Summer Diversity Intern
August 25, 1999, Draft 1
Issues and Concerns
The most effective means of educating people, dispelling myths, and combating ignorance is in the classroom. While the University of Oregon offers several courses that actively promote pluralism and employs many faculty members with a commitment to diversity, there is still an overwhelming majority of both courses and faculty that do not find diversity issues relevant in the classroom. As a result taking narrowly focused courses term after term, it is not a surprise that there are a large percentage of people on this campus who donít see how diversity affects them. The ten summer interns have been working at a level way past what our pay compensates for to ensure that everyone on this campus will not only feel safe, included and respected, but will also learn about themselves in the classroom. Up until this past year I had never heard the word gay or lesbian mentioned (unless as a joke) in any course I took at this university. I was a sociology major, studying the human experience, and I never learned about this group of people. Well, I happen to be a part of this group of people, so essentially, what the university is telling me (via its curriculum) is that I donít exist. Or if I do exist, Iím not important enough to even mention in any course. Further more, neglecting to teach about gays and lesbians perpetuates the harmful (and sometimes deadly) stereotypes that exist on this campus. Now this is just my own personal example. You could substitute many words for gay and lesbian in this example. Try adding in women, people of any type of color, poor people, physically disabled people, Muslims, Jews, and I could go on and on. My point is that the curriculum is vital in creating a campus community that is respectful, inclusive, safe, and celebrates the differences between everyone.
My main concern is that once all of the interns from this summer are done and go on their way, the momentum we have generated is going to slowly fizzle out. All of our reports will hopefully be read, maybe addressed for a few months, and then put on the shelf, never to be addressed again. This is what I fear most about finishing this internship and passing on my work to some unknown. I feel that we all worked so hard this summer, put so much of our hearts and souls into this work, and it would be a shame to have our work not continue. The word diversity makes a lot of people really uncomfortable. The summer diversity interns, however, have worked miracles in educating people, dispelling peopleís misconceptions about diversity and initiating some wonderful dialogue.
By creating these summer internships the University
has taken the first step towards joining the ranks of enlightened universities
all over the country. As a group, we have accomplished much in just three
short months, and it canít stop here. From our work the University is starting
in the fall one step ahead. We have done the grunt work and now all that
needs to be done is following through. Through our work we have paved the
way to creating an environment free of hate. An environment where people
of all genders, races, sexual orientations, classes, religions, ethnicities,
sexes, abilities, etc. are welcomed, respected and celebrated. An essential
step, bringing us so much closer to a hate free campus environment, is
by changing the curriculum (the mere words seem to send people running).
Like I mentioned above, the curriculum has the power to normalize every
difference. If gays and lesbians or people with physical disabilities were
casually incorporated into course curriculum, people would not view them
so much as the "other." The curriculum has the power to combat ignorance,
the single largest cause for hate crimes. Please take control, and keep
the momentum going so that the University of Oregon can one day be a safe
place for everyone.
I. Online Internet research
II. Library Research
a) Knight Library
b) Womenís Center Library
c) Multicultural Center Library
d) Counseling Center Library
III. Contacts. I met with students, faculty, administration and staff, exchanging ideas and getting feedback. The following were my faculty, administration and staff contacts:
b) Troy Franklin, Assistant dean in the Office of Student Life. My mentor. (firstname.lastname@example.org, 346-1139)
c) Carla Gary, Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and University Advocate. (email@example.com, 346-3479)
d) Stephanie Carnahan, Assistant Dean, Office of Student Life. (346-1134)
e) Mia Tuan, Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department. (firstname.lastname@example.org 346-5002)
f) Anne Leavitt, Associate Vice-Provost of Student Academic Affairs. (email@example.com, 346-1129)
g) Dave Hubin, Executive Associate President. (firstname.lastname@example.org, 346-3037)
h) Betsy Wheeler, Professor in English Department. (email@example.com)
i) Lorraine Davis, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org 346-2041)
j) Jack Rice, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. (email@example.com, 346-3005)
k) Karen Sprague, Professor in Biology and Process for Change.
