Privilege and Inclusion

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Growing up my mother always taught my to treat people with respect. To not judge people based on the color of their skin but by their values, morality, and empathy. When I was a child we would celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by making a marble cake. We had his “I have a dream” speech framed beside the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. The greatest civil rights activist of our time was celebrated in our home more so than one of my extended (great × a lot) relatives – a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Why is it that today we are still fighting the same fights of the 1960’s and earlier?Racism is just another form of a majority group exerting their privilege; people use religion in the same way (it is important to note, not all people who are religious do this but in the case of Kim Davis that is a case of privilege). I want to understand how is it that similar issues of inclusion plague certain departments within higher education. Most importantly I think it is important to figure out how we can change things – the structure of higher education as it is right now is not my higher education.


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How do we measure knowledge?

Why is examination the measure by which we judge an individual’s understanding of material? I have had this inability to take tests well since I was a child. It’s not to say I’m unintelligent or I can’t have a conversation about the material being covered, what it does say is I am a very poor test taker. I have had classes (some very recently) where examination was the end-all-be-all of performance measurement. Pure memorization of safety principles that can and should be referenced in a manual before it is applied in practice just to be sure you don’t kill anyone by performing addition where you should have been performing subtraction.

Instead why can’t performance by gauged by assignments and discussion with the instructor? I would prefer a challenging take home exam to a standardized in class assessment any day of the week. Sure – it’s more challenging to grade, but students can take more away from something they have had time to sit and reflect on in depth rather than having to cram the material into their heads for an exam that they will forget 15 minutes after they leave the room.

Why can’t knowledge be measured by the ability to carry on intelligent conversation and contribute ideas to the field? Why must so much weight be placed on one task?

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Working in Higher Ed

I can’t decide if I want to work in academia. I see how my professors interact with one another and their students and their egos push other people out of the room. I am worried that being a jerk is a common thing in academia and that in order to get ahead you have to belittle and berate people. That’s not the kind of person I want to be.

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Working in a bubble – not as awesome as it sounds

maxresdefaultWorking in a bubble – your current situation is not representative of reality.

Why we need to leave the bubble – we need to leave the bubble to work in a multidisciplinary environment, to work in an environment that is representative of the real world. Interaction with people who have different opinions and different views will allow for the exploration of new stances on subjects that you may not have considered previously. The way courses are taught currently is known as “the sage on the stage” method. Students are lectured and talked at for an hour or so and sent on their way to do their assignments. The instructors are perceived as the holders of all knowledge, but in reality that is simply not the case.

Working outside the bubble – all involved are contributors of relevant topics and knowledge. Sources of knowledge are not limited to select professors and a list of approved textbooks. Working outside of the bubble removes the limitations that are brought on by “the sage on the stage” method.

In engineering and other hard sciences, a blend of the methods would be suitable to encourage problem solving in the “traditional” way, but also turning students loose to work out problems on their own to figure out alternative ways to tackle the same issues.  images

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Journal 1

This is the first week of class. I think that Diversity in Global Society will probably be my favorite class. It seems like it will cover a lot of interesting content that doesn’t get discussed in engineering or academia in general. That’s not to say these discussions shouldn’t happen in academia – I think this is where they should start to happen. We should be having these discussions everywhere.

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Test post for GRAD 5214 – Diversity for Global Society

This is a test post for GRAD 5214 –  Diversity for Global Society.

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Test GEDIVT

This is a test of my blog for Pedagogical Practices in Contemporary Contexts

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Institutional Variations in Mission Statements

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Virginia Tech’s mission statement focuses on the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge. Cecil College’s mission statement focuses on providing an enriched and supportive learning environment, the College strives to empower each student with skills, knowledge, and values needed for college success, transfer to four-year institutions, workforce entry or advancement, and personal enrichment.

The similarities in the mission statements are present in the cultural and economic development however Cecil’s is focused on the local and surrounding region while Virginia Tech’s is focused locally, nationally, and globally.

There is some consistency in the mission statements as it pertains to higher education from major research institutes to community colleges – differences exist in the mission statements due to resources and the overall goal of the majority of the students attending the university. The variations in the mission statements are there by design and are representative of the services offered by the separate institutions.

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