During the comment period for the initial working draft of Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University (shared with the Brown community on November 19, 2015), there were 64 submissions, edits, comments, etc. in the category of curriculum (see the Proposals Received section below listing the input). Appendix D of the final DIAP summarizes how the University addressed this input in the final revisions to the DIAP.
The curriculum was a frequent topic of discussion and feedback from various sources (12 percent). Respondents called for the development of new courses, new programs, new course requirements, syllabus-construction requirements, and more support for curricular development, among other suggestions.
A relative majority of comments around curriculum (34 percent) focused on a lack of access to courses on Africa and African languages. There was discussion around the Diverse Perspectives in Liberal Learning (DPLL) requirement and whether this could be made a graduation requirement.
There were several proposals for new courses that focus on race, power, privilege, and social difference in departments other than Africana Studies and Ethnic Studies departments. Faculty and students raised the question of whether a “diversity component” could become a mandated part of every course on campus. Comments outlined a special need for including this topic in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses. One possible solution offered by the community was to provide mechanisms that encourage co-teaching and that would allow experts on diversity and inclusion to engage with students and professors in traditional STEM fields.
There was discussion around sophomore seminars and whether a focus on these as a place for diversity education is warranted, as opposed to including diversity issues in more general course development.
There were a set of calls for developing programs in Native American, U.S. Latinx, Asian American, and Disability studies. To ensure accountability, there were proposals to have College Curriculum Council (CCC) ensure inclusion of these courses/topics during reviews of courses and concentration requirements.
Proposals Received: Curriculum
- Create new credit-bearing courses in African languages (Swahili, Yoruba, Igbo, Twi, Shona, Berber, Hausa).
- Create new credit-bearing courses that focus on African sub-regions and thematic areas like history, theory, policy and politics, and culture.
- Create mechanisms to support and encourage co-teaching across disciplines to ensure diversity and inclusion in curriculum.
- Require the creation of classes that address topics of class, gender, sexuality, ability, and variations in legal status as concentration requirements specific to each department and program.
- Provide funds to support course-development workshops led by faculty where groups of five or more faculty from a division work together on developing courses related to questions of race and diversity in their fields.
- Provide curriculum-development funds that would encourage faculty to create courses on race and racism.
- Collect enrollment data on sophomore seminars to determine whether these are the best vehicles for instruction on diversity/inclusion.