The University Record, January 23, 1996

CRLT's multicultural resource program up and running

By Deborah Gilbert
News and Information Services

 

The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) is launching a new multicultural program designed to enhance the learning experience for all students at the University.

"We have a new century coming," explains Constance Cook, director of CRLT. "Our students will graduate into a society with a much more diverse population than students have in the past. CRLT is helping instructors bring more varied intellectual perspectives into their courses---to broaden students' knowledge base. The result will be an improvement in the quality of a U-M education and better preparation of students for a changing world."

According to Lester P. Monts, vice provost for academic and multicultural affairs, the U-M's Council on a Multicultural University initiated the plan to establish a Multicultural Teaching and Learning Resource Program at CRLT, and the idea was endorsed enthusiastically by the University's deans and executive officers at a retreat in May 1994.

"The new component in CRLT is part of an ongoing strategic plan to infuse multiculturalism into the core of academic life at the U-M," Monts says. "It is part of our plan to create and maintain diverse perspectives in all phases of our teaching and learning programs.

"Marked by our faculty's work in national organizations such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the American Association of Higher Education, the University continues to take a leadership role in this regard, and I am particularly pleased with views we bring to these national debates.

"Our new coordinator of multicultural teaching and learning services, Shari Saunders, and our Faculty Associates have provided a vision and created diverse pathways along which new knowledge will continue to flow. It is my hope," Monts adds, "that our faculty and teaching assistants will take full advantage of these services."

The Center's program has four broad goals:

 

To help faculty and TAs expand their knowledge of multiculturalism.

 

To infuse multicultural content into course curriculum.

 

To create classroom climates that are inclusive of differences.

 

To improve pedagogical practices.

To achieve those goals, CRLT has recruited Saunders and has developed the Faculty Associates Program, the Multicultural Learning and Teaching Initiatives Fund or "MuLTIfund," and a series of multicultural workshops and programs. Additionally, the Center is offers customized consultations on multicultural teaching to units and individual faculty and TAs.

The MuLTIfund is designed to encourage innovative approaches to multicultural teaching. The fund grants up to $5,000 to units for projects that address issues of diversity in formal learning situations. MuLTIfund projects should focus on curriculum, classroom climate, and/or pedagogy. School and college administrators, department and program chairs or groups of faculty can apply forMuLTIfund grants up to June 30.

The Center's customized services, which will be tailored to meet the particular needs of a unit, will include individual retreats and workshops for groups of faculty as well as longer-term programs to develop curricular changes. CRLT also helps units design surveys of students and others---"cultural audits" that help units assess the environment for student learning. In addition, the Center has developed the Annotated Bibliography on Multicultural Teaching and Learning as a faculty resource.

Saunders, along with other CRLT staff and the Faculty Associates, will meet with faculty and departments to provide these customized services.

 

CRLT's multicultural workshops and special programs include:

Special programs

 

"Martin Luther King Day Session: Incorporating Multicultural Content and Instruction into First-Year Seminars," held last week.

The workshop gave faculty who teach first-year seminars an opportunity to collaborate on issues of curriculum, instruction and classroom dynamics. Saunders and David Ametrano, CRLT instructional consultant, led the workshop.

 

"Gender, Race and Authority in the Classroom," 3-5 p.m. March 13.

Tenure-track assistant professors and instructors will have an opportunity to discuss the special challenges faced by classroom instructors in an academic environment that is increasingly aware of racial and gender differences. Led by senior faculty, the program will be co-sponsored by CRLT, the Center for the Education of Women, the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies and the Women's Studies Program.

 

TA workshop

 

"Teaching Assistant/Undergraduate Student Multicultural Dialogues," 4:30-6:30 p.m. Mon. (Jan. 29.)

Graduate student teaching assistants and undergraduates from diverse backgrounds will share their experiences related to issues of diversity in formal learning situations. They will consider classroom climate, curriculum and pedagogy, with a focus on making the formal learning situation more inclusive and effective. The workshop will be led by Saunders and Chesler.

 

Faculty workshop

 

"Faculty/Student Multicultural Dialogues," 4-6 p.m. Feb. 12. Faculty and undergraduates from diverse backgrounds will discuss their experiences related to issues of diversity in formal learning situations, and consider climate, curriculum and pedagogy. Saunders and Chesler will lead the workshop.

Because workshop and special program enrollments are limited, interested instructors should register with CRLT by calling 764-0505 or sending e-mail to crlt@umich.edu.

CRTL announces 1996-97 faculty associates

The 1995-96 CRLT Faculty Associates are Mark Chesler, professor of sociology; Brian P. Coppola, lecturer in chemistry; and Susan Montgomery, assistant professor of chemical engineering.

Chesler's areas of interest are multicultural teaching and learning, diversity and organizational change. Coppola's are engaging students through active learning and group learning, teaching large classes, and TA development in the sciences. Montgomery's interests are learning styles, women and gender issues in the sciences and engineering, and the use of multimedia technology in the classroom.

 

The 1996-97 CRLT Faculty Associates will be Linda Groat, associate professor of architecture and urban planning; Morton Brown, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of mathematics; and Beth G. Reed, associate professor of social work and of women's studies. They will begin work in fall 1996.

Groat's interests include learning styles, the learning environment for women and minority students in architectural education, and enhancement of student learning in studio instructional settings.

Reed is interested in engaging diverse groups of students in learning, multicultural teaching and learning, active learning and TA training.

Brown plans to use his year as faculty associate to develop curricular coherence between math courses and those in the sciences and engineering.