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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Policy for Pedagogical Development

In 2020, the University of Utah's Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Mary Ann Villarreal, tasked a group of staff and faculty to investigate and report on policies worldwide that encourage ongoing pedagogical development that is centered on div


[Note: all references appear in the bibliography page]
This subcommittee, in brief, recommends the following initiatives:

In general, emphasis of initiatives should be invested at the college/department/classroom level, rather than university-wide system, which may become over-generalized and unapplicable.

Therefore, every department may benefit from their own EDI committee and/or EDI teaching assessment group.

In general, inclusive pedagogical development at the University of Utah should be looked at as a long-term commitment rather than a short-term fix. 

The creation of a credit bearing course (like Cornell's Intergroup Dialogue Project) with the intention to foster student involvement in the assessment of campus climate, courses, diversity, etc. 

The further development and growth of a teaching & learning group/committee/team (for example, CTLE’s Inclusive Teaching & Learning in the Classroom) that can directly support colleges/departments & individual faculty in their pursuit of improving their courses. 

A faculty/staff/student stipend (and paid time) initiative for scholars to formally assess and improve their classes (example at Pratt). And/or funding for academic research on the topic of EDI pedagogy (curriculum, assessment, administration, etc.)

The advocacy of the Vice President for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion to foster/encourage/fund college & department level changes in hiring policies, teacher training, review criteria, etc. 

The creation of a five-year plan for university wide initiatives, adoption of inclusive practices, and assessment with measurable outcomes/goals.   

Creation of an institutional problem statement---i.e. institutional racism is prevalent, and we as a UU have problems with EDI that prevent us from being a welcoming environment for our university community, and educational pedagogy is an important pillar for improving our environment.

Discourse of specific examples where lack of diversity hurts us with respect to national distinction, community and state relations, national perceptions of Utah, recruiting top talent, and having our students represent our state when they depart our institution [might already be part of this broader initiative]

Assessment of our “as is” state with respect to our learners’ community (survey! BIPOC and Caucasian—also might be part of this broader initiative]

Could the University Office of Budget & Institutional Analysis (OBIA) publish a digest of student demographic information -straight to teaching faculty every semester on the college/department level of detail?  In tandem, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion support could publish salient briefs on topics such as: inequities faced by students, anti-bias training, background/history of K-12 experiences, challenges of first-generation students, and so on.

Colleges & departments are encouraged to look fearlessly and deeply into their historical legacies, and continue to imagine how they may turn out differently for our future students, members of faculty, and graduates.  

And here are two parting incentives…

Increasing academic success, first-year retention and fostering of belongingness/community
An inclusive pedagogy is particularly important to support first-year students in making their transition to higher education… Academic success is enhanced when students feel they belong at a university, have a sense of purpose and are socially connected to at least one other student.  Inclusive teaching approaches engage students and create a sense of belonging…(Hitch, Macfarlane and Nihill, 2015) 

Fostering work across disciplines at the university
Our faculty learned to work together in a more highly interdisciplinary fashion and came to recognize that they had more in common than previously thought. Because faculty members were heavily involved in the process from the start, they felt deeply invested in the curriculum renewal initiative and eagerly volunteered to participate in its teaching. This enabled us to recruit some of the most senior, respected, and effective educators throughout the school. As a result, our new MPH curriculum has had a strong start,(Galea, Fried, Walker, Rudenstine, Glover & Begg, 2015)


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