How do you teach a racist text?

HASTAC is a great resource for teaching and learning in the digital age.

A recent blog post by HASTAC director Cathy Davidson tackles the topic of how to teach, in a responsible way, texts that have racist content.  Davidson shares her experience in a graduate class she’s teaching, Teaching Race and Gender Theory in the Undergraduate Classroom.  This topic is important for all teachers.  If you want to teach at a teaching-intensive institution, you need to be aware that the student population tends to be more racially diverse than at an elite private college or a flagship state university.  Many doctoral programs do not train students to think about who their undergraduate students will be, or how to teach in a culturally competent way, a way that takes into account the perspectives and needs of a range of students.  This post offers some good teaching ideas for  teaching difficult material.


Non-traditional and first-gen students need different kinds of support

Many of the students you will be teaching in community colleges and regional public institutions, and, indeed, an increasing proportion of college students in all institutions, are non-traditional students. These students are likely to be over 24, to be employed, to have children and/or dependent relatives, and to be attending college part-time or off and on.


Here are some tips for supporting those students, and some useful links to more information, so as to keep them enrolled and make sure they’re successful.  Take a look.


Combining Teaching and Research


In 2009, Quentin Vicens and Philip E. Bourne offered timeless advice to those of us at four-year institutions where we do both teaching and research.  Unlike community colleges, regional comprehensive institutions and small private colleges with four-four teaching loads expect that our faculty will have active research agendas that mesh well with their teaching responsibilities.  It can be difficult to learn to balance the workload, but it’s really rewarding to find ways to make your research feed your teaching and your teaching feed your research.  Vicens and Bourne come at the question from the sciences, but their tips can help faculty members in any field.


Take a look at their article and think about how it might be translatable for you.  Here are their Ten Simple Rules to Combine Teaching and Research:


Rule 1: Strictly Budget Your Time for Teaching and for Doing Research

Rule 2: Set Specific Teaching and Research Goals

Rule 3: “Don’t Reinvent the Wheel”

Rule 4: Don’t Try To Explain Everything

Rule 5: “Be Shameless in Bringing Your Research Interests into Your Teaching”

Rule 6: Get the Most in Career Advancement from Bringing Your Research into Your Teaching

Rule 7: Compromise, Compromise, Compromise

Rule 8: Balance Administrative Duties with Your Teaching and Research Workload

Rule 9: Start Teaching Early in Your Career

Rule 10: Budget Time for Yourself, Too

Rural poverty and first-gen students

This essay by a student at the University of Kentucky tells of the culture of poverty faced by students at many rural teaching-intensive institutions. 
The Cross-Sector Partnership, which runs the annual Teaching at Teaching-Intensive Institutions event in New England, doesn’t address the situations of students like Leslie, who usually attend college in their own regions. But first-generation college students face a range of situations at home that make it difficult for them to make the most of their college experience. We owe it to our students to learn about the challenges they face outside the classroom, so we can help them to make the most of what they get on our campuses.

U of Washington trains doctoral students for community college careers


Rachel Arteaga, writing in, discusses the University of Washington’s Mellon Foundation-funded program to link six humanities doctoral students with faculty mentors at community colleges.  It’s a tiny program, but it’s significant in that a research university is devoting resources to preparing its doctoral students for careers serving the majority of the nation’s college students where they are — at teaching-intensive institutions.


The Mellon Foundation funds only humanities-related programs, so there is still much to do, at Washington and everywhere else, to get science, social science, and other doctoral programs to step up to their responsibilities to educate doctoral students about their career opportunities as teachers.  At the spring meeting of the northeast regional Council of Graduate Schools, NSF reps expressed enthusiasm for in such support.  Let’s find ways to make programs like UW’s the norm, rather than the exception, in all doctoral fields.


Students, poverty, and being home for the holidays

This Washington Post piece describes the disconnect between life at an elite college and life back at home for a student from an economically distressed family.  
Many students at teaching-intensive colleges and universities return home between semesters to  circumstances very different from their lives on campus.  But some of our commuter students live every day in such circumstances, too.  One of my colleagues forwarded me an email last week from a student who apologized for not coming to class. She could not afford gas to drive to campus.

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