As graduate student instructors, our classrooms are cultural intersections. In this setting, we often face barriers with student engagement and identifying diverse educational resources. In order to support graduate students throughout the instructor experience, graduate students needs spaces that prepare them with knowledge and skills for cross-cultural experiences inside and outside of the classroom. Moreover, intentional discourse about identity can lead to positive transformations in the college classroom for both instructors and students.
The graduate student learning community for Intersections of Identity and Instruction occurs in the spring semester as a space for underrepresented graduate students who want to implement inclusive teaching and evaluation behaviors in contemporary classrooms. For instance, participants can expect to learn about and practice using campus resources, interpreting evaluations, giving feedback, teaching from cross-cultural perspectives, classroom and instructor wellness. The community brings in several guest speakers, addresses silent barriers to teaching, and assists participants in developing a portfolio of strategies.
Some of the overall elements include:
- Community Roundtable, in which we discuss questions about teaching and respond with authentic experiences and thoughts
- Discussing the Inclusion by Design checklist, which includes: identifying problems or needs in your classroom and syllabus; understanding the purpose and function of designing your unique system; and analyzing strategies on how to build, test, and evaluate your classroom climate.
- Going beyond “diversity” terminology: understanding diversity as a buzzword by discussing the impact of equity, justice, and inclusion in the classroom; identifying how justice, policy, and inclusion impact cross-cultural classroom teaching; and composing diversity statements for a syllabus and job applications.
- Addressing silent barriers with effective strategies: Encouraging marginalized students to participate in class by asking each student to share something they learned during a group discussion; and minimizing Imposter Syndrome by creating affirmations and aligning teaching with values.
Ultimately, this community represents a team of peers, mentors, and resources for sustaining these goals throughout the graduate student teaching journey, while also encouraging justice at cultural crossroads.
Interested? Contact the CITL Diversity Intern (firstname.lastname@example.org) to join our community and gain unique insights to the world of university teaching!
– Rachel Boveja, CITL Diversity Intern