University Grant to Help Fund NYU Silver Faculty Development Series on Race and Racism
July 25, 2014
The NYU Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty, Arts, Humanities and Diversity has awarded three NYU Silver School of Social Work faculty members funding to create a series to improve instructor self-awareness, knowledge, and skills in facilitating classroom conversations on race and racism. Clinical Associate Professor Diane Grodney, Clinical Assistant Professor Robin Miller, and Associate Professor Tazuko Shibusawa are the principal investigators on the project.
“Our School has become increasingly diverse and international in our student body as well as curricular activities, and it is imperative that faculty are skilled in responding to complex interactions that occur in the classroom as a result of cultural and racial differences among students and instructors,” write Grodney, Miller, and Shibusawa in their grant proposal.
They note that they are “far too frequently” approached by students of color who have been hurt or marginalized by insensitive interactions in the classroom. Instructors have also asked for assistance following these microagressions. The principal investigators write, “Instructors, who are often aware that something has gone awry in classroom discussions, need to be empowered to recognize and respond to such encounters.”
This series will be comprised of web-based videos and four face-to-face workshops. The videos will depict typical incidents that occur in the classroom, and the in-person workshops will develop skills to facilitate constructive discussions around race. Key stakeholders among faculty and master’s students will participate in the project’s development.
The work will be informed by a critical race theory/anti-oppressive social work framework and focus on understanding classroom dynamics based on existing power structures. While this version focuses on race, the project can serve as a model to address other issues such as ableism, classism, sexism, and homophobia.