l) Tom Hager, Director of Office of Communications. (346-3131)
m) Margaret Hallock, Director of Labor Education and Research Center. (346-5054)
n) Randy Choy, Assistant Director/Academic advisor in Office of Multicultural Affairs. (firstname.lastname@example.org, 346-3479)
o) Nathan Tublitz, Professor in Biology. (tublitz@email@example.com, 346-4510)
p) Wylie Chen, ASUO President
q) Larry Smith, Director of Career Center. (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
IV. Information Gathered
When I first began this internship my goals were to get a multi-perspective course started, change the course evaluations, reevaluate the courses which satisfy the multicultural course requirement, and get an insert into the Schedule of Classes that would highlight the multicultural courses. Well, what I found out after a lot of footwork is the following:
a) To start a new course first a professor must be found who is willing to add to her/his busy schedule the responsibility of teaching another course. Then it must begin either as a freshmen seminar (199) or an experimental upper division course (410). After three term, the professor teaching the course can ask to have it made part of the curriculum, and that decision could take a year or more to make. Basically what I learned with curriculum changes is that they take years and people are very hesitant and resistant to even think about them.
b) The multicultural satisfying courses are set in stone. There is no taking away from or adding to the list.
c) The course evaluations are at a time of
transition right now where the software has to be modernized. Also they
are looking to make one standardized evaluation form for all departments.
At a time of these two changes, it is a perfect opportunity to add in some
diversity evaluating questions, since there are making the changes anyway
(no one can argue about cost).
d) The insert, or any other means of highlighting courses in a University publication is unfair. Other departments will feel left out or cheated (not happy that diversity is getting attention and being addressed?). No one will fund this or do this.
A. Course Evaluations
I. A common course evaluation to be used by each department. This standard evaluation will include the 2 required questions, the 2 new questions approved by senate in 1998, a blank space for professors/departments to add their own, and questions evaluating the following criteria:
a) The professor's commitment to diversity by examining if s/he presented broad view of the material presented throughout the course to assure points of view other than the instructor's own.
b) The breadth of the professor
c) The extent to which the professor engaged each student in an equal manner.
d) The curriculum's commitment to diverse issues within the context of the course's content.
e) The curriculum's commitment to including every aspect of a particular subject.
II. A committee made up of faculty, administration
and students to create this new evaluation form. A sample of all current
course evaluation questions should be taken to compile the new form. A
GTF could be hired to help compile this.
III. The College of Business and Administration evaluation form [attached] is a good model that can be adapted for institutional wide use.
IV. A pilot instrument be developed during the fall term of 1999 and then used winter and spring 2000 to test it with departments volunteering. A GTF could be hired to sample all of the evaluations and compile a test evaluation, including the four required questions. This test form could then be presented to the committee and further discussed. The pilot instrument should be given to all departments with the request that they evaluate the relevancy of each question. The GTF would then take this feedback and revise the form. This gives each department a voice, therefore making them less resistant to the change.
V. The evaluations should be distributed in the classroom. Students are at least five years away from all using the web. By administering the evaluations over the web the participation rate will decrease dramatically. In addition, the forms should be distributed during the first fifteen minutes of the last class period. This prevents students from scribbling something in 5 minutes so that they can leave early. The participation rate will increase and the accuracy of the results will improve.
VI. A method must be developed to get the evaluation results to students, faculty, departments and administration. The web would be a good avenue for this because those wanting to see the results will take it upon themselves to do so. The web, in this case, is a very accessible method to do this. There is currently no system in place to distribute the results and past attempts have failed because the numerical results are hard to understand.
VII. A budget proposal should be developed immediately for the provost and computing center so that new software can be purchased to do this. Included in this proposal must be costs for printing materials. If this is done without delay, the evaluations will be ready for testing by winter 2000. The evaluations are greatly in need of a change. To merely fix the software so that it can accommodate the 2 questions approved by senate and make it through the Y2K disaster would be nothing more than a band-aide solution. Since new software is already necessary, I propose getting to the heart of the problem by revising the content of the evaluations altogether.
VIII. Academic departments need to be strongly
urged to look at the results, not so much to evaluate individual faculty,
but to be used to improve their curriculum. This way, the content of courses
can be monitored to make sure that it offers a broad view of the material
presented in each class. This duty could be added to the responsibilities
of the already existing curriculum committees in each department. Another
way to do this is to employ a GTF from each department to be part of an
evaluation committee that informs the departments of the results. Which
ever way is chosen, the important factor is that the evaluation results
be taken seriously and used as a means for change. Course evaluations are
the most effective means the university has of getting feedback from students.
