow on this earth as a global community.” Years later, a former student reported to the professor that “doing this project was the first time that his eyes had been opened to how mathematics could be used to understand important world issues.”
Student Project: Cultural Influences on Music Cultural Influences on Music Thad Camlin
Other Examples of Module Infusions and Resources Poster Boards and “Resource Guidebook”
Analysis of Diversity Infusion Process
Infusing Diversity Into University Curricula Dr. Bonnie A. Gray Dr. Paul N. Grocoff 7 September 2007 University of York, United Kingdom