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Emerson Faculty Members Complete Inclusive Excellence Program

The Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellows welcomed an additional 21 members this May, bringing the total number who have participated in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s annual program to 104, more than 20 percent of Emerson’s faculty population.

Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Sylvia Spears launched the Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellows in 2013 with Lori Beth Way, former senior advisor for undergraduate education. “When I was teaching at the University of Rhode Island, I was fortunate to have participated in a Multicultural Faculty Fellows Program,” Spears said. “It was so meaningful to my faculty colleagues and me that I was determined to make a similar program available to Emerson faculty.”

Spears and Robert Amelio, director of diversity and inclusive excellence, continue to offer the Fellows each summer with the goal of facilitating a space for faculty to examine inclusive instructional practice as well as tools for infusing diversity into course content and curriculum.

This year’s program ran May 17–19 and included readings on best practices in teaching and learning; small- and large-group discussion topics ranging from implicit bias to leading difficult conversations; a panel with students who shared their experiences in Emerson classrooms; a panel of former Fellows who shared ways they’ve engaged with diversity and difficult moments in their courses; and a round-table resource lunch with representatives from the Iwasaki Library, Violence Prevention and Response, the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, and Student Accessibility Services.

“This is one of the few times faculty from the various disciplines come together for three days to learn from us and each other,” Robert Amelio said when asked why the program continues to be so successful. Each year, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion receives more applications than slots available. Amelio attributes this to the commitment of faculty to learn about inclusive teaching strategies and student calls for intercultural fluency among faculty.

Tulasi Srinivas, associate professor of anthropology in the Institute, recommends the program.

“Sylvia and Robert facilitated a breakthrough program about teaching and learning with passion and compassion. They allowed me to learn from my peers, my faculty fellows, from their stories of courage and failure, of experiments and successes. I learnt of them and from them and for that I am grateful,” she said.

Assistant Professor Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann from Writing, Literature and Publishing said, “Through the student panel and the classroom scenarios we troubleshooted, I was saddened to learn many of the ways that students of color, international students, and other students marginalized at Emerson regularly experience disrespect and disregard in their classrooms.

“Sylvia Spears and Robert Amelio were extraordinary guides for faculty encountering these experiences and provided research and educational strategies for preventing, confronting, and healing indignities in the classroom,” Gonzalez Seligmann said.

Spears and Amelio have already committed to running the Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellows program in May 2017, and are also considering programs they can develop for previous years’ Fellows to deepen their inclusive pedagogical practices.

2016 Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellows:

Agaptus Anaele, assistant professor, Marketing Communication

Lindsay Beamish, assistant professor, Performing Arts

Israela Brill-Cass, affiliated faculty, Communication Studies

Angela Chang, affiliated faculty, Institute

Tom Cooper, professor, Visual and Media Arts

Colleen Fullin, affiliated faculty, Writing, Literature and Publishing

Nigel Gibson, associate professor, Institute

Jeremy Heflin, ELL instructor and coordinator, Communication Studies

Cate Hirschbiel, outreach coordinator/reference librarian, Iwasaki Library

Donald Hurwitz, senior executive-in-residence, Marketing Communication

Tom Kingdon, associate professor, Visual and Media Arts

De-nin Lee, assistant professor, Visual and Media Arts

Anthony Lowrie, associate professor and undergraduate program director, Marketing Communication

Rhiannon Luyster, assistant professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Jennifer Porst, lecturer, Visual and Media Arts

Melinda Robins, associate professor and graduate program director, Journalism

Erin Schwall, affiliated faculty, Performing Arts

Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann, assistant professor, Writing, Literature and Publishing

Maureen Shea, associate professor, Performing Arts

Tulasi Srinivas, associate professor, Institute

Seounmi “Katie” Youn, associate professor, Marketing Communication

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