Faculty Resource Network

An academic partnership devoted to faculty development. Now in our fourth decade, we remain committed to this partnership, and to fostering connection, collaboration, and collegiality among our members.

Network Summer 2016

When: from June 6 to June 10, 2016

Where: New York University’s Washington Square campus

The application deadline for Network Summer 2016 has passed

NS Frequently Asked Questions

Scholar-in-Residence Program

Entrepreneurship and the Business Curriculum

About the Seminar:

The study and teaching of entrepreneurship is a growing component in the curriculum of business schools today. While most M.B.A. and undergraduate programs have a good idea about what and how to teach business managers of large corporations, the study and teaching of entrepreneurship is still evolving. Managing a small, fast-growing company demands a set of skills different from those that are necessary for success in large companies. And many characteristics that are common to entrepreneurs—risk-taking, independence, the ability to explore contrary points of view—are not necessarily valued the same way in larger organizations.

The study of social impact is a growing part of the entrepreneurial field as individuals and organizations seek to apply the rigor and discipline of traditional for-profit business management to non-profit organizations in the fields of poverty, healthcare, and the environment. Many organizations seek to combine the best of both worlds. Social ventures such as Greyston Bakery, a for-profit commercial bakery selling products to manufacturers such as Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs, is owned by a foundation. Also, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunis, founder of the Grameen Bank Movement, is offering micro-finance loans as a tool for combating poverty.

This seminar will examine the topics typically covered in entrepreneurship classes (here at NYU/Stern and elsewhere) with discussions focused on ways to make that content valuable and applicable for students. Whether teaching traditional for-profit or social impact entrepreneurs, we still need to apply the rigor and discipline of traditional business education, but in a way that incorporates the different needs of this audience.

During this seminar we will examine and discuss the general topics covered in entrepreneurship courses.

Topics will include:

  1. Writing a business plan
  2. Venture ideas
  3. Sources of capital (financing) for start-up ventures
  4. Designing the business model
  5. Optimal organizational structures
  6. Identifying target markets and populations
  7. Developing a communication plan

This seminar will be a highly interactive program combining lectures, discussions, case studies, and guest speakers. The only requirements for the participants are a willingness to think and participate. A sense of humor also would be greatly appreciated.


About the Convener:

Jeffrey A. Carr joined New York University Stern School of Business in September 2007 and is now a clinical professor of marketing and entrepreneurship.

An adjunct associate professor at Stern for the last 13 years, Professor Carr has taught strategic marketing, and marketing management and planning in the M.B.A. and executive M.B.A. programs. He was awarded the Stern/Citibank Teacher of the Year Award in 1996.

Professor Carr, president of Marketing Foundations Inc., is also an entrepreneur and marketing consultant with clients worldwide in the manufacturing and service industries. Consulting and lecturing extensively in Europe, Asia, Africa and the U.S., he has completed consulting projects and delivered executive development programs for Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, General Electric, Pfizer, Kodak, Time Inc., and Unilever, among others. For each of the last 12 years, Professor Carr has also been involved in a United Nations-sponsored program to help developing countries create more effective budgeting strategies and implementation plans for their healthcare initiatives.

Professor Carr earned his B.A. in economics from Wright State University and his M.B.A. in marketing from Tulane University.

Ethnicity and Media

About the Seminar:

This seminar will offer an interdisciplinary look at some of the major issues and debates around race, inclusion, and representation of ethnic and racial ‘majorities’ in all types of media. African American, Asian American, Native American, and Latino/a subjects, and their representation in U.S. media, will be examined from comparative perspectives. Major theoretical debates about visuality and race will be explored, as will political and economic processes involved in representing race in the contemporary “post-racial” and “multicultural” moment. Recent monographs by critical race scholars focusing on different media also will be examined.

