Questioning the Syllabus
We are just days away from colleges and universities opening their respective campuses to students at various stages of their academic journey . From the poised first year student to the overwhelmed graduate student who has heard their family ask the daunting question all summer long , “ when will you be finished ? , we are back to residential learning ! Majority of the course syllabi are uploaded to their respective course management system and thousands of instructors have sent out a “ welcome to this course” email ( if you are an instructor you should send a welcome note to ease possible fears and connect with your scholars prior to the first class meeting ) .
Within these syllabi there will inevitably be countless of readings , course assignments and other projects that support the aims and scope of the course . I am interested in how these course syllabi can be used as tools for equity and inclusion . Here are a few questions that I am considering and I invite you to join me in this inquiry .
- Are the assigned reading from diverse voices and perspectives ?
- Are the case studies being used in class drawn from the well of stereotypes of minoritized folks ?
- Are the course projects framed from a place of cultural appreciation and understanding ?
- Are the guest speakers for the course from minoritized communities ?
- In what ways does the syllabus minimize stereotype threat ?
There are just some of my internal questions , I encourage every instructor to review their syllabus/syllabi to make sure it contributes to equity and inclusion .