IMPACT Live!

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  • 1.  IMPACT in Action - Racial Equity in Mathematics

    Posted 10 days ago

    At my college, we received a Title III grant to achieve racial equity. As part of this, I was invited to be on the design team for building tools to support faculty in achieving racial equity in their classrooms. What we know for sure is that faculty are at different spaces with respect to their knowledge base around racism and its effects. For example, we know that racism is often structural rather than individual acts of racism. At the same time, our students tell us that they experience microaggressions from faculty and staff at our college. Another complex idea is that racism has no biological basis yet "race" is real and a person's race affects their lived experience in powerful ways. We also know that our tendency in mathematics is to develop color-blind approaches to improving student outcomes. Yet "lift-all-ships" approaches may not do much to improve racial equity in our field.

    What are your experiences with engaging your colleagues in discussions around racial equity? What approaches have been successful in either bringing people to the table or designing strategies or practices around racial equity in mathematics?



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    [Helen] [Burn] [Ph.D.]
    [Highline College]
    [Des Moines] [WA]
    [(206) 592-3496Phone]
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  • 2.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Racial Equity in Mathematics

    Posted 9 days ago
    My college also got a grant to develop a training course for faculty on inclusive teaching. It's a 3-hour (credit) course, and as part of the grant, we are paying faculty to take it. We're basically starting with the basics and training people on racism in all its many forms, the history of it, how it affects students, inclusivity, intersectionality, microaggressions, having difficult conversations, and more. 

    We've found that you have to meet people where they are. Some people are far along and cognizant of a lot of the issues, and some have barely started. It's really the latter group we're hoping to attract by paying them to take the course. A lot of it is just educating people; some of the videos we use in the trainings are really powerful and can really open hearts to learn. I'm presenting on our work at AMATYC, and I'll have a list of the videos there.

    In our math department, we've been collecting data on how we do disaggregated by racial/ethnic groups, and we're improving, but we still have a ways to go. We struggle the most with the lowest level courses, the developmental courses, math for the liberal arts, and statistics. There's less of an issue in calculus and up. Has anyone else seen these type of results?

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    Johanna Debrecht
    Mathematics Department Chair / Assistant Professor
    Red Rocks CC / Northern VA CC
    Lakewood CO
    johanna.debrecht@rrcc.edu
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  • 3.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Racial Equity in Mathematics

    Posted 7 days ago
    Both of these grant funded efforts sound wonderful. I am curious though, Johanna, about
    • the number of faculty participating,
    • any incentive to participate other than the pay,
    • what disciplines are/were involved,
    • did you have to select participants due to too much interest or recruit faculty due to too little,
    • were materials developed, in addition to the videos you mentioned, that might be shared with other colleges and/or organizations?
    Thank you!

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    Nancy Rivers
    Secretary, AMATYC
    Wake Technical Community College, Retired
    Raleigh/Charlotte, NC
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  • 4.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Racial Equity in Mathematics

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hi Nancy, thanks for your interest in our inclusive teaching project! Here are the answers to the questions you asked:

    • the number of faculty participating,
      • There were about 10-12 of us involved in developing the course, from all across the campus: math (2), biology, astronomy, history (2), business, psychology, English, Emergency Medical Services, communications, and political science are the ones I remember offhand. It was a great cross-section of the courses we offer.
      • The people taking the course are likewise a cross-section of campus faculty. The goal is to have everyone take it, if possible. We've also had interest from staff, though the course was really designed for teaching faculty. This summer, we have about 30 people taking the course (the maximum we could fund), but I don't know how many are signed up for the fall. 
    • any incentive to participate other than the pay,
      • it looks great on your faculty goals for the year!
      • administration has been very supportive of it
    • what disciplines are/were involved,
      • see above
    • did you have to select participants due to too much interest or recruit faculty due to too little,
      • we had a lot of interest, and ended up running an extra session this summer because of it. This kind of surprised us because, well, it's summer, and this is about 7-10 hours of work per module, of which there are 5.
    were materials developed, in addition to the videos you mentioned, that might be shared with other colleges
      • I'm going to check on how to share it, but yes, we developed a LOT of material to share. It's basically a college course in diversity, equity, and inclusive teaching, but without exams. There are some assignments with various things to develop, such as writing a diversity statement for the Syllabus, writing a 2-page diversity statement for job application type things, many discussion items, reflecting on your own personal and social identity, an intersectionality assignment, developing first-day activities, inclusive teaching best practices, plus more.


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    Johanna Debrecht
    Mathematics Department Chair / Assistant Professor
    Red Rocks CC / Northern VA CC
    Lakewood CO
    johanna.debrecht@rrcc.edu
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