Seminar topics will include the historical and colonial foundations of media stereotypes and their contemporary production and circulation; theories of media production and race; the politics of production, circulation, and media reception; race and digital technologies; and more. The seminar will draw from interdisciplinary readings in media, cultural studies, and critical race theory (Benjamin, Stuart Hall, Herman Gray) along with more recent works by Fleetwood, Rivero, and Simone Browne, among others. Seminar participants will view films and hear from invited speakers, which will include scholars and activists representing the National Hispanic Media Coalition, along with other media professionals. No written assignments are required, but seminar participants will be asked to share some of their current work in class, and to take the lead in the discussion of a selected work from the assigned readings.


About the Convener:

Arlene Davila is Professor of Anthropology and American Studies at New York University. She is the author of Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City (NYU Press), Culture Works: Space, Value, and Mobility Across the Neoliberal Americas (NYU Press), and El Mall: The Spatial and Class Politics of Shopping Malls in Latin America, which is in contract with University of Chicago Press.

Experiences in Innovative Thinking Practices

About the Seminar:

Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) is a two-year graduate program that explores the imaginative uses of existing technologies to solve problems, make art, bring delight, and improve the world in big and small ways. Our pedagogical approach is grounded in the theory (proposed by Dewey, Bruner, and Papert) that making is fundamental to thinking. This approach undergirds innovation not only in technology, but also in any academic discipline that seeks to encourage the development of higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills in students.

This seminar will be a five-day immersion in this style of teaching and learning. In the morning session, participants will be presented with challenging problems to solve. These will be real problems from various cultural institutions/museums in New York City. Representatives from these institutions will present the challenge, and then participants will work in groups for about an hour to generate ideas that they will present at the end of the session. Involving group work, brainstorming, wild ideas/blue-sky techniques, quick research, and presentation, this kind of ideation mirrors what often happens in design disciplines, but rarely in academia.

In the afternoon session, participants will be introduced to the basic concepts of the Maker Movement. They will learn some basic programming and physical computing. Participants in this seminar are invited and welcome also to join the evening activities of ITP Camp, which is a 4-week crash course/playground for working professionals — academics, artists, musicians, creatives of all sorts—to play with new tools (e.g 3D printing), hear speakers on the cutting edge, and collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds.

This seminar is suitable for any educator or researcher in any discipline who wants to experience this method of problem-solving drawn from the design and technology world. There is no previous programming experience required for the afternoon session.


About the Conveners:

Nancy Hechinger, a faculty member at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in the Tisch School of the Arts, has a diverse background in education—including multimedia and film production, the development of interactive museum exhibits, and publishing—and in the strategic uses of information and telecommunication technologies, particularly how technology might make science more accessible, and how it can be used to promote the teaching and learning of essential twenty-first-century skills. She was the founding director of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Prior to that she was a founding partner and the director of technology for the Edison Project, a private company that manages public schools using a comprehensive new school design with technology at its core. She was on the senior design team of Apple’s Multimedia Lab (1988-1990). Ms. Hechinger has lectured widely at schools and to education and public-policy groups about the potential of technology to enhance education and inspire children to learn. She has participated in many of the seminal national conferences on education and technology sponsored by such agencies as the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Technology Assessment, and the Getty Museum. She received her B.A. in 1969 from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.F.A. in Writing (Poetry) in 2009.

Kate Hartman the director of ITP Camp, is an artist, technologist, and educator whose work spans the fields of physical computing, wearable electronics, and conceptual art. She is the co-creator of Botanicalls, a system that lets thirsty plants place phone calls for human help, and the Lilypad XBee, a sewable radio transceiver that allows your clothing to communicate. Her work has been exhibited internationally and featured by the New York Times, BBC, CBC, and NPR, and in books such as Fashionable Technology and Art and Science Now. She was a speaker at TED 2011 and her work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Hartman is based in Toronto at OCAD University, where she is associate professor of wearable and mobile technology and director of the Social Body Lab.

How to Write Successful Grant Proposals

About the Seminar:

Do you need release time in order to pursue your research? Do you need a mentoring or tutoring program to help your students succeed? Do you need to equip a lab with sophisticated equipment? All of these needs can be satisfied if you can learn to write competitive grants.

