Are traditional teaching
methods keeping pace with the increasingly diverse population of college
students nationwide? Or worse are college faculty shying away from balanced
teaching or research on race and ethnicity issues altogether because of the
incendiary nature of the topics?
These are just some of the
issues that were discussed at a seminar titled “Effective Teaching in
Racially Diverse Classrooms,” February 28 in the
Admission Office’s McKelvey Room.
The presenter, Franklin A.
Tuitt, Ph.D., has done many seminars on the subject of race in the college
classroom, as well as extensive research in the subject. This includes a
recent stint as a Cabot Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Derek
Bok Center for Teaching and Learning where he conducted a study on student
evaluations on courses taught by black and white faculty. While at Harvard,
Tuitt has also developed instructional resources for teaching effectively in
racially diverse college classrooms. He also worked as director of
residential life and housing at Wesleyan from 1991 to 1994.
"This program was a
wonderful and timely opportunity for faculty to discuss important and
complicated issues,” says Judith Brown, Vice President for Academic Affairs.
“All of us have a lot to learn about this subject from conversations with
each other and with experts in the field.”
Tuitt’s presentation for
Wesleyan faculty will focus on methods for addressing situations that can
emerge in racially diverse classrooms, as well as discussing issues that
arise when teaching race-related content. There will be opportunity for
faculty in attendance to discuss strategies, techniques and case studies
related to their own classroom experiences.
The presentation is the
latest installment of the Race in the Classroom Series that is being offered
this academic year by the Center for Faculty Career Development and the
Office of Affirmative Action. Other presentations have included:
“Stereotype Threat,” presented by Geoffrey
Cohen assistant professor of psychology from Yale University and “The
History of Whiteness,” presented by Nell Irvin
Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Princeton University.
“The presentations have
been well attended, although there is always room for more,” says Andrew
Szegedy-Maszak, professor of classical studies, Jane A. Seney Professor of
Greek, and director of the Center for Faculty Career Development.
Wesleyan staff will also be
attending mandatory specialized diversity training workshops in the coming
weeks presented by representatives from the A World of Difference Institute.
The training will be called “A Campus of Difference” and will focus on
practical skills to challenge prejudice and discrimination and foster