Final blog post: Semester Retrospective

I was fortunate enough to be part of this class. I always wanted to take a course on diversity and inclusion. Most of the people try and avoid conversations around these topics. There was some introduction about these topics in some of my previous courses like contemporary pedagogy and future professorate. Looking back, I think I made the right decision to choose this course as my elective for future professorate certificate. The course has made me understand the different aspects of diversity, inclusion and, equity. I think personally, I enjoyed discussions and personal experiences in class regarding topics like implicit bias, microaggressions, stereotype threats, and intersectionality.

Dr. Grimes and the other guest lecturers really facilitated the discussions well. I remember when we were talking about critical topics like race and privileges, I thought to myself that this might not go well. But to my surprise, everyone was so tuned by that time in the class that everyone respected each other’s theories and views. That was one class when I was fully attentive and thoroughly moved by every story that was shared. I will never forget the discussion about the historical monuments in UVa and VT. I was surprised to know how little did I know about the history of Virginia Tech. I had never researched about Smithfield plantations before.

I also really liked the concept of learning about higher education in other countries. Although, I have been part of such exercises before in other classes. But, this was more in-depth and also centered on diversity and inclusion. Being from India, I was hoping that I would get a chance to talk about India. However, Sam and I were given to talk on Chinese higher education. Looking back, I think I learned more after researching about China. Also, I have never facilitated a workshop before. So, this also hopefully will be an enriching experience. This is my last chance to put everything on the table – whatever I have learned in the last 4 months.

This class has definitely increased my horizon. I have started understanding the importance of the fact that everybody is unique and brings something new for learning. A diverse environment is a must for better ideas and success. As discussed in the class, it is not only about diversity but also equity and inclusion. It is important to make sure that whatever we do, it is diverse and inclusive. This class will help me a lot since I am going to teach a full course next semester. Diversity and Inclusion course has made me understand the importance of being an unbiased teacher who creates an equal, diverse and inclusive environment for the students to thrive and learn. I hope I am able to do that with my learnings and experiences during the teaching course.  At last, I will try and be vocal about diversity and inclusion as much as possible after this course. There is a definite need for people to learn more about these topics. I hope this will happen in the future.