This workshop can help you prepare strong grant proposals. We will examine the components of a successful grant proposal: finding a potential funding source, analyzing an RFP (Request for Proposals), researching and stating the need for the grant, writing appropriate goals and objectives, describing the proposed activities and methods, and developing a credible evaluation plan and a realistic budget.

The presenters will share their experience and accumulated wisdom. However, at the heart of this hands-on workshop is the opportunity for each participant to make substantial progress in developing his or her own idea into an actual grant proposal:

  • Each participant is asked to bring an idea for a grant proposal – whether you are a faculty researcher looking for release-time and equipment, a department chair or academic administrator seeking to expand a successful program, a student affairs administrator looking to create a new student support program, or an IT specialist or librarian looking for additional resources. Bring a paragraph to the first session that describes your idea. Participants will develop their ideas during the seminar by outlining need statements, goals and objectives, action plans, and the other components of a complete grant proposal.
  • The seminar will introduce some of the most helpful grants-writing resources available online and will include readings on how to construct a grant. Participants will be glad to hear that the presenters specialize in readings that run no more than 2-3 pages and get right to the heart of the topic. The seminar is designed for both beginners and intermediate grants writers.


About the Conveners:

Beverly and Bob Kahn are political scientists who have written grant proposals together and separately for many years. After receiving their doctorates from Indiana University, where she specialized in Italian politics (winning both a Fulbright and Rome Prize) and he specialized in African American political ideology, they both taught at the University of South Carolina and Ohio State for 17 years before going off on separate careers as administrators.

Beverly has served in the roles of dean, vice president, and provost at Fairfield University, Pace University, and SUNY-Farmingdale and has authored more than $20 million in grants. In her current position at SUNY-Farmingdale, Beverly has written more than $12 million in major grants, including a First in the World Grant, a Title IIIA grant, and an SSS Trio grant (plus renewal) from the U.S. Department of Education as well as a Smart Grid grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Bob has served as dean, vice president, and grants director at Rockland, Bergen, Queensborough, and LaGuardia community colleges. In eight years at LaGuardia as grants director, Bob’s college brought in more than $100 million in grants – highest among City University of New York community colleges, higher than a number of CUNY four-year colleges, and usually more than twice as much as the CUNY community college in second place.

Laughter, Humor and the Comedic Sensibility: A Philosophical Investigation

About the Seminar:

Regardless of the educational arena, academicians are driven by a deadly seriousness, a heaviness of spirit, the consequences of which alienate them ultimately from a more widespread audience. Our seminar will embrace a similar seriousness, but will be driven by the study of humor, establishing it as a legitimate and essential element in the pursuit of philosophical and intellectual study. In short, we will take humor seriously.

Risibility, having the faculty or power of laughter, is a distinctively human trait, and in this seminar we will examine the various theories of laughter and comedy. Additionally, we will analyze the many comedic forms, including jokes, satire, puns, irony, and witticisms. We will discover that unlike tragedy that can be formulaically treated, comedy eludes any attempt to do likewise.

The political and moral dimensions of humor will be scrutinized in detail. We will discuss the central role that humor plays in the social and political arena, as it may well provide the most potent weapon available to the disenfranchised in the face of oppressive authority. Ethnic and multi-cultural humor will be a subject of inquiry as the humor of a culture or people offers insight with regard to their identity, how they view themselves, and how they perceive others. Selected readings will demonstrate how humor provides the most profound expression of our humanity, allowing us to give expression to our deepest fears and our highest dreams.

Our capacity for laughter serves admirably as our most effective weapon in our struggle for survival, for in cosmic matters we have had greater reason to weep than to laugh. Its role as an indispensable ingredient in the construction of “a good life” must be studied and understood, and be given its proper place in the curriculum of the Academy and, as such, will be a prime concern of this seminar.


