Office of the Dean
Valerie S. Ashby, Ph.D., Dean of Trinity College

Memo to Students - One Way Trinity is Investing in Faculty Skills - 9-19-2016

September 22, 2016

Dear Students,

I write to tell you about one way we are working to enhance campus culture. Provost Sally Kornbluth and Trinity College of Arts & Sciences is sponsoring a year-long faculty skills development program called Teaching for Equity (http://admin.trinity.duke.edu/teaching-for-equity).

We believe that our classrooms are ideal places to address race and bias on our campus. In our university-wide conversations last year, we heard that some students have felt isolated and marginalized in class at times because they feel different or unvalued. We also heard that not all faculty feel well equipped to respond when these issues come up in class.

We piloted the Teaching for Equity Fellows program last year and faculty gave it rave reviews. So we launched a new class of faculty in August, and plan to run two sections next year in order reach even more faculty.

The program is led by education consultants who specialize in educational equality and culturally relevant teaching methods.

Faculty fellows cultivate practical skills and strategies to address issues around student identity in the classroom. First, they learn to examine how they teach and become more aware of their own assumptions. They also learn to recognize when students themselves may be adversely impacting others in class. Then, they practice engagement strategies that promote respect for everyone, overcome inadvertent biases and constructively diffuse any tensions.

I am very pleased with how well this program has been received. It is a real time, tangible way for us to shape campus culture, and it embodies our core values of diversity and inclusion.

Best wishes,

Valerie S. Ashby
Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences