Spring 2014 Conversation Partners

Below you’ll find links to each of our conversational partners. At the bottom of each partner’s description is a link named back to partners list that will bring you back up to this master list.

Rod Fong

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  • Email: fongr@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Law

Importance of Inclusivity

Each student must feel like they are part of the learning community, otherwise we risk losing that student’s attention and motivation to learn by making them feel excluded or isolated in our class. Once a student turns off to a class or professor, it’s almost impossible to regain their attention.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

Ice-breakers. Welcoming and encouraging participation in discussions. Validating student’s participation in class discussions. Calling students by their names. Showing respect for student’s viewpoints. Making sure as many views are discussed either by students or raising the viewpoint myself. Role playing. Group exercises. Using written exercises with diverse characters and situations.

Typical Courses Taught

I teach a course on bar prep, along with bar prep workshops. These classes focus on getting students ready for the bar review period by demystifying the bar review programs and the bar exam itself. We teach the students how they can take control of the process by explaining what the exam is testing and how they can alter the study process to match their needs and learning styles.

I also teach study skills workshops for first year students showing them how to adjust to the law school way of teaching and testing.

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Dellanira Garcia

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  • Email: dgarcia12@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Nursing and Health Professions, Behavioral Health

Importance of Inclusivity

They are equally/mutually important for both the professor and the students; they create a rich learning environment; they take into account real-life contextual issues (gender, inequities) and how these constructs may play into the classroom settings to hinder or facilitate conversations and course content. As a faculty of color, my own “inclusivity” is vital for teaching and creating space.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

Set-up ground rules at the beginning of class (respect for others, etc); I model behavior; I discuss and bring up issues that impact our work with patients (inequities, privilege, etc.)

Typical Courses Taught

I teach in the new PsyD doctoral program; classes are currently 13–14 people and meet once weekly for 3 hours.

  • Culture and Mental Health
  • Research Methods and Design
  • Adult Psychopathology

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Rebecca Gordon

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  • Email: rgordon@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Importance of Inclusivity

The learning in an inclusive classroom is richer and deeper than in a classroom where only one point of view predominates; because inclusive classrooms help assure that the educational needs of all students are met; because non-inclusive classrooms can drive members of oppressed groups out of the world of education.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

My courses deal with social justice, so we address issues of race, gender, and class directly, using a variety of texts. Students also interact with and write about Harvard’s Implicit Attitude Test, which helps identify pre-conscious bias towards particular social groups. I try to model openness by speaking frankly about my own social location, with its privileges and challenges.

Typical Courses Taught

I typically teach Ethics with Service Learning in the Philosophy Department, and Ethics in the McCarthy Center’s Master of Public Affairs.

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Richard Johnson III

  • Email: rgjohnsoniii@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Management, PNA

Importance of Inclusivity

I am a social justice scholar and it is one of the reasons I came to USF having been at another university for 12 years. I feel I can make a difference, at least in the classes I teach.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

Everyone should have a voice in the classroom, regardless of what they bring to the classroom.

Typical Courses Taught

Leadership, public policy, management.

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Alice Kaswan

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  • Email: kaswan@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Law

Importance of Inclusivity

Inclusive classrooms ensure that all students are engaged in the learning process and avoid having certain students feel marginalized and distant from the material and each other. Inclusive classrooms also allow all students to benefit from each others’ perspectives, rather than reinforcing the dominant view as the only view.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

Substantively, I assign material that relates the lives and experiences of a wide range of students, including materials on the role of race and poverty, as appropriate, in my environmental and property law courses. Pedagogically, I often call on students to widen participation, rather than relying solely on volunteers, and I break into discussion groups to foster 100% engagement.

Typical Courses Taught

Property Law, Environmental Law

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Brandi Lawless

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  • Email: bjlawless@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Arts & Sciences, Communication Studies

Importance of Inclusivity

Inclusive classrooms are important in considering what voices dominate our classrooms and what voices have been left out. I encourage students to share their personal experiences and challenge structured histories that position them in specific ways.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

I include diverse readings in my syllabi. Additionally, I utilize activities such as the “privilege walk” and the Borderlands poem to teach about diversity. I have several other activities I am willing to share, related to privilege, power, social class, race, capitalism, and whiteness.

Typical Courses Taught

I teach Communication and Culture, Intercultural Communication, International Conflict and Alliance Building, Organizational Communication, and Qualitative Research Methods in any given semester. Our courses range from 20–40 students depending on the class.

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Dawn Lee Tu

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  • Email: dleetu@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Arts & Sciences, The Cultural Centers

Importance of Inclusivity

My role as an engaged teacher is to create opportunities for students to challenge their assumptions and beliefs about the world. My approach to teaching is dialogic (a process based on a dialogue-based exchange of ideas) and only works in an inclusive space where students’ experiences and knowledge are as valuable as what I offer in the syllabus.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

  • Exploration of their positionality (identity and self-awareness) at the beginning of the semester
  • Assignments and activities that emphasize group knowledge production
  • Video reflections on readings (students must look at and engaged each other’s videos)
  • Self-directed projects in which I scaffold them with skills necessary to plan and implement their projects
  • Classroom management techniques such as “popcorn” style discussion

Typical Courses Taught

Living Learning Communities, Sociology, Higher Education, Youth Studies, Ethnic Studies, Intergroup Dialogue, courses with experiential elements, courses that emphasize reflection, self-identity, and social justice.