About the Convener:

Robert Gurland, currently Professor Emeritus, has been a member of the Department of Philosophy at New York University for more than forty-five years, fifteen of which were spent as Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies. Gurland, a native New Yorker, received his B.A. from CUNY, M.A in education from Adelphi University, and M.A. in mathematics from San Jose State University before completing his Ph.D. in philosophy at New York University. Prior to his appointment at New York University, he was an associate professor of mathematics at Long Island University. He also was a visiting professor of humanities at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was responsible for initiating a program in ethics and professionalism after the cheating scandal of 1976. Gurland is a frequent lecturer for the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), dealing with matters concerning ethics, the philosophy of war, terrorism, and counter-terrorism. He also has taught two courses for “Sunrise Semester,” which was shown on CBS and nationally syndicated – the first, offered in 1974, “Practical Reasoning,” and the second in 1981, on “Experiencing Sports: A Philosophical and Cultural Analysis.” His essay on the challenges of teaching mathematics appears in Steven Cahn’s Scholars Who Teach. He currently teaches in the NYU Liberal Studies program as well as in the NYU Stern School of Business, where he teaches the senior seminar in “Personality and Leadership.” Professor Gurland has been the recipient of numerous NYU teaching awards, including the Distinguished Teaching Medal, the Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award, and the College of Arts and Science Golden Dozen Award for Distinguished Teaching (four-time recipient), as well as the Civilian Distinguished Service Medal awarded by Congress for his service to the military and the academy at West Point.

Mapping the City: Digital Humanities in the Classroom

About the Seminar:

Digital tools are transforming the ways we teach, preserve, and disseminate knowledge about the cultural record. Offering an introduction to digital humanities, this seminar explores resources, tools, and methods for representing and curating diverse kinds of literary and historical evidence in on-line environments. It will have two major learning outcomes: 1) To foster critical discussion about applying digital tools to literary and historical study of urban culture; 2) To offer hands-on training in understanding and using digital resources for collaborative learning in the undergraduate classroom.

Through readings, discussion, and hands-on exercises, we will explore basic concepts, methods, and tools for engaging students across the life-cycle of digital humanities project development—from modeling project objectives, to designing and analyzing data, to engaging publics.

While using New York City as a reference point for some of our materials and discussions, the seminar will incorporate methodologies and tools applicable to diverse topics of research and teaching. No prior knowledge or experience of digital humanities is necessary. Emphasis will be on designing learning strategies and assessments that help undergraduates in the humanities think critically and creatively about digital environments for scholarship, while acquiring practice-based competencies in collaborative research. Participants will leave the seminar with digital humanities project plans related to their particular areas of scholarship, and that integrate digital pedagogy and collaborative research into existing or potential courses.


About the Convener:

Thomas Augst is associate professor of English at New York University. His research and teaching focus on American literary and cultural history. He is the author of The Clerk’s Tale: Young Men and Moral Life in Nineteenth-Century America. With Kenneth Carpenter, he is coeditor of Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States, and with Wayne Wiegand, coeditor of Libraries as Agencies of Culture. He is currently completing a book about temperance and social reform in nineteenth-century America, and is working as well on another book about humanist enterprises and the development of higher education in the United States. He co-organized the spring 2015 conference “The Digital Antiquarian,” hosted by the American Antiquarian Society. He is a principle investigator for NewYorkScapes, a research collaborative of faculty, students, archivists, and artists exploring the cross-disciplinary use of digital tools for place-based research and on-line learning. He has received research fellowships from the U.S. Department of Education, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since coming to NYU from the University of Minnesota in 2007, he has served as the English Department’s director of graduate studies, associate director of the Humanities Initiative, and acting director of Digital Humanities for NYU’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. His primary interest in each of these roles has been to identify needs and opportunities for professional training and collaborative research offered by new methods and tools of digital scholarship.