It is important for the university to use this information and take care
of the weaknesses that are reported. As of now, this is a very under-utilized
strength within the university. There are currently no procedures that
assure that departments use the course evaluations to evaluate the curriculum
I. Web Page
a) Develop a quick link to diversity issues, including courses that deal with diversity issues, from the university's main homepage. Tom Hagar, along with Dave Hubin and Jason Mak, will work to make the diversity web more accessible.
b) Diversity is currently a "hot topic" within society. The more education and exposure people receive, the more it will help to create a safe and inclusive campus environment. In order to attract a diverse community to the University of Oregon, there must be more of a commitment to making the existing community a welcoming environment. The web is a useful forum for creating dialogue. Once a week some issue related to diversity should be featured under the News or Featured Web Pages section of the university's homepage. This will help to put the topic of diversity into the community, thereby making it a daily part of everybody's lives.
c) Each department should be strongly urged to create a link on their individual homepages to the web site (off of duck hunt) that lists the courses satisfying the multicultural requirement. This website lists the courses being offered for a particular term. The web site address is: http://www-vms.uoregon.edu/~bnrserve/99f/require/index.html
II. Written Publications
We are not yet at a time where one hundred percent of the population is online. Therefore it is important to use written publications just as much as the World Wide Web. The Oregon Daily Emerald, The Eugene Weekly, The Register Guard and The Oregonian should be asked to write articles every month or so about diversity issues. An add can be placed in the Oregon Daily Emerald every term highlighting multicultural courses or even just giving the web site address where a list could be found. There are also independent publications such as The Siren, Just Out, The Oregon Voice, The Oregon Peaceworker, etc. which could be asked to write articles as well. Issues dealing with diversity need to become part of everyday life for this campus community. Written publications are one way to reach large amounts of people. If these issues are presented in a "current events" manner, they can then be easily incorporated into the classroom. Professors should be strongly urged to talk about these issues, but they cannot do so without some sort of conflict resolution training.
C. Multi-Perspective Course
I. The development of a multi-perspective educational course would promote pluralism through the curriculum. At this point the university offers no course in the regular curriculum which addresses issues of social and cultural diversity. Such a course could incorporate gender, sexual orientation, ability, class, race, and so much more into one all-inclusive course. Stephanie Carnahan (Office of Student Life) taught similar courses at the University of Oregon in the winter of 1998 under the course number/title EDPM 199, Social Diversity in Education, and again in the winter of 1999 under the course number/title, Soc. 199, Social Identity and Oppression. Both courses were very successful (see evaluations) and worked to promote diversity and understanding of all groups. I propose a course, based on the two taught by Stephanie, to be offered starting spring of 2000. This time I believe it should be offered as a 410 level sociology course, so that more people could take it. After running as a 410 course for three terms, and assuming the popularity is significant, this course should be offered as a regular part of the University of Oregon's curriculum. The University has showed a strong commitment to diversity with these ten summer internships, but action must be taken. The administration should find either a professor or a GTF (with a professor acting as an advisor) to begin preparing for this course beginning in the spring of 2000. It would be a 10-week course, with a graded option. The University needs to continue to show its commitment to these issues, and organizing this course is a proactive way of dispelling ignorance. A GTF would be the most cost-efficient way of running this course, but a faculty member with a relative concentration must be an advisor. Since this course has already been tested there is no risk involved. Diversifying the curriculum is essential when creating a safe, respectful and inclusive campus community. If more people took a course such as the one I am proposing, the ignorance, which is rampant in our community, would decrease dramatically.
II. Sample Syllabus and Course Description (taken from SOC 199, taught by Stephanie Carnahan winter 1999. See Social Diversity in Education, instructor's manual.)
a) Course Description. This multi-perspective educational course focuses upon issues of social identity, social and cultural diversity, and societal manifestations of oppression. It draws upon interdisciplinary perspectives of social identity development, social learning theory, and sociological analyses of power and privilege within social contexts. Lectures, presentations, readings and discussions use developmental and sociological concepts to analyze social identity formation, social group differences, intergroup relations, and levels and types of oppression. The content of this course will promote an understanding of oppression in relation to gender, race, sexual orientation, religion and physical/mental disability [any group can be substituted]. This course is based on an educational approach, which integrates cognitive development with the experiential aspects of social learning. This approach encourages students to interact personally with the information and perspectives presented.
Week 1: Introductions and Conceptual Framework: Introduce concepts such as social identity and social group membership, privilege, power differentials for favored and targeted social groups, and commonalties among various forms of oppression.
Weeks 2 and 3: Gender and Sexism: Gender socialization and sex roles, peer harassment, media's role in perpetuating roles, myths and stereotypes, and personal, institutional and cultural oppression. Include videos (see list).
