"The goal is that right from the beginning of their time at Bridgewater, we hope these faculty members will always keep equity in the foreground of their teaching."
On a day in March, dozens of faculty members participated in a conference held via Zoom titled “Numbers for Diversity.” With a keynote speaker from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media and developed by Bridgewater State University’s Quantity Across the Curriculum group, the event’s other speakers and workshops focused on ways to engage young people on topics related to information literacy through a racially just lens.
Events and initiatives like the March conference that are devoted to ensuring racial justice and equity are integrated into every aspect of a BSU education are on the rise.
“Many of the recommendations (from the Presidential Task Force on Racial Justice) deal with increasing faculty members’ awareness about being equity minded in their teaching,” said Dr. Nicole Glen, a professor in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education and the interim associate provost for academic and faculty affairs.
Pushing this agenda forward is the Faculty Development Group, which includes representation from the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) and the Center for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship (CARS). (The Quantity Across the Curriculum group also participates.)
Seminars are offered throughout the academic year on topics such as teaching methods, syllabus construction, classroom rules and procedures, and the creation of assignments, all with an eye toward creating equitable situations for today’s students.
These seminars are led by one of the three teaching and learning faculty fellows who work in the OTL, one of whom, Dr. Castagne Lacet, associate professor in the School of Social Work, is a specially designated equity-minded pedagogy faculty fellow.
An addition to OTL offerings in January is the grouping of new and early-career faculty members into a cohort. They are meeting monthly throughout the spring semester and working to ensure that their teaching is grounded in equity-minded pedagogies. This approach, with regular meetings, allows for an ongoing discussion about issues associated with racial justice.
“The goal is that right from the beginning of their time at Bridgewater, we hope these faculty members will always keep equity in the foreground of their teaching,” Dr. Glen said.
OTL will also be offering a summer institute, Applying Personal and Professional/departmental Leadership in Equity (APPLE). Its goal is to develop faculty expertise in equity-minded leadership and provide individual support throughout the following year as faculty transform their equity ideas into equity actions.
CARS fosters and funds the development of research, scholarship and creative endeavors for faculty and librarians. The center has introduced racial-equity grants aimed at encouraging increased scholarship focused on equity-related topics. Faculty members can request up to $2,000 in reimbursement funds. Two faculty members have been awarded grants this year with support from this fund.