More Connected, More Disconnected: Millennials and Social Media

About the Seminar:

An understanding of Millennials today requires digital literacy. It requires engagement with—rather than indifference to—the digital tools, forms of participation, and ethics that accompany the age of Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube. As social networking sites and open software transform our news, our politics, and even our sense of time and connection, new forms of media literacy and cooperative instruction are needed to help students adapt to the ethical, emotional, and cultural changes affecting them today. Our failure to move beyond our traditional and sacred practices in academic spaces, such as “doing work on your own,” “not having your phone in class,” or “never using Wikipedia,” has led to a tragedy in our times—a lack of intergenerational learning, in which both teachers and students take risks in adapting to our digital environment. If learning is evidenced by new and different behavior, our example to our students in the 21st century is critical.

This seminar will cover the latest research on digital media literacies, ecologies, and the new digital divides of participation affecting marginalized youth. It will involve teaching ourselves how to identify the centers of influence among digital youth and among digital media scholars. We will confront some of the thorny issues arising from digital culture, and in so doing model and experiment with styles of collaborative engagement. While studying the affordances of digital media technology and literacies, we will negotiate the constraints and unintended consequences of living in networked publics, where the line between privacy and public reputation is often blurred.

Methodologies from digital ethnography and participant observation will be our primary tools of discovery. We will conduct an edit-a-thon on Wikipedia, practice digital storytelling with Storify, create infographics, and develop a series of personal vlogs to capture our own evolving thoughts. The seminar will culminate in a digital exhibit and poster session, to which we will invite students, friends, and colleagues to share in what we have learned.

Author Jonathan Safran Foer has said, “I worry that the closer the world gets to our fingertips, the farther away it gets from our hearts. It’s not an either/or—being “anti-technology” is perhaps the only thing more foolish than being unquestioningly “pro-technology”—but a question of balance that our lives hang upon.” This seminar will be a practical research and discussion-oriented collaboration in which each participant will develop an ethical position about how to deal with the mobile web’s impact on Millennials.


About the Convener:

Kyra Gaunt is a woman of many talents: a Baruch College professor, a songwriter, a performer, and an author. A native of Rockville, Maryland, Gaunt began her career in higher education in 1996. She came to Baruch in 2006 after teaching at New York University and the University of Virginia. Her areas of specialty are race, gender, and African American music—topics that she blends together in courses about cultural anthropology and black music. Her first book, The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double Dutch to Hip-Hop (NYU Press, 2006), illustrates how African American girls learn black musical style through childhood games, and was named co-winner of The Society for Ethnomusicology’s prestigious Alan Merriam Prize in 2007.

Real Work is Better than Homework: Strategies for Promoting Authentic Science Practices in Student Assignments

About the Seminar:

“Media are mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence student achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causes changes in our nutrition.” —Richard Clark, 1983

What matters more than the truck, we think, is what is being delivered.

We are concerned about the things being done by students within the learning environments we construct for them, concentrating on the value of the work we ask them to do in the context of what it means to become an educated person; that is, one who develops adaptive, life-long skills. Over and over again, we encounter the idea of whether what we are asking students to do has “real” (durable) meaning or whether it is an academic exercise (“homework”) designed to do not much more than expedite a grade assignment.

We invite you to this seminar to help you take whatever work you currently ask your students to do and see whether you can open it up by applying what we call the “Real Work” Principles, a set of ideas about the construction of student assignments derived from the area called Authentic Learning. These principles are:

  • Balancing convergent and divergent tasks
  • Balancing teamwork with individual responsibility
  • Using authentic texts, data, and/or evidence
  • Relying on peer presentation, review, and critique
  • Enabling students by arming them with instructional technologies
  • Making the student work at least as important as that of the teacher

This seminar is suitable for faculty members from any science discipline because all of them are anchored in real work. No one has the corner on real work practices, and we encourage the idea that the collective expertise of a multi-disciplinary group will always cross-fertilize new ideas. The “real work” framework provides a design-path to take these ideas and turn them into articulated, concrete lessons that you can move into your teaching.


