Vol. 2, Issue 2, October 30, 2020

Cresting the Wave

Welcome to CEETL CIRCLES—a newsletter by the Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CEETL) to foster and support Pedagogies for Inclusive Excellence (we call these PIE) at SF State and beyond. 

Drawing of SF State gator riding a rainbow wave.
Illustration by Wei Ming Dariotis

Welcome Message 
Mayuran Tiruchelvam sits in front of a laptop
"My greatest teachers did not receive a traditional education."  

Mayuran Tiruchelvam, Assistant Professor, School of Cinema; 
George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in Social Justice Fiction Filmmaking 
The concept of "education debt" addresses the material resources denied to certain communities and individuals. Combine that with financial debt facing many students, and it is utterly cruel to use university education as a corrective for things "not learned" in prior schooling.   

Gateway to Hierarchy or Gateway to Power? 
Recently a student wrote to me that "college is a scam." While that perspective may not help them to graduate from SFSU, