Racial Equity & Diversity

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) should always be the goal of teaching at Seattle Colleges and creating spaces inclusive of all students including students of color, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, low-income students, and undocumented and first-generation Americans. We also must recognize that in our efforts for diversity and inclusion students fall into intersectional identities, meaning they can carry multiple oppressions with them at the same time. 

Critical pedagogy advocates and offers solutions to focus on DEI in the classroom. The central arguments of critical pedagogy are that we focus on students as co-learners, meaning that the process of teaching is a conversation rather than a top-down approach. Giving students choices in materials to engage with, having them bring in their experience and communities into the classroom, and allowing for assessment that builds on their personal goals, are all ways to build in critical pedagogy into your own teaching. The core of critical pedagogy is the work of Paulo Freire, specifically his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which is available here in English or in its original Portuguese here. Broadly speaking using Universal Design principles, incorporating authentic assessment strategies, incorporating diverse representation of the field, and scholarship engaged in the course, are areas to get started for ways to increase DEI in a course. Instructional designers can work with you to review your courses for DEI. 

In a step further toward better inclusion for all students, we also advocate for anti-racist practices in teaching, which specifically address the systematic racism that exists in our classrooms. Being anti-racist to put it simply is the opposite of being racist. Rather than thinking about yourself or teaching being “not racist”, anti-racism argues being not racist is impossible because of the privileges that exist for certain people and the systematic racism and oppression that exists in all institutions. Being anti-racist is holistic and cannot be solved simply by making a few minor changes. Anti-racist work requires considering the big picture of your teaching style and materials. It also requires the recognition that you cannot change the institution nor society, but in the classroom, you are able to make changes that push us toward being anti-racist as an institution. To learn more about anti-racism and for key resources, we suggest this TED Talk by Ibram X. Kendi the author of How to be an Antiracist. For where to start as an educator we suggest this resource from Wheaton College.  

Suggested Reading