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Engaging Students Around Diversity and Social Justice (Loop)

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DePaul Center Room 11013

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Undergraduate years are a time for cultural exploration and self reflection, and university classrooms are ideal environments for engaging students around oppression, privilege, and social justice. While these topics help students learn more about themselves and their world, engaging them is not always easy, and there are many possible barriers to successful social justice education. Furthermore, in line with the theme of this conference, successfully teaching these topics depends on constant assessment of students’ learning and adapting the course in response.


Drawing on the literature as well as their own experiences teaching topics related to diversity and social justice, the presenters have identified several themes of focus for this session:

(1) Designing the course; (2) Creating a safe space; (3) Working with a diverse student body;

(4) Staying current on current events; (5) Responding to unexpected opinions and comments;

(6) Understanding our roles; and (7) Managing our own expectations.

Through these themes, presenters will help the audience members gain skills and knowledge as well as practice creating contexts and curricula that value student diversity and engage issues of social justice.


Upon completing this session, participants will:

1) become more familiar with diversity and social justice curricula

2) identify the importance of organizing classroom activities in an educational progression

3) practice different ways of responding to student comments and controversial discussion in the classroom

4) explore their own roles with respect to facilitating diversity and social justice activities


Presented by Olya Glantsman (College of Science and Health) and Elizabeth McConnell (College of Science and Health, Psychology)

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