Diversity and Inclusion

My teaching, research, and mentoring are animated by the recognition that differences of race, gender, sexuality, ability, opportunity, and background are an indispensable component of the classroom and the college community. Specifically, the research that grows out of my classroom practice reflects my commitment to the idea that diversity, equity, and inclusion are on-going processes that assignment design, assessment strategies, and departmental service must foster.

In my classroom, students learn to value diversity by working collaboratively. In lieu of quizzes, students work on collaborative writing assignments. Rather than assessing individual reading comprehension, these assignments assess how well students craft written answers through conversations with one another. These assignments generate student-led discussions in which they work to include each student’s perspective in their written answers. In this way, students learn to write collectively, incorporating evidence, analysis, and arguments from all members of the class. After the class session, each student reflects individually on the process, describing his, her, or their contribution. Importantly, as Asao Inoue demonstrates, labor-based grading fosters an inclusive learning environment where student writing is assessed in relation to the work each student does as they develop writing processes. As part of my labor-based assessment strategy, students earn a grade for the writing activities through the process of reflecting on how their contributions enabled the group to generate it. As a result, students learn that diversity is a value that requires collaborative skills, listening and learning to value perspectives that may be different from their own. Currently, I am analyzing my findings from this collaborative assignment for an article about collaborative learning and antiracist assessment.

Just as labor-based grading creates more equality in the assessment of student writing, my work on the Assessment Committee at Georgia Tech is motivated by a commitment to antiracism. This spring, I led a series of workshops to help design a Student Learning Outcome dedicated to antiracism, which fellows will pilot next fall. In addition to gathering survey data from colleagues, I collated and presented the findings to the assessment committee and led a drafting workshop as we collaboratively generated outcome language. The outcome focuses on integrating student learning about their own writing processes with the idea that antiracism is an ongoing process in which students recognize their own position within systems of power as well as how these systems are embedded in historical injustices. 

Currently, the outcome appears as part of my Literature and Medicine course in which students learn how nineteenth-century British literature encodes racist ideologies that are still present today. Specifically, students learn to recognize how slavery and imperialism undergird the origins of the modern racial health gap. One assignment asks students to identify and analyze the close association of medical science and scientific racism, linking representations of “Beast Folk” in H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau to contemporaneous racial pseudoscience. In turn, students contextualize the historical racism of medical science in relation to contemporary forms of injustice in medical practice. In this way, students not only recognize racism as historical but learn the ways it continues to inform our present.