Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Equity and inclusion have shaped my approach to teaching sculpture and design courses in a variety of ways. Mindful of the power of representation, I tailor my slide lectures to include a broad selection of artists reflecting a diverse range of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and economic backgrounds. I often craft my assignments to address issues of equity and inclusion in society, and infuse them with cultural learning opportunities. For example, the (re)Constructed Monument, a collaborative, introductory-level project that explores the act of historical reenactment as it relates to the idea of monument (personal and public) and memory (both individual and collective), provides an opportunity for students to engage in meaningful discussions about the power of monuments, their role in society, and how we as a society come to determine what is worthy of memorialization.
To help mitigate instances of implicit bias on my part, I use an ungraded model of assessment that relies on a combination of narrative feedback, peer-review, and critical self-evaluation as part of my grading scheme. I also use rubrics to help clarify my expectations. Peer-to-peer activity and collaborative assignments provide additional opportunities for students to engage in community-building through active learning. Students work together as a team to solve a problem or convey an idea, and, through this process, begin to share personal stories and build common bonds. These moments, in turn, provide opportunities for empathy and understanding, essential for promoting inclusion among a broadly diverse population. Sensitive to the economic impact of a course, I do my best to keep my materials costs low. If I have a textbook tied to the class, I ensure a free or low-cost version is available and post all readings online to the course management site as free downloadable PDFs. I am also sensitive to students whose time outside of class may be compromised and whose life demands (ie: job, caretaker, dependents, etc..) may mitigate their opportunities to engage with their work. This aspect of equity is perhaps the most difficult to address as even low-art material projects can require a substantive investment in time to achieve quality results, so I do my best to address these issues on an individual basis.
I make an effort to engage with every student each class period and ensure all are included in discussions and critiques without singling any students out. If there is a potentially sensitive issue that needs to be addressed, I opt for personal conversations outside of class. Outside the classroom, I continue to foster an inclusive community by being a member of the Safe Zone, an LGBTQI ally group on campus, actively supporting minority-student organizations, and regularly attending the Lavender graduation ceremonies, thereby actively role-modeling the values I espouse.