Diversity Intensive Vision Statement Guidelines
Below is a detailed set of items that applicants should think about for their vision statement and syllabus. The vision statement portion of the application to teach a Diversity Intensive (DI) course provides an opportunity for applicants to explain their expectations and their preparation for the course. As such, it needs to include concrete information as to how the course will be taught, and a broad articulation of the applicant’s understanding of the purposes of the DI course and how these purposes can be brought to fruition.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in Diversity Intensive workshops that will cover topics such as: creating DI course syllabi; assignment and class project ideas for DI courses; pedagogical considerations in DI classes; handling difficult situations in the classroom, etc.
Applicants are encouraged to work in collaborative efforts in order to provide the best possible experience for both faculty and students; team teaching and/or peer partnership are especially appropriate for the development of DI courses. A discussion of pedagogy, broadly understood to include all aspects of the course and methods of instruction, is particularly important for these courses, in which participation of all students is crucial.
Applicants should include some discussion of the following in the vision statement:
Course Subject Matter
- Explains how the subject matter and overall course content are appropriate for a DI course.
- Articulates how the goals of the course reflect the goals of a DI course, including a specific discussion of the power dynamics that the course will investigate.
- Indicates what part of the actual course materials are drawn directly from the experience of marginalized individuals and groups or from those groups whose construction of identities are examined in the course. Does the course make human agency a focal point? Does it emphasize the voices of lived experience or delve into questions of representation?
- Explains how the course will address and/or reflect important intersectionalities. (multiple layers of identities and the interrelationship between or among these identities, ie., black women’s experiences as blacks, as women, and as black women.)
- Articulates the applicant’s pedagogical approach for the course.
- How specific assignments and course activities achieve the goals of the course and create the opportunity for students and faculty to examine their own experiences and values, thus laying the groundwork for transformative experience.
- How the course will help students develop an understanding of power imbalances and the myriad ways in which humans and cultures construct and respond to diversity and difference.
- How the course will foster skills desirable in responsible citizens.
Learning Environment of the Course
- Learning environment provides an atmosphere of respectful and open-minded exchange for all participants. The classroom is experienced as a “safe space.”
- Vision demonstrates sensitivity to the nature of the course materials and the issues they expound, and to their impact on students.
- Vision statement articulates an understanding of the range of intellectual and emotional responses that students may encounter both in and out of the classroom. Is the applicant prepared to deal with classes in which tension might be generated among students due to their differences in experience, belief, identity, or politics?
- Vision statement addresses how a learning environment which supports the possibility of transformative experiences will be created.