Weeks 3 and 4: Race and Racism: Conscious and unconscious forms of racism, myths and stereotypes, false and missing information see in historical context, and personal, institutional and cultural oppression. Include videos (see list).
Weeks 5 and 6: Sexual Orientation and Heterosexism: Myths, misinformation, heterosexism and homophobia, historical context, movement for empowerment, roles for allies and personal, institutional and cultural oppression. Include videos (see list).
Weeks 6 and 7: Parallels and Interconnections: Connections among issues discussed thus far. Application to personal experiences and observations. Include videos which include examples of oppression of several groups (see list).
Week 8 and 9: Religion and Religious Persecution: Role of religion as social identity, examples of oppression (anti-Semitism), historical precedents and contexts, and personal, institutional and cultural oppression. Include videos (see list).
Week 9 and 10: Physical and Mental Ability and Ableism: As and ingredient of social identity, stereotypes and myths, misinformation, and personal, institutional and cultural oppression. Include videos (see list).
Week 10: Visions of the Future: Reflection on learnings, taking the other person's social and cultural perspective, recognizing levels and types of oppression and developing a repertory of personal strategies and interventions: classroom and residence hall situations, interpersonal strategies, personal responsibility, building bridges and forming alliances.
c) Audio-Visual Resource List:
* The Arab Experience
* Bloodlines and Bridges: The African Connection (African Americans and the African continent)
* Chain of Tears (child victims of apartheid)
* Children of Apartheid
* A Great Wall (Chinese-Americans visit relatives in China)
* Heritage: Civilization and the Jews (9 parts from 3500 BC to present)
* Hopi: Songs of the Fourth World
* Ida B. Wells
* The Killing Fields (Cambodian holocaust)
* Killing Us Softly I, II, III (advertising and body image)
* Men's Lives
* Montgomery to Memphis (non-violent movement with MLK during bus boycott)
* Once upon her time (American women of all ages)
* Other Faces of AIDS (AIDS in minority communities)
* The Outsiders (class conflicts)
* Pink Triangles (myths about LGB people and bigotry)
* Soap Box (teen panel discusses racism)
* Throwing Our Weight Around (large women)
* We Shall Overcome (explores events leading to Civil Rights Movement)
* A Class Divided
* Japanese American Internment
* We Are Family (Queer Parenting)
* Out At Work
* All In the Family (gay stereotyping, parents of LGB people and homophobia)
* Before Stonewall
* The Incredibly True Story of Two Girls In Love (coming out in high school)
* Speaking for Ourselves: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Youth
* A&E Special: Transgender Revolution
* When Democracy Works (Intolerance of all types and against all people)
* Painful Reminder
* The Rhetoric of Intolerance (exposes misinformation of the Christian Right)
* Blurring the Lines
* The Brandon-Tina Story (transgender murder victim)
* The Way Home (women of all races)
* Skin Deep
* In Whose Honor
* Who Killed Vincent Chin
* Eye of the Storm
* Ethnic Notions
* True Colors (consumer racism)
* Family Name (Greg Alston)
* Backlash (race and the "American Dream")
d) At the very minimum this course would require one GTF who has had previous teaching experience and would be willing to go to a seminar or workshop about conflict resolution. The University must make it a priority to create a position for a GTF with this course. The University of Oregon is one of the few schools that do not offer a course in pluralism. The University of California branches at Berkeley and San Diego offer wonderful diversity courses that deal with the broad spectrum of many groups in one class.
I am very proud of the work that all of the interns have done. We have
continued to work hard even when faced with the reality that all of our
work could be for nothing, with no one to continue it once we leave. The
job we were given takes years, not three months. It is unreasonable to
think that we could have made any great institutional changes over the
summer, but we did everything we could possible do to get the University
to that point. We created dialogue in every avenue of the University of
Oregon. We spoke to students, faculty members, administration and staff
on a daily basis. Creating a safe, inclusive and respectful campus community
is an enormous task, but one that can be accomplished with everyoneís help.
Networking is key. The more people there are working on these issues the
more likely it is that we will see changes. The University has proactively
sought change by creating these ten internships, but it doesnít end there.
Without a commitment to continuing our work, whether itís through more
interns, GTFs, or creating new staff positions, the University will have
wasted $1,500 this summer, because without anyone to carry on my work it
is sure to fizzle away to its place on someoneís bookshelf. If I had to
guess there are a few other interns who need someone to carry on their
work or else it will all have been a waste of time. I know that the University
cares a lot about these issues, and now itís only a matter of making safety
and respect a priority on this campus.
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