It's a START: Supporting Intergenerational Department Change Teams to Build Anti-racist Courses and Curricula
Like many institutions of higher education, Brown University has established an institutional imperative to address diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) on many levels, and like many centers for teaching and learning, the Sheridan Center devoted substantial resources to supporting this strategic effort through a focus on inclusive teaching and anti-racist pedagogy. While associated programs and workshops were well received by faculty participants, a review of departments' annual reports of DEI-related activities suggested that there was not deep impact at the department level. This was possibly because Center programs were largely oriented to a dissemination approach, or short workshops in departments (Henderson, Beach, and Finkelstein, 2011). Here, we describe a pivot in change strategy, to one of shared vision. Three faculty (2 STEM, 1 humanities) and three Center staff developed the Seminar on Transformation around Anti-Racist Teaching (START) Program, a longer-term educational development initiative. START aims to address all three levels of anti-racist pedagogy: (1) critical reflection of ourselves as learners and teachers, (2) course content and teaching approaches, and (3) institutional change (Kishimoto, 2018).
While teams are not new to the change literature (e.g., Kezar, Gehrke, & Bernstein-Sierra, 2019; Reinholz & Apkarian, 2018), our approach focuses on the value of intergenerational teams: faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates. Seven intergenerational department change teams are currently participating in the nine-month START program to revise a core course or modules in their department and then engage in a broader change project. The departments represent a range of programs in terms of size, discipline, and career stages (chairs, lecturers, staff, postdocs, PhD candidates, new graduate students and undergraduates at multiple levels). This presentation will offer an overview of the START application process and curriculum and -- although the first cohort is still in progress -- present preliminary outcomes.