Congratulations to Wagner College philosophy professor Sarah K. Donovan, a co-editor of two books published this week by Rowman & Littlefield, an independent scholarly publishing house:
- “Teaching through Challenges for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)”
- “Breaking Down Silos for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): Teaching and Collaboration across Disciplines”
Donovan’s co-editors on both books were Stephanie L. Burrell Storms, associate dean and associate professor of multicultural education at Fairfield University, and Theodora P. Williams, associate professor emerita of human resource management at Marygrove College.
Colleges and universities cannot ignore the increasingly diverse student population in their classrooms, and how a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion across disciplines trains students in the intercultural awareness they will need in competitive job markets. Yet while faculty may be aware of a need to understand EDI goals in relationship to their disciplines, and institutions may support EDI in theory, the onus of pedagogical training in EDI often falls on individual faculty. This book was written by faculty and administrators for educators who value the goals of EDI, and seek an intellectual community to help them develop their practice. Important to this book is an honest discussion of common challenges faculty may face when they engage in this difficult work, and effective strategies for addressing those challenges. The chapters are grouped according to six different themes: respect for divergent learning styles; inclusion and exclusion; technology and social action; affective considerations; reflection for critical consciousness; and safe spaces and resistance.
“Teaching through Challenges for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion” is a necessary text for any educator committed to integrating EDI goals into their classroom. By addressing the challenges presented by teaching EDI, the authors acknowledge the tensions associated with this work, and offer effective and practical strategies for these challenges. In addition, the authors include topics that enlarge our thinking about EDI, such as the relationship between technology and social action, and ways in which archival research and community engagement can help students to learn about historical and contemporary aspects of literacy. This book is a significant addition to the literature on teaching equity, diversity, and inclusion, and will have a lasting impact on the field.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) goals have traditionally been seen as either an effort to be managed by the administration, or as something a faculty member could choose — or not — to focus on. In the twenty-first century, EDI goals are increasingly front and center across disciplines as educators prepare students for success in a diverse world. It is in this milieu, that this book was written. Each chapter in this book is designed for use by instructors and administrators in higher education who believe that the goals of EDI should be integrated into the classroom experience. The chapters are grouped around five central themes that challenge the structure of a traditional classroom in order to promote goals related to EDI: faculty collaboration, creative approaches to faculty and student resistance to EDI goals, institution-wide initiatives, community engagement, and the use of first-person autobiography and storytelling in the classroom.
Several chapters in “Breaking Down Silos” were co-authored by Wagner College faculty members.
Sarah Donovan and her co-editors, Storms and Williams, co-authored two chapters:
- “Breaking Down Silos,” the first chapter, and
- “Managing Your Own Socio-Emotional Landscape,” which addresses the “messiness” sometimes associated with teaching in the classroom about equity, diversity and inclusion.
A chapter entitled “Teaching About Institutional Discrimination and Personal Responsibility” was co-authored by Amy Eshleman, Jean Halley and Victoria Felix. Eshleman is a psychology professor at Wagner College. Halley, a former Wagner College sociology professor, is currently professor of sociology at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Felix, a 2012 graduate of Wagner College, is a counseling psychologist who teaches at Wagner. They write, “Educators who seek to challenge students to think critically about equity, diversity and inclusion should anticipate that students are likely to be uncomfortable with, and even resistant to, learning about the injustice that has created inequality, homogeneous institutions and exclusion.”
Another chapter was co-authored by Donovan and Wagner College Spanish professor Margarita Sánchez. The chapter, “Using Interdisciplinary Intersections to Promote Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,” “offers strategies and practices for utilizing experiential learning, broadly defined, to integrate disciplines while embedding equity, diversity and inclusion into the curriculum.”