Crystal City, Virginia
April 29, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 2, 2018
A large, public, land-grant university received an NSF-supported ADVANCE Institutional Transformation award several years ago. The innovation and core of the project is a 60-hour seminar for STEM faculty and administrators, most of whom have positional authority. The ADVANCE seminar addresses the need for ideological and structural changes across the university grounded in an intersectional understanding of identity and social structures. Through readings, lectures, films, discussions, and transformative learning practices, participants are introduced to theories of systems of oppression and encouraged to reflect on their own location within structures of power and privilege. Critical pedagogies are particularly useful in challenging participants to explore structural inequities within the university, to examine how policies, procedures, and practices have been constructed in ways that reproduce hierarchy and dominance, and to imagine a transformed future in which institutional structures and individual behaviors are both professionally and personally life-affirming for all people across their differences.
This paper describes two types of transformative learning practices that have been found particularly effective in helping ADVANCE seminar participants meet learning outcomes: critical imagery and messaging analysis, and the theatre of the oppressed. The former type of activities address the symbolic-dimension of oppression, and involve instruction in analysis of images from university and STEM marketing materials, digital boards, and laboratories. Theatre of the oppressed activities present opportunities for participants to engage in interactive performance. These activities are infused throughout the seminar to intentionally immerse participants in embodied learning experiences. This intentionality is important given that transformative learning has both cognitive and affective aspects. Depending on the actual exercise, theatre of the oppressed can foreground the personal, symbolic or institutional dimensions of oppression. Specific examples of each type of transformative learning practice will be presented and discussed.
Bothwell, M. K., & Furman, K., & Driskill, Q., & Warner, R. L., & Shaw, S. M., & Ozkan-Haller, H. T. (2018, April), Empowering Faculty and Administrators to Reimagine a Socially Just Institution through Use of Critical Pedagogies Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29528
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