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Applications now being accepted for Diversity Infusion grants

After wondering how their statistics courses could help better prepare students for a complex and diverse world, Kirstie Doehler and Laura Taylor spent the past year trying to answer that question.

They decided that using data sets that focused for example on race and ethnicity and socioeconomic factors would help students to think more critically about the vast human experience in the context of learning statistical skills.

The Diversity Infusion grant at Elon provided them the right opportunity to integrate diversity-related group projects into their “Statistics In Application” classes. In new, multi-part group projects, students analyze diversity-related data sets on ethnicity and management and ethnicity and income and researched impact on social mobility. Doelher said both students and professors involved in these projects have increased their awareness about issues facing diverse populations.

“These class projects and the associated data sets often challenge students’ thoughts and impressions about diversity, and in some instances they require students to reflect on stereotypes,” she said. 

Angela Owusu-Ansah, Joan Barnatt and Jeff Carpenter in the School of Education were asking questions about how to ensure that their graduate students who are classrooms teachers are prepared to teach a growing Hispanic/Latino student population who already comprise 25 percent of high school students and 41 percent of minority students in the United States.

As a result of their Diversity Infusion Project, the M.Ed program added a Costa Rico summer course where these classroom teachers could work in schools and translate skills learned there back into helping ESL students at home.

"Our students report the outcome we had hoped for which was impact on instruction and increased success with Hispanic and Latino students," Owusu-Ansah said.

Over the past three years, Diversity Infusion grants have supported teams in programs and departments across the university, impacting students from the Gap Year experience to general studies to upper-level courses, said Deandra Little of Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

“The program works because faculty are the ones determining the best ways to infuse diversity in the context of their own classes, programs and discipline,” she said.

The project provides grant money for a team of colleagues to develop and apply diversity-related course content or inclusive approaches to teaching within their department’s curriculum or pedagogies. Grant winners identify evidence-based and disciplinary appropriate strategies or course materials related to diversity.

The teams then create and implement a plan to deepen diversity content and/or pedagogy in specific courses during the academic year. Teams pilot and assess their action plans and plan for modifications or extensions of their work based on those results. Fifty-nine colleagues from 15 departments across campus have taken part in the Diversity Infusion project.

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning will solicit new Diversity Infusion grants this spring. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 21.

For more information and to see past projects, visit the Center’s website.

- Article submitted by Brooke Barnett, interim associate provost for inclusive community

Eric Townsend,
1/28/2014 2:20 PM