Questions for Faculty Dialogue on Diversity and Learning
These questions are designed to provide a starting point for dialogue about learning goals in a diverse society.
What kinds of diversity knowledge do students need in the contemporary world? How well do we foster this kind of knowledge?
- How well does our curriculum teach about diverse groups in U.S. history and society? Do we provide comparative perspectives on U.S. diversity? Experiential knowledge of U.S. diversities? Knowledge of students' own communal traditions? Knowledge of at least one "non-Western" world culture? Comparative study of multiple world cultures?
- How well do we prepare students for civic engagement and social responsibility? Do we provide knowledge of social issues such as bias, stratification, and discrimination? Knowledge of social values, conceptions of justice, and/or institutions that support pluralism and majority and minority rights in a democracy? Knowledge of the role played by women and minorities in expanding the meaning and application of U.S. values and constitutional principles?
- How well do we relate diversity knowledge to students' majors or vocations? Do we provide information about cultural diversity and/or equity issues in health professions, social services, teaching, business and industry, science and technology, history, government, the arts, etc.?
- What are the implications of diversity for organizing work in different fields or disciplines? Do we prepare students to negotiate difference in intercultural work contexts? Do we prepare them to work with people from different cultural backgrounds?
What developed abilities help students respond to cultural diversity and difficult differences? How well does our curriculum foster these abilities?
- Does our curriculum require that students consider the implications of diverse worldviews, perceptions, values, and institutions? Do students integrate knowledge of diverse worldviews and perspectives into analyses or interpretations? Do they develop arguments, hypotheses, research, and/or action projects that take account of significantly diverse experiences and perspectives? Do we encourage students to rethink values in light of experiences with societal diversity?
- Do we provide opportunities for students to organize work and solve problems in diverse groups? To acquire second languages? To acquire a voice about one's own perspectives? To gain skills in listening and empathy? To engage in dialogue across difference? To make value choices in the face of difference?
What values and dispositions help graduates contribute to the success of a diverse democracy? Does our curriculum address these values and dispositions?
- Does our curriculum encourage tolerance for difference? Opposition to intolerance and discrimination? Respect for religious pluralism? A willingness to reexamine one's own assumptions? An inclination to cross boundaries, learn from diverse perspectives, and seriously consider alternative worldviews? Taking responsibility for attending to social or community problems?
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