About the Convener:

For 30 years, Brian P. Coppola has pioneered and advanced the area of university-level discipline-centered education research and instructional design. He currently directs the first-ever department-based program that combines educating future faculty with a sustainable mechanism for faculty colleagues to pursue their own education projects. Professor Coppola teaches organic chemistry to large-enrollment classes at the University of Michigan, which has been the first-year course there since 1989. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, and was awarded the CASE-Carnegie United States Professor of the Year for Doctoral Institutions in 2009, previously winning for the State of Michigan in 2004. His contributions to chemistry education were recognized in 2006 with the American Chemical Society’s James Norris Flack Award, and he received the 2012 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, a single, biennial, international recognition across all of higher education administered by Baylor University. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry (1984) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Allure of Ancient Greek Athletics: The Ancient Olympics and Much More

About the Seminar:

Every four years millions of people suspend their normal activities to watch the Modern Olympics. They are drawn by the sight of magnificent athletic performances, ceremonies, and celebrations, and also by illusions about the Ancient Olympics and their revival in the Modern Olympics. Similarly, ancient Greek athletic competitions drew well-trained, top rank athletes and large crowds of excited spectators. The Ancient Olympics endured from early Greece to the Late Roman Empire, and a hierarchical network of games extended down to other ‘Panhellenic’ games, and to local or ‘chrematitic’ (material prize) games.

This seminar will investigate the history and significance of the famous but often poorly understood phenomenon of ancient Greek athletics. Sessions will include media presentations, and participants will be responsible for reading short documents in translation and for contributing to class discussions about sport in relation to Greek history, literature, art, and architecture. Some attention necessarily will be paid to the rules and operation of events at athletic festivals, but the main focus will be on what athletics meant to Greek identity, culture, and society.

Greeks felt their sport distinguished their culture from that of other peoples, and athletic games promoted a sense of pride in the community. Local Greek states financed the maintenance of facilities, the provision of on-site prizes, and material rewards for their victors returning from major festivals. Athletic festivals offered memorable sights and spectator engagement, but some intellectuals disagreed with the popular enthusiasm for sport.

Why was sport largely the domain of citizen males, and what role did the athletic body play in concepts of beauty and masculinity? Why did Greek games combine a high tolerance for violence with religious piety? Why did athletes apply oil to their bodies and compete in the nude? Why were women not allowed to attend the Ancient Olympics? Who were the competitors, and what were their socio-economic backgrounds? Were Greek athletes models of purity and integrity, or did they conspire and cheat in ways reminiscent of contemporary professional athletes?

Understanding the ancient Greek sporting heritage will help us discuss the foundation of the Modern Olympics, the role of (male and female) sport in modern education and entertainment, and also issues of over-competition, excessive violence, and corruption in modern professional sport. Finally, a guest speaker will discuss sport in relationship to ancient and modern democratization.


About the Convener:

Donald G. Kyle, professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington, is the author of Athletics in Ancient Athens (1987), Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome (1998), Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World (2007, 2nd. ed. 2015), and co-editor of Sport History and Sport Mythology (1990) and A Companion to Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World (2014), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. An award-winning teacher, he has been an academic consultant and on-camera commentator for various film and television productions on ancient sport.

The Narrative Poetics and Cultural Politics of Toni Morrison

About the Seminar:

Beginning with an examination of her 1993 Nobel lecture, this seminar will engage participants in a mindful interdisciplinary exploration of the art and imagination of Toni Morrison. We will interrogate the connections between her ideas about language, narrative, and culture through the lens of her eleven novels and selected examples of her editing work. Seminar participants will not only consider various pedagogical approaches to Morrison’s writing, but also the challenges her novels and essays pose for readers. How has her writing changed over time? What elements of its style and substance have remained consistent? What particular strategies enable the teaching of her work and the critical questions it raises concerning race, gender, class, justice, power, and community? To answer these and related questions, participants will draw on their own reading and teaching as well as on the writing of Morrison scholars. The ultimate goal of the seminar will be to engage participants in dialogue about Toni Morrison as one of our nation’s most dynamic authors and intellectuals, and to discuss the ways in which her work has influenced our thinking about how we make meaning of our lives, mediate the complexities of our cultural locations, and navigate the intersections of race, gender, and class.

