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Ohio University supports inclusive teaching credential

Published: August 6, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Five Ohio University employees and a graduate student have been awarded the Ohio College Teaching Consortium (OCTC) Inclusive Teaching Endorsement this July.

“I am proud of every OHIO member who strived to expand on their inclusive teaching practices and completed the Ohio College Teaching Consortium’s Inclusive Teaching Endorsement during its pilot year,” Dr. Gigi Secuban, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion, said. “This certificate is just one way that we can further reach our goal of having faculty fostering student learning and success by creating educational experiences that benefit all students.”

The OCTC was founded in fall 2020 to equip higher education instructors with evidence-based teaching strategies that contribute to learning environments supporting the success of all learners, particularly first-generation students, members of under-represented groups and adult learners. 

To complete the Inclusive Teaching Endorsement, individuals must participate in at least six events, sessions or workshops and complete an endorsement reflection for each event.

Ohio University individuals who were awarded the Inclusive Teaching Endorsement, and part of 90 educators statewide, include:

  • Edmond Chang, Ph.D., assistant professor of English
  • Lori Marchese, MBA, associate professor of instruction in analytics and information systems
  • M. Geneva Murray, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Center
  • Courtney Mauck, graduate teaching assistant in English
  • MaryKathyrine Tran, M.S., assistant director of the Women’s Center
  • Thomas Stevenson, M.A., assistant professor of instruction in human consumer sciences

“Higher education is continuously changing and, more importantly, higher education practitioners have recognized that today’s modern student can no longer be supported with a one-size-fits-all approach,” Tran said. “I appreciated that this teaching endorsement allows educators to keep up with the most inclusive practices and recommendations while providing space for folks to reflect and create action plans for creating more equitable classrooms.”

“The OCTC Inclusive Teaching endorsement program is worthwhile and provides opportunities to engage a range of topics, issues, and ‘hands on’ practices,” Chang said. “It is strongest when it foregrounds speakers of color and of the very communities that need the most support. The opportunity to interact, ask questions, witness, and perhaps more importantly listen is another strength. As with most learning, the experience is cumulative and requires time and resources for reflection and integration.”

One panel that counted towards the endorsement included an Inclusive Pedagogy Academy (IPA) panel discussion, “Dirty Laundry.” The panel was hosted with faculty from OHIO, including faculty alum of the IPA.

IPA is a collaborative of the Office of Instructional Innovation’s Center for Teaching and Learning and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, with the support of two faculty co-leads. IPA’s mission is to empower faculty to maximize student learning and achievement by working with faculty to enact inclusive teaching approaches across all disciplines. 

The inaugural cohort of IPA was led by program leaders Associate Professor of Communication Studies Purba Das, Ph.D., Environmental and Plant Biology Professor and Director of the Interdisciplinary Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program Sarah Wyatt, Ph.D., and Murray. Other members included:

  • Merri Biechler, MFA, assistant professor of instruction and director, School of Theater
  • China Billotte Verhoff, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Communication Studies
  • Amy Chadwick, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Communication Studies
  • Brian Evans, MFA, associate professor and curriculum chair, School of Theater
  • Sarah Garlington, Ph.D., former assistant professor, Department of Social Work
  • Pamela Kaylor, Ph.D., associate professor of instruction, Lancaster Campus
  • Joy Shytle, MSW, assistant professor of instruction and field liaison, Department of Social Work
  • Annie Valeant, MSA, MBA, associate professor of instruction, Sports Administration
  • Sarah Webb, LISW-S, assistant professor of instruction and field liaison, Department of Social Work
  • Christina Wright, MSA, MBA, assistant professor of instruction, Sports Administration

Panelists for the Dirty Laundry discussion included Wright, Kaylor and Billotte Verhoff from the inaugural cohort, as well as Lindsay Dhanani, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology. Murray served as the moderator.

“Inclusive pedagogy is about continuous improvement. Sometimes it’s hard, complicated and messy. This panel highlighted some of the things that worked, and then the things that didn’t go so well for each of us,” Wright said. “We can learn from both successes and failures. And through our lived experiences, we hoped that we inspired others to join us on this journey of inclusive pedagogy.”

Chang, one of the faculty members to receive the OCTC Inclusive Teaching Endorsement, also attended the “Dirty Laundry” panel and was a big fan of the roundtable format and appreciated the various discussions.

“I think all of the women, including the moderator, represented a range of disciplines, teaching ranks, identities, and experiences, which allowed for different and distinct perspectives and dialogue,” Chang said. “In particular, I found the discussion how to navigate those various visible and invisible identities, when to talk about them, when to disclose or self-identify to be the most thoughtful and helpful.”

Murray noted that the teaching endorsement, as well as the IPA initiative, are important assets that create opportunities for faculty members and instructors to reflect on best practices in  teaching.

“Over the course of the last year and half, inequities that always existed in higher education, and education more broadly, have really been able to come to the forefront of people’s minds. We have been able to flex in so many ways in order to provide inclusive and productive environments for our students online,” Murray said. “While doing the endorsement as well as utilizing the resources from IPA, we are able to continue to take these opportunities to push and to keep moving. There are so many things that we are learning we can do to improve student academic success and retention, and this last year has shown us that we can really be innovative.”

Faculty members interested in being a part of IPA are encouraged to stay tuned to their website for when the selection of the new cohort begins. If OHIO faculty members are unable to participate in IPA but would like to take initial steps in improving their inclusive pedagogical practices, IPA provides resources, including checklists, recommended syllabi, and workshops as well.