Over the last several weeks Inclusive Instructors Academy faculty and staff participants were hard at work creating learning environments that set their diverse learners up for success. A few of their goals included: Embracing a growth mindset to empower students in their learning, teaching sensitive course topics inclusively, structuring group work, implementing teaching approaches that cultivate a sense of belonging among students new to Lafayette, as well as integrating “how to study” principles into foundational courses.
Modeled after an exceptional student pedagogical partner program respected both nationally and internationally, each faculty and staff member in the Inclusive Instructors Academy works with a student who observes their classes and provides feedback on their teaching practices. This year student partners also used a newly-developed classroom observational protocol to provide their faculty and staff partners with feedback on their inclusive teaching efforts.
The benefits of the Academy are numerous for the students in our Lafayette classrooms as well as the participating students, faculty, and staff. Below, two student partners, seniors Hamna Younas ‘22 and Chidi Nwankpa ‘22, describe the impacts of their engagement in the Academy and work in the Center. Hamna participated as a student partner for the last two years, and Chidi has worked with CITLS since the Summer 2021.
Being a part of CITLS…
…has allowed me to benefit from the faculty perspective and understand what goes on behind the doors for professors. It has given me the opportunity to utilize my student perspective to work closely with professors to try to make academics at Lafayette inclusive and stronger. -Hamna Younas,’22
…and the Inclusive Instructors Academy has granted me the opportunity to reconnect with various members of the Lafayette community that I might not have had the ability to if otherwise. As well, my eyes have been opened to different academic and athletic disciplines, as well as different teaching styles and techniques. -Chidi Nwankpa, ‘22
Below are additional testimonials from other participating student partners, faculty, and staff participants.
The Academy was invaluable. The two principal components – visits to classes by student partners and meetings with fellow faculty participants – provided different but complementary insights. Based upon their own observations and confidential conversations with my students, my student partners offered helpful perspectives on my teaching: not only what was already successful but also what was susceptible to further refashioning and improvement. The sessions with faculty colleagues, representing different disciplines as they did, furnished models of discipline-specific means of addressing the goal of inclusive teaching and the varied techniques one can use to achieve greater inclusiveness in one’s teaching; readings and discussions of them yielded useful, valuable perspectives. I was teaching a new course containing sensitive material, and I was especially seeking wisdom on how to do so effectively. The Academy was exceptionally beneficial to me in that respect in particular. Compliments, and thanks, to CITLS, Tracie, and Chenoa for a wonderful program! –Professor Tony Cummings, Music
I really appreciate this opportunity to participate in the Inclusive Instructor Academy. My student partner provided me with invaluable feedback and comments that helped me improve my class activities and assignment designs. From her visits to my class, I also become more aware of everything I do in the classroom, from using diverse examples to letting students make choices and more. The group meetings with Tracie and my fellow professors are so beneficial too. We always have insightful conversations that challenge us to apply new pedagogy in our class to create a more inclusive environment and convey more inclusive content. -Professor Hongxing Liu, Economics
I have been a professionally licensed coach since 1987 and this is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and my players. Inclusion is a critical piece to belonging which is something I center my program at Lafayette around. My student partner, Chidi, was great to work with and the guidance Dr. Addy provided was invaluable. I recruit and coach student athletes from so many diverse backgrounds that have different traditions and learning needs. I feel that I’m a better coach and even better prepared for that now than I was in January. Through the Academy, my colleagues in the Academy, and the book that accompanied our learning, I think the environment I provide for student athletes and coaches to feel safe, included with a strong sense of belonging has only got better. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! – Mick Statham, Head Women’s Soccer Coach
The Inclusive Instructors Academy has allowed me the opportunity to apply my knowledge of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) to the classroom setting. Working one-on-one with faculty to better understand how to improve the classroom environment for my fellow peers was an amazing experience. I also had the opportunity to work alongside another student partner to utilize the teaching protocol to identify areas where faculty can improve. I think as a student it also allowed me to develop more confidence in the faculty-student dynamic that we have to navigate within the Inclusive Instructors Academy. -Fatimata Cham ‘23
The opportunity to learn about the experiences and efforts to create a more inclusive environment from other members of the Lafayette community, and the valuable insights provided by the student partners in my classes, have helped me create (and think about ways of creating) a more inclusive learning environment for all my students. This experience has also reinforced in me the importance of creating active and engaging learning environments where everyone feels welcome. – Professor Christian Lopez, Computer Science & Mechanical Engineering
The Inclusive Instructors Academy has been a very valuable experience for me this semester. Receiving feedback about my class from a student perspective has been especially helpful. The students’ observational protocol has helped to make me more conscious of the timing and structure within each class period and of additional ways that I can meaningfully engage and interact with students during class. My student partner also made helpful suggestions about how to construct a mid-course feedback form to generate productive feedback about inclusivity in the classroom. The other component of this program — discussions with Tracie and fellow colleagues participating in the program — has also been quite useful. Even across very different disciplines, my colleagues shared and suggested helpful teaching strategies to address pedagogical challenges and to continue building a more inclusive environment for all students. -Professor Katie Storey, Mathematics
In my Speaking Power course, students learn to think about the power of their words and what they convey. I teach them how to communicate confidently and present themselves with honesty, authenticity, integrity, and compassion. What I learned from them this semester…students want a welcoming experience in the classroom where they are respected as adults, where they can comfortably share and hear different viewpoints and perspectives from their classmates in discussion, and where they are valued, regardless of their race, gender, and religion. – Professor Kathy Fisher, Theater
CITLS invites faculty and staff to apply to participate in the Fall 2022 Inclusive Instructors Academy as we move further towards a more inclusive Lafayette! Complete the brief application form by Friday, May 6, 2022, the last day of classes.