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Rhonda Magee

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  • Email: rvmagee@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Law

Importance of Inclusivity

Our classrooms will continue to be ever more diverse. Because research indicates the the classroom climate around inclusivity can positively improve student performance, I believe I have a responsibility, as a teacher, to make those climates as inclusive and identity safe as possible for each and all of my students.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

Intentionally co-creating safe environments using class agreements governing conversations; appropriately supporting relationship-building among students using small group and other exercises; expressing care and concern for the wellbeing and learning of all my students; supporting students in identifying value in diversity using teaching practices, student exercises, and content.

Typical Courses Taught

First-year personal injury law (Torts), generally 70–90 students in size; Upperclass seminars, in Race and Law, and Contemplative Lawyering, generally with 12–22 students. The classes generally meet twice a week for 1.5 to 2 hours.

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Dan Morgan

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  • Email: demorgan@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Arts & Sciences, Sociology

Importance of Inclusivity

How wonderful to feel safe, and to know that one’s experiences add value to the course.

Another goal is for individuals to not be the ‘only one like me’ that they encounter in the classroom and overall university experience.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

Using a variety of assessments: When confidentiality is assured, essays can be a way for a person to integrate course material, without having to defend or even discuss certain topics in front of others.

Small group discussions and dyads serve to break the ice, and place students in contact with one another.

Typical Courses Taught

Introduction to Sociology; Writing in Sociology

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Leyla Pérez-Gualdrón

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  • Email: lperezgualdron@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Education, Counseling Psychology

Importance of Inclusivity

We have been having discussions with our dean at the SOE about the importance of training diverse professionals that could work effectively with diverse populations. I believe that a key ingredient to fulfill this goal is to offer an inclusive classroom climate, in which all the students feel safe, welcomed, and promoted.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

I integrate multicultural issues throughout the course content/materials. I also use problem-based and self-reflection activities to promote awareness. Sample activities are: Identity wheel and career privilege walk, in which students reflect on the intersections of identities as embedded in a sociocultural context. We examine privilege and oppression and how those impact our understanding of course materials and professional practice.

Typical Courses Taught

My classes meet every other weekend for 4.45 hours on Friday evenings and/or Saturdays mornings/afternoons (SOE Teaching Weekend Schedule). These classes are comprised by a diverse group of 12–15 graduate students.

In the past, I also taught on a regular twice-a-week teaching schedule with undergraduates/graduate students (class sizes 10 to 35 students).

I incorporate issues pertaining to multicultural populations and sociopolitical contexts in all my courses.

Courses I have taught:

  • Counseling Theories and Practice
  • Developmental Counseling
  • Academic and Career Counseling
  • Career Counseling
  • Counseling Skills Laboratory
  • Fieldwork
  • Counseling Theories

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Roberto Varea

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  • Email: varea@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Arts & Sciences, Performing Arts / LAS

Importance of Inclusivity

I believe in a university that exists not to teach an elite, and therefore perpetuates power structures, but to educate all. I also believe we must take great care to reach those excluded from the imaginary of who belong, folk “othered” due to gender, sexuality, nationality, etc. An “exclusive” classroom, teaches inequality, and distorts anything printed on its syllabus.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

I avail myself of exercises proven helpful in my practice doing / teaching performance in conflict settings. Exercises on trust, self expression, collaboration, identity, etc. There is more, however, to just doing an exercise. We must first do our best to create a “safe space” in the classroom, so that any class dynamic will be truthfully reflective of diversity…

Typical Courses Taught

I use a “performance studies” lens to engage cultural production in socio political contexts. Courses like “Latin@ Performance and Culture” that live at the intersection of creative expression (plays, performance-art, or popular parades or ceremonies,) and the role they play in oppressive or inclusive social structures, emphasizing self-definition, and cultural resistance projects by those marginalized. These range from a play about the devastating effect of pesticides, to LGBT parades, reconciliation rituals between indigenous and settler people, etc.. Some of these are core, typically 20 - 40 students, others are specific to Performing Arts majors with 12 - 16 students.

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Ja’Nina Walker

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  • Email: jwalker@usfca.edu
  • Discipline: Arts & Sciences, Psychology

Importance of Inclusivity

Our student population is so diverse. However, many students often feel isolated due to their diversity. It is important for faculty to provides students with safe spaces to explore their critical thinking skills without being marginalized or tokenized.

Inclusive Classroom Practices

Setting community rules at the onset of the semester. Open the classroom to students to share their experiences. Challenging students to think outside of their current worldview.

Typical Courses Taught

I teach a variety of courses. I teach a breadth course, Child Development which is a survey of Developmental Psychology. I also teach a foundation course, Research Design, in which students are introduced to psychological research.

I also teach diversity courses such as African American Psychology and Psychology of Sexualities which challenge students to examine social constructions, structures, and inequalities.

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