November 24, 2015
Faculty, staff, and students met in action planning sessions September 28 and October 12 and 13 to discuss what specific actions the College of Human Sciences community can take that result in a respectful, inclusive, and safe environment. The meetings resulted in lively and exciting exchanges of ideas. Ross Wilburn, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Diversity Officer, guided the meetings and provided a diagram summarizing themes identified during the meetings. We are grateful for his inspiring leadership.
Over-arching themes we identified during the meetings were:
- Foster a Culture of Awareness
- Provide Training and Measure Outcomes for Faculty/Staff
- Establish a Social Justice-Based Curriculum
- Focus on Student Support
An additional grouping included ideas that are pertinent across all themes or that are related to a hiring diverse faculty theme.
Our next step was to meet in work groups to identify specific actions we could take. One group met November 5 to discuss the social justice curriculum theme. A second group met November 19 to discuss training resources and fostering a culture of awareness. We are initiating a few programs based on those discussions:
Acquire films addressing social justice and equity issues for the college. We are narrowing our selection to a few films that will be made available to all of the College of Human Sciences next semester for use in classes and for viewing by everyone in the college. Film discussion sessions will be announced.
Hold teaching circles for sharing and developing approaches to inclusivity and difficult dialogues in the classroom. Many faculty and graduate students in the college have expert knowledge that could serve as a superb resource for the college. Need for more faculty/instructor training in this area was a strong issue arising from the diversity climate survey conducted last year in the college. We are planning an inaugural teaching circle event to be held before the end of this semester and will make these a regular occurrence next spring. We are considering ways to make results of the teaching circle meetings available to everyone. Perhaps a team of trainers might be developed in the college to bring ideas back to their units.
Develop a course offered in the college that expands on the Dialogues on Diversity classes and that fulfills the ISU undergraduate U.S. diversity requirement. This course could eventually attract students from across campus as well as provide an in-depth educational experience for the College of Human Sciences students.
Explore bringing faculty/student training programs to campus to develop trainers of trainers. Programs such as Stop the Hate and the Social Justice Training Institute are excellent. These intensive training programs will require investment on the part of the university.
We continue to examine further actions for the College of Human Sciences, and will announce film discussion and teaching circle sessions. Thanks to all involved for your passion and commitment to an inclusive and equitable climate in the college.