Dr. Bethany Miller of Macalester College presented Forging Forward: DEI and Learning Outcomes to the JMU community on March 29, 2021. Click here for presentation notes. This presentation was sponsored by the General Education Program.

 

During summer 2021, General Education program administrators supported a faculty working group that examined diversity, equity, and inclusion in general education programs. The group submitted their preliminary findings to the General Education Council (GEC) for discussion and consideration at the September meeting, and the GEC formally accepted the report and its recommendations at the October meeting.
In October, the GEC also voted to 1) amend the General Education Program mission statement, 2) add the word ‘accessibility” to the phrase ‘diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice,’ and 3) commit to seven short-term action items (listed below) for 2021-22 while the Academic Program Review occurs.
Action Items

 I. Change the program’s language and public materials to foreground diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility as part of the core mission and goals of General Education, in tandem with Academic Affairs anti-racism and anti-discrimination efforts.

Suggested action is: updating Gen Ed website, planner, flyers, etc.

 II. Assay the current state of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility in instruction across the program.

Suggested action is: cluster-wide DEIJA audits, faculty DEIJA survey as part of the APR self-study, and by surveying faculty.

 III. Highlight existing Gen Ed courses/sections whose content substantially addresses diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility.

Suggested action is: Enable students, advisors and other stakeholders to find existing Gen Ed courses with substantial DEIJA content by inviting faculty/departments to submit voluntarily a description of how they address DEIJA.

 IV. Support curricular reform to foreground diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility.

Suggested action is: Offer the annual Gen Ed curriculum development grants to groups of faculty to revise an existing Gen Ed course for increased/improved DEIJ content or context or to propose a new experimental course.

 V. Advocate for more equitable learning environments in Gen Ed courses.

Suggested action is: in response to faculty APR survey and in collaboration with CFI, Libraries, GEC, cluster committees and Academic Affairs DEIJA stakeholders, (e.g. college diversity councils and DEI leaders) increase faculty development opportunities that specifically address inclusive pedagogies in Gen Ed classrooms.

 VI. Address institutional barriers that adversely affect traditionally marginalized or excluded faculty that teach in Gen Ed.

Suggested action is: expand access to resources that document systemic bias in student evaluations of teaching and support AUHs and PAC chairs in appropriate uses of student evaluations of teaching in faculty evaluation.

 VII. Update the campus community on progress concerning these and longer-term efforts.

Suggested action is: Publishing on the Gen Ed website and messaging to deans, AUHs and faculty, based on reporting from GEC, outcomes from the APR specific to DEIJA, and progress on longer term recommendations from the summer 2021 working group report.
JMU's Task Force on Racial Equity recommends using a comprehensive glossary of racial equity terms created by Racial Equity Tools to help the division of Academic Affairs create shared language for talking about racial issues. The General Education program supports this recommendation.

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