Presenter Information

Stephen Paul ThompsonFollow

Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Eliot Graham

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Davidson Honors College

Abstract

Do I Belong Here? (In)Visibility in the Curriculum

The curriculum is fundamental in teaching students whose knowledge and perspectives are valid and important, and whose are not. University students from all backgrounds should be able to see themselves represented in their education. To what extent does the University of Montana reflect the true diversity of students’ experiences and identities in the classroom? My research examines how well the university is doing this within the curriculum by analyzing the available syllabi for each course listed in the Cultural and International Diversity group under the General Education requirements. The sections of the syllabi that I focused on were the course descriptions and objectives, the instructor(s) of the course, the course materials and authorship, and course offering frequency. With this information, I have found that the scope of diversity education at the University of Montana is limited and the General Education requirements do not guarantee any student receives a constructive understanding of the heterogeneity of people across the world. Beyond offering several courses that achieve sub-par expectancies for diversity education, the requisite minimum for enrollment for this particular course catalogue is three credits. This amounts to only one class in diversity education over the course of four years for every student attending the University of Montana. Furthermore, only about one-fifth of the courses offered for diversity requirements discuss issues of inequality among marginalized groups, and a small fraction of courses are related to people in North America. Not one course offered for diversity requirements discuss topics concerning LGBTQ communities or people with disabilities. The underrepresentation or exclusion of certain identity groups, including students of color, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, etc., suggests that their experiences are considered irrelevant to the official academic curriculum. Whomever is emphasized in the curriculum speaks to who the university sees as valued, leaving those unspoken for feeling invisible and insignificant.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 17th, 2:20 PM Apr 17th, 2:40 PM

Do I Belong Here? (In)Visibility in the Curriculum

UC 326

Do I Belong Here? (In)Visibility in the Curriculum

The curriculum is fundamental in teaching students whose knowledge and perspectives are valid and important, and whose are not. University students from all backgrounds should be able to see themselves represented in their education. To what extent does the University of Montana reflect the true diversity of students’ experiences and identities in the classroom? My research examines how well the university is doing this within the curriculum by analyzing the available syllabi for each course listed in the Cultural and International Diversity group under the General Education requirements. The sections of the syllabi that I focused on were the course descriptions and objectives, the instructor(s) of the course, the course materials and authorship, and course offering frequency. With this information, I have found that the scope of diversity education at the University of Montana is limited and the General Education requirements do not guarantee any student receives a constructive understanding of the heterogeneity of people across the world. Beyond offering several courses that achieve sub-par expectancies for diversity education, the requisite minimum for enrollment for this particular course catalogue is three credits. This amounts to only one class in diversity education over the course of four years for every student attending the University of Montana. Furthermore, only about one-fifth of the courses offered for diversity requirements discuss issues of inequality among marginalized groups, and a small fraction of courses are related to people in North America. Not one course offered for diversity requirements discuss topics concerning LGBTQ communities or people with disabilities. The underrepresentation or exclusion of certain identity groups, including students of color, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, etc., suggests that their experiences are considered irrelevant to the official academic curriculum. Whomever is emphasized in the curriculum speaks to who the university sees as valued, leaving those unspoken for feeling invisible and insignificant.