SICB Annual Meeting 2019
January 3-7, 2019
Tampa, FL

Broadening Participation Committee Workshop: Creating a comfortable and welcoming learning community: From a strategic syllabus to realized student engagement

January 6, Noon-1:30 pm - Location Rooms 5-6

Workshop Leaders: Danielle Lee and Elizabeth Congdon

Diversity initiatives and inclusive teaching strategies often focus on the most apparent "others" in the classroom: racially, ethnically, or otherwise physically distinct cues to identify individuals. This raises two issues: first, inclusive teaching strategies could inadvertently draw unwanted attention to an individual or even make them feel the pressure of being an unwilling representative for their minority group. Second, many other cultural, religious, and socioeconomic perspectives that do not have physical cues are present in the room and may be ignored. While it may not be possible for an instructor to truly know every different perspective in their classroom, it is critical to be open to the perspectives of their students and to intentionally cultivate a classroom environment that is welcoming for all of them. Focusing specifically on student engagement styles on the introvert-extravert continuum, we’ll outline strategies and work through classroom activities to create a learning environment that is conducive for all students to express themselves. We will also discuss the unique challenges of being a minority instructor teaching a predominantly majority group classroom, and vice-versa. While race isn't the only perspective to consider, it is certainly still a critical one.