The Teaching and Learning Center in conjunction with the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership at Temple University in Philadelphia holds a monthly seminar for faculty members entitled, “Can We Talk? Teaching About Race and Diversity.” About 25-30 professors and administrators gather each month to share their experiences regarding issues relating to diversity on campus and in the classroom.
Pamela Bennett, associate vice provost and director of the Teaching and Learning Center, observes, “Faculty are concerned about conflict and the classroom getting out of control. They worry about what students might say and how best to respond. They’re also afraid to say the wrong things themselves.”
The goal is to prepare faculty to discuss issues of race and diversity without fear and to make such discussions a valuable part of the learning experience. “College is this amazing place where everybody comes together. They live in the dorms together, they have class together,” said Barnett. “And then to have a class where they can actually talk about this diversity under the guidance of a faculty member? We want faculty members to be able to do it well so that it can be a transformative, enriching experience for all.”