Participants will benefit from having read her novels in advance. Morning sessions will be devoted to close reading and cultural analysis of the novels; afternoons will be devoted to discussing her non-fiction and approaches to teaching her work. There will be at least two guest lectures and an opportunity to learn more about the Toni Morrison Society, which is holding its seventh biennial conference in New York City in July 2016 with a focus on Morrison’s role as editor.


About the Convener:

Marilyn Mobley is vice president for inclusion, diversity, and equal opportunity and a professor of English at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). A Toni Morrison scholar for over 28 years, she is one of the founding members of the Toni Morrison Society and now serves on its executive board. She is the author of Folk Roots and Mythic Wings in Sarah Orne Jewett and Toni Morrison: The Cultural Function of Narrative, and numerous articles and essays on Toni Morrison. She has taught African American literature, women’s literature, African American Studies, and cultural studies at Howard University, George Mason University (where she served as founding director of African American Studies), Bennett College for Women (where she served as provost), and at CWRU, where she also has taught courses on Morrison, the Harlem Renaissance, Slavery and the Literary Imagination, and Constructions of Diversity in American Culture. Her book in progress is “Spaces for the Reader: Toni Morrison’s Narrative Poetics and Cultural Politics,” and her forthcoming memoir is The Strawberry Room—And Other Places Where a Woman Finds Herself.

The Role of Faculty in Promoting Meaningful Consideration of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Across Multiple Disciplines

About the Seminar:

How can faculty reclaim their place in advancing principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion through their teaching, research, and service? Such moral, social, and political imperatives of the university have been relegated to its corporate structures, away from the classroom and away from the formal inquiry of the disciplines. After offering an explanation of how this displacement occurred and its consequences, this seminar will explore how faculty can take back a conversation that seems to be missing where it most matters, the classroom, in order to share it authentically among themselves and their students.

Our seminar is based on several years of research conducted by the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) and the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE), both affiliated with the University of Michigan (UM). It also draws upon a program of leadership development designed for presidents, provosts, deans, and faculty, which NCID offers in partnership with several national professional associations. It is premised on findings that efforts to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion are frequently based on unexamined assumptions about higher education and society, hampered by fragmentary awareness of the public discourse surrounding such social goals, and constrained by the limits institutions have placed on the scope of educators’ professional responsibility

The sessions will incorporate research on the many emerging ways in which diversity is viewed in the academy and in the public sphere, in professional and popular discourse. We will explore how the fragmentation of knowledge into disciplines has hampered our full understanding of just how complex and differentiated the world and its human societies really are. Finally, we will explore the effects that the resulting distortions have on our students and the ways they view themselves and their futures. Building on this foundation, we will work toward an appreciation and mastery of what can be done to respond to the challenge of promoting equity and inclusion on behalf of ourselves, our institutions, and those we serve.


About the Convener:

Betty Overton, John Burkhardt, and Noe Ortega are all affiliated with the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. Betty has served as a faculty member, dean, provost, and trustee at several HBCU, faith-based, and research institutions. She has also chaired the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Accreditation Agency and was the program director for higher education at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for ten years. Betty currently leads the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. In her role on the CSHPE faculty she serves as an advisor to students in the graduate program in education and social justice.

John is the director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity and a professor of higher education at UM. He also served on the program staff at the Kellogg Foundation and as a senior administrator at four different higher education institutions. John consults with the American Council on Education in shaping the direction of its leadership development programs and recently led a national initiative to secure educational opportunities for undocumented students.

Noe Ortega recently completed his doctoral dissertation, which examines policies, financial constraints, and organizational dynamics as factors shaping the success of Hispanic Serving Institutions. Before coming to Michigan, Noe served on the staff of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and in administrative and teaching roles in Japan and in the United States. He is now the assistant director of NCID, where he heads up its leadership programming.