Earlier this year, at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York, Alpha North Esports and Entertainment hosted the “Battle of the Colleges” esports tournament. Syracuse University’s Rocket League team competed in the tournament and had reached the third-place match….
New Faculty Welcomed with Conversations Integral to an Environment of Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility
Today, more than 60 faculty will participate in New Faculty Orientation hosted by the Faculty Affairs division within the Office of Academic Affairs. In addition to hearing presentations by senior leadership, the faculty will take part in “Workshop One,” a faculty-designed, three-hour workshop that focuses on identity, diversity in the learning environment, and the climate for inclusion.
“Workshop One” is part of a series of options for professional development offered to Syracuse University faculty and staff. Since students and faculty expressed a desire for increased faculty professional development opportunities related to diversity and inclusion last year, more than 7,000 people have completed training covering prevention of sexual and relationship violence, unconscious bias, micro-aggressions and discrimination.
“The University has taken and continues to take our student concerns seriously and through these offerings is further solidifying its commitment to diversity and inclusion,” says Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Keith A. Alford. “As a result, all faculty will have opportunities throughout the academic year to learn and grow.”
Specifically addressing inclusive classroom practices, “Workshop One” encourages conversation and self-reflection about key concepts emerging from considering how identity and pedagogy intersect. Most of the faculty in the orientation are entirely new to the campus. “This is an opportunity to encourage the newest members of our community to use skills and strategies they can implement immediately,” says Marie Garland, assistant provost for faculty affairs and co-leader of the workshop. Since first being developed in 2018, “Workshop One” has been offered more than 25 times to faculty from every school and college.
“Workshop One” immerses new faculty in key concepts through interactive elements. “You cannot be an effective instructor unless you understand fundamental concepts of identity and how our interactions are shaped by and affect our identities and the learning environment,” Garland says. “This is an opportunity to develop the more robust skillset that all members of our community have identified as essential.”
“When it comes to really developing faculty skills, peer-to-peer is the way to go,” says Professor Cathryn Newton, senior advisor to the Chancellor and provost for faculty engagement.
Newton has continually helped refine the workshop over the past two years by incorporating faculty feedback. “There are about a hundred faculty facilitators all over campus who worked on inclusive teaching peer-to-peer,” Newton says. “Faculty contribute tremendously to the climate of inclusion at Syracuse University.”
Faculty Affairs Specialist Angela King Taylor says the highly interactive workshop serves as a foundation for new faculty as they become acclimated with Syracuse University and its culture. “It is important that campus and, specifically, the classroom environment reflect the diversity of our students and cultivate an environment that is inclusive,” says Taylor. “There is some level of personal work that has to happen. Lectures or videos are not enough to drive inclusive classrooms. These workshops are vehicles for the deep, self-directed work that one must do.”
For faculty interested in the next session of “Workshop One,” it will be offered Friday, Sept. 11, from 1 to 4 pm. For continuing faculty who have already completed “Workshop One,” other opportunities will be held throughout the fall.
An intermediate in-person session, “Making the Most of Hot Moments in the Classroom,” will be held on Friday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon.
An advanced institute with a keynote by Professor Biko Mandela Gray will be held on Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Faculty Affairs is pleased to partner with offices and colleagues across campus both to welcome our newest faculty members and to lay a foundation for an educational experience that meets our standards of inclusive and equitable academic excellence,” says LaVonda N. Reed, associate provost for faculty affairs.
Additional online training will also be offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE). CTLE partners with individual faculty, departments, schools and colleges in making Syracuse University a welcoming place to all, says Martha Diede, director of CTLE.
“We will continue to support faculty as they make their classrooms more inclusive, equitable and accessible to our students,” Diede says.