Six faculty recognized for improving diversity in curriculum

Group of award winners with provost

Six faculty members were honored on Nov. 19 at the third annual Provost’s Diversity in the Curriculum awards, which recognizes faculty who have taught a modified course or revised curricula to strengthen diversity and inclusion, resulting in changes of impact.

“There’s a wealth of literature which suggests that serious engagement in diversity in the curriculum, connected with classroom and outside the classroom experiences positively affects students’ awareness and attitudes toward diversity,” said Paula Davis, assistant vice chancellor for health sciences diversity in the School of Health Sciences, in her keynote speech. One study, she said, showed that exposure to ethnic studies translates into positive personal growth, sense of purpose, recognition of racism and participation in volunteer activities.

“I’m very fond of saying that when it comes to diversity and inclusion, unless you act with intent, you have done nothing,” she said. “Each and every one of the faculty being honored here today have taken intentional steps to focus on diversity and inclusion in their courses, knowing the value it holds for their students.”

The awards, which are sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the University Center for Teaching and Learning, went to:

  • Karen Gilmer, lecturer and costume designer, Department of Theatre Arts, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences: Gilmer developed a course featuring the history of the African-American experience as told through African-American playwrights, directors and casts.

  • Tuangtip Klinbubpa-Neff, associate professor of English Literature, Pitt–Johnstown: Klinbubpa-Neff — whose research interests include translation and American, world and multiethnic literature — received the award for redesigning several courses to incorporate more diverse, non-Western authors, as well as student-centered teaching techniques.

  • Lori Delale-O’Connor, research assistant professor and associate director of research, Center for Urban Education, School of Education: Delale-O’Connor was recognized for her redesign of a course to connect qualitative research to issues of race, power and anticolonialism.

  • Kevin Binning, assistant professor of Psychology
  • Erica McGreevy, lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences
  • Chandralekha Singh, professor and director, Discipline-based Science Education Research Center, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The three faculty members from the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences were together recognized for incorporating into introductory courses a new “belonging intervention,” which resulted in improved grades for all students. Using a random assignment of classrooms to enable assessment, the intervention aimed to address gender and racial gaps; it is now part of the standard curriculum in the classes in which it was introduced.

“The intervention has had a measurable impact and, anecdotally, has received glowing praise from instructors and students who receive it,” Charles Perfetti, director of the Learning Research and Development Center, where Binning is a research scientist, said in @Pitt. “It is truly an effective means to boost equity and inclusion at Pitt.”

— Susan Jones


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