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Celebrating Diversity in Your Class

March 9, 2011

Gwenelle O’Neal from West Chester University suggests a strategy for celebrating diversity in any field of study.  Offer the following assignment:

(Biology, Composition, Engineering…) is a discipline that…(use course description, your statements, etc.)  This includes people of color, women and men, LGBT people, people who have overcome learning challenges, people of different cultures and religions from all over the world.  To become more aware of the diversity of this subject and the people who work in this profession, your first assignment is to research a (biologist, author, engineer…) of any of the possible groups/descriptions of people.

Bring your two-paragraph description of the person to class to present your findings.

After the presentations, lead a discussion with the following questions:  1) Were you aware of these contributors? 2) Which examples are of particular interest to you? 3) What else would you like to know about the professional examples in this field?

The exercise helps students become aware of how broad the discipline is and how much work has gone into its development.  Diverse students may see themselves in the people they are researching.  Learning the diversity of contributors may pique student interest in the field and prompt them to find out more!

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