Academic structures are typically inflexible with deep bureaucratic and highly regulated contexts. Typically, changing administrative structure is more concept than practice because of these features. Thus, trying to institute concrete, incremental change becomes a more realistic goal than broad scale that will likely only happen with major restructuring or widespread personnel change. The latter of which should still be a goal, but changes at the program and departmental level are things in which faculty and administrators can likely change more directly and in many cases have more effect on students.
TPC PAs and faculty need to consider how well your curriculum and policies are meeting the needs of diverse students and faculty. The following questions are the start to a program inclusion audit, which can be defined as a deliberate examination to systematically consider how well your program is addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Programmatic inclusion audits become a key part of the gather and read stages of the GRAM continue improvement model, and it is a necessity to program evaluation and improvement. Landscape categories for the audit should start with
The audit is still a work in progress and should always be a work in progress based on local contexts, but it does give TPC PAs and faculty a starting place in considering issues of race, ethnicity, ability, class/economics, and gender/sexuality more directly and explicitly when we build, expand, and sustain programs.
- Does the institution have a specific policy regarding equity? Is it conceptual or practical and if only conceptual are there ways you can make it more applied in your program (see below)
- Has the institution developed an equity plan of action based on the policy, mission statement, and analysis of its current equity needs?
- Does the policy clearly explain the procedures for reporting complaints, fact finding, and appeals?
- How do financial aid and cost play roles in the recruitment and retention of under-
represented student groups?
Should be considered first through a policy perspective, that is, what explicit, documented policies are in place departmentally to ensure transforming department that is committed to dismantling racist structure and commits to anti-racist multicultural diversity through policy, support, and actions.
- Can departmental policies enhance, expand, and put into action the institutional plans for diversity, equity, and inclusion? Are there ways the department should intervene differently or more concretely that can then be used as a model for the institution and other departments/units on campus?
- Is there a commitment to hiring diverse faculty in documented hiring plans? And what policies are in place to overcome bias in hiring?
- Are diversity policies in place that address race, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexuality, religion, and socioeconomic class?
- Are there policies and practices in place to move the department toward a transforming unit rather than one of symbolic change? That is, are committees and faculty actively putting into action the statements and policies or is currently only writing performance?
- Are tenure and promotion guidelines written in such a way that they are not perpetuating racist and ableist forms of scholarship or requirements?
- Do bulletin boards, displays, hall decorations, classrooms, and offices show diverse students of varied racial, ethnic, language, gender or gender identity groups, and people with disabilities in a variety of roles?
- Is the code of student conduct applied fairly and equitably to all students?
- Are their policies in place to ensure special programs, and speakers reflect the diverse nature of the institution and larger community?
Faculty and Staff
Should faculty be considered through a professional development lens, that is, how can TPC PAs help address these questions within the courses they teach.
- What opportunities exist on campus and within department to help train faculty in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion within their courses and programs?
- How are faculty being trained to Use culturally responsive pedagogy and instructional materials that reflect diversity?
- How are faculty incorporating hands on activities that center student experiences as it could relate to the course content?
- Are opportunities offered to provide dialogues between administrators, faculty, support staff and students to develop comprehensive strategies for addressing equity issues?
- Are faculty trained to identify equity needs and to use instructional methods to meet the learning preferences of diverse students and groups?
- Is professional learning delivered in ways which model techniques and authentic perspectives which are relevant to the diverse groups in the school community?
- Are staff members adequately trained in these same issues? What opportunities do they have for professional development around diversity and equity issues?
Should be considered at the program level which includes policies and practices that direct and guide all programmatic decisions.
- Does the program have a clear mission that is committed to equitable access, processes, treatment, and outcomes for all students, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, home language, disability status, gender identity/sexual orientation or socioeconomic status?
- Is all assessment data analyzed according to individual student progress as well as disaggregated patterns and outcomes by race, gender, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic status, and geographic location?
- Is the program using diverse methods and means of assessment from self reflections, portfolios, and other approaches that center learning and help to avoid bias?
- Are there program outcomes that are used as a just means of assessment and ensure students a clear understanding of the wide range of knowledge and skills which they will acquire if they stayed with the task?
- Has he program set up co-curricular activities to be inclusive? (such as not requiring internships) Are there policies and procedures to assure that no student is denied participation in co-curricular activities because of race/ethnicity, language, gender or gender identity, socioeconomics, disability status, or transportation limitations?
- Does the program encourage faculty to include texts that offer a diverse view of the content and representation of diverse author backgrounds (race, ethnicity, ability, gender, etc)
- Are requirements for the degree clearly written to account from a range of backgrounds and abilities and offered in various formats?
- Are there a wide variety of electives where students are able to see themselves in the content and the experiences?
- Has the program developed relationships with various entities on campus that provide
support services so that students can be fully supported?
- Does the program support a wide variety of instructional strategies to meet differing learning styles and backgrounds?
- What is your program doing to market itself to diverse students such as first generation studies? For example, is there information on scholarships, work study, and other financial information?
- Are advisory boards and community relationships being consulted to enrich the curriculum, provide consistently high expectations for all students, and develop supports and opportunities for all students?
- Can you obtain adequate institutional data to help drive programmatic decisions to address the students on your campus and in your program?
- Do special programs and speakers reflect the diverse nature of the school and larger community?
Curriculum and Courses
- Are expectations for students equitable regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, disability status, gender identity/sexual orientation or socioeconomic status?
- Are the instructional materials culturally inclusive and nonbiased regarding gender, sexual orientation, race, language, age, socioeconomic status, and disability?
- Do recommended textbooks and other instructional materials reflect, as much as possible, the experiences and perspectives of diversity among racial, ethnic, language, religious and gender groups?
- Is the classroom an invitational environment where commonalities are appreciated and
differences are understood and valued?
- Are discussions taking place between and among faculty about ways to diversify
readings, exercises, and projects or assignments?
- Do syllabi include the program inclusion statement and an understanding faculty will engage with the statement in class?
- Are critical educational issues addressed in ways that do not stereotype or stigmatize particular groups?
- Is content training offered to provide staff with curricular information and knowledge of multicultural print, non-print, and human resources available to enhance educational equity?
- Does the instructor structure classroom activities in order to promote student learning outcomes?
- Is the instructor considering the various socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, language, gender, and disability groups within the community when considering client and service learning projects?
- Are assessment mechanism within the class focused on the programmatic goals and clearly articulated?
- Is there space for alternative literacies within the courses and curriculum?
- Are special efforts made to achieve classroom integration when students self-segregate in the classroom (e.g. teams for contests, groups for instruction, or other forms of classroom organization)?
- Does the teacher use classroom lessons to increase awareness and counter the past effects of bias and discrimination?
Curriculum and course interventions for faculty
- Ask challenging and engaging questions?
- Communicate high expectations?
- Use culturally responsive pedagogy and instructional materials that reflect diversity?
- State requirements for successful completion of assignments clearly and definitively?
- Avoid ambiguous statements and directions? 5. Encourage students to explore new ideas and approaches to problem-solving?
- Encourage student self-assessment and evaluation to identify strengths and weaknesses?
- Analyze the impact of teaching styles on students learning and make appropriate adjustments in style? Encourage students to set realistic timetables for completing assignments.
- Help students identify milestones in reaching their goals?
- Assist students in celebrating milestones and utilizing failure as constructive learning for planning?
- Are you providing opportunities for students to relate their experiences in the curriculum and classroom?
- Provide challenging work to engage students in learning?