Fellows of the inaugural Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence were recognized in May with plaques presented by CSU President Tony Frank. Left to right: Rebecca Atadero, Nancy Berry, Paulo Roberto Borges de Brito, Debbie Crans, Maria Fernandez-Gimenez, Lumina Albert. Not shown: Ruth Hufbauer, Paul Layborn, Jamie Dahl, Jordan Sowell. Photo by William A. Cotton, CSU Photography.
When it comes to creating an environment of diversity and inclusion on a college campus, the two most powerful groups are students and faculty. Yet at many universities, diversity polices are still created by – and remain at – the administration level.
Colorado State University is putting diversity directly into the classroom through the Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence, a collaboration between the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and TILT, The Institute for Learning and Teaching. The purpose of the Institute is to transform teaching in ways that integrate awareness regarding diversity and inclusion into classroom practices, and in turn positively influence campus climate to promote equity and social justice.
This reflects a growing trend of colleges moving toward structural changes, like curricular and pedagogical reforms, to address diversity issues and the experiences students and faculty have on campus. And faculty are key to those changes. As one university president recently told the Chronicle of Higher Education, if faculty don’t own an issue, it’s impossible to make progress on it.
But even with ownership, it’s impossible to make progress without the right resources. The Institute gives CSU faculty the tools to bring best practices into their classrooms now.
To develop effective ways for faculty to engage in topics of diversity and inclusion with students, more than a dozen CSU faculty members participated in the inaugural cohort of the year-long Institute. They came from across colleges and disciplines, and met with mentors from Diversity and TILT every two weeks during spring semester 2015 exploring civility, curriculum, culture in the classroom, curriculum, pedagogy and campus communities.
The fall semester was devoted to developing individual projects that they will carry forward into their own classrooms as well as share with others on campus through TILT and other avenues. The projects ranged from workshops on unconscious bias and women in science to a paid mentorship for international graduate students and adding content on diversity and inclusion to existing English curriculum assignments.
The first Fellows of the Institute were presented at a reception at Diversity House in May.
“As busy as you all are as faculty, I am proud and grateful that you put in the time to focus on diversity and inclusion on our campus,” said CSU President Tony Frank to the cohort. “This is one area of our society where we have a lot more work to do, and frankly, one where we thought we would be a lot further along by now. I thank you all for your commitment to being mentors for the next generation.”
Gwen Gorzelsky, executive director of TILT, added her thanks for the cohort’s investment of time and energy, and said she looked forward to seeing the Fellows spread their influence to students and colleagues alike.
“Now your role is to keep the momentum going, talking about your projects at department meetings as well as in the classroom, and taking advantage of the mechanisms offered through TILT to reach others on campus,” she said, adding that she expects to see proposals for professional development sessions based on the projects for the coming year.
Ria Vigil, director of diversity education and training who spearheaded the creation of the Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence, pointed out that the projects all reflect the university’s commitment to identifying and implementing high-impact practices that contribute to student success.
“What impressed me the most was seeing all the multiple skills and different perspectives of faculty from different colleges and disciplines come together to share their efforts around diversity and inclusion,” she said.
Vigil reminded the Fellows that the annual Diversity Symposium is now taking applications for presentations. “What better way to feature what you have learned with the entire campus?”
The second cohort of the Institute has completed the first semester of exploration and will reconvene in the fall to begin work on their individual projects.
Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence
|Ruth Hufbauer, professor, College of Agricultural Sciences||David McPhee, Shannon Archibeque-Engle||
Developed and presented Women in Science departmental seminar.
|Paul Laybourn, professor, College of Natural Sciences||Deb Colbert||
Developed Mentor Training Workshop Series and curricular infusion in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
|Maria Fernandez-Gimenez, professor; Jamie Dahl, graduate student, Warner College of Natural Resources||Shannon Archibeque-Engle||
Developed a comprehensive diversity plan for Department of Forestry and Rangeland Stewardship.
|Rebecca Atadero, assistant professor, College of Engineering||Ria Vigil||
Developed an unconscious bias workshop for undergraduates.
|Debbie Crans, professor, College of Natural Sciences||Shannon Archibeque-Engle||
Infused diversity into Chemistry class by stating diversity as a course objective and by dedicating a class period to developing knowledge of diversity and inclusion.
|Nancy Berry, director of English Language Learning, INTO CSU||Stephanie Clemmons||
Incorporated activities, readings, and assignments into EAP 150 course to explicitly address diversity and inclusion.
|Jordan Sowell, instructor, College of Liberal Arts||Stephanie Clemmons||
Infused content regarding diversity in the U.S. into current General English Program Skills Workshop.
|Lumina S. Albert, professor, College of Business||
Developed a semester long-paid mentoring program within for current international graduate students.
|Paulo Roberto Borges de Brito, College of Business||Shannon Archibeque-Engle||
After investing significant time researching inclusive pedagogy practices, redesigned syllabus to add an assignment to more centrally focus on diversity and inclusion. Also developed and implemented an assessment to determine student learning.