At a recent workshop for University of Virginia faculty members, three visiting professors reviewed course syllabi in order to identify subtextual “bias” and suggest ways of making their pedagogy more “inclusive.”
The workshop was sponsored through a federally-funded initiative that assigns departmental “Directors of Diversity and Inclusion” tasked with fostering social justice through individual outreach.
Instead of focusing solely on their coursework, University of Virginia professors are being asked to inspect their syllabi for non-inclusive subtextual messages.
As part of the university-wide “Directors of Diversity and Inclusion” initiative, three visiting faculty members held a workshop for UVA professors last week, where they reviewed course syllabi and provided feedback for identifying and excising “bias” from both the learning goals and language, according to The Cavalier Daily.
“There are all sorts of ways in which biases, even by the best intentioned people, can kind of creep into things,” explained Prof. John O’Brien, Director of Diversity and Inclusion (DDI) for the English Department. “Just having an observer who is just there, who’s charged specifically with listening and thinking about these things—that’s basically the job.”
The DDI initiative is funded by U.Va. CHARGE, an organization that promotes gender inclusivity in the sciences, through a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE Program. The initiative aims to promote diversity and inclusion by targeting its efforts at individuals, rather than through top-down policy changes, and every academic department at UVA is eventually intended to have its own designated DDI.
Professors who attended the workshop were given a survey asking them to consider six aspects of their classes: people, content, relevance, pedagogy, values, and…
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