Members of the College Board of Advisors hosted an Equity Summit for First-Year Seminar instructors.
On August 5, and as a next step to the community town halls on strengthening the bonds of racial justice, Matthew Grimes '12 and Jessica Coles (pictured below with President Gibson) co-hosted a workshop for First-Year Seminar faculty and staff.
The Equity Summit, held on campus in Roger Bacon Hall, discussed coded language in academia and deficit ideology. The faculty participated in a "values auction" in which they bid, using a fixed budget, on 15 different values. Grimes and Coles also led the faculty in an identity simulation designed to put faculty and staff in the shoes of a first generation Latino student to better understand the situations that student may face on a daily basis on the Siena campus.
The exercises explored how values and identities shape assumptions and impact interactions. The facilitators also shared ways faculty can promote equity and anti-racism in their syllabi.
“Especially as a Black academic teaching at Siena, I want my colleagues to feel prepared. Equity work and anti-racism starts with each individual. My colleagues should have the tools to navigate every situation. I really believe learning opportunities like these will make the Siena experience a better one for all students."
Jessica Coles, adjunct instructor and Equity Summit co-leader
"Effective teachers are first and foremost lifelong learners. They constantly seek to deepen their knowledge and improve their methodologies to better facilitate student learning and success. Throughout the Equity Summit, Jess and Matt provided a number of effective pedagogical tools that will help FYS professors lean in to the discomfort involved in facilitating courageous conversations. Discussions about the lack of equity in the world, in American society, and on our own campus are so vital. We deeply appreciate Jess and Matt sharing their expertise as we all endeavor to become more actively anti-racist and culturally proficient."
Britt Haas, Ph.D., co-director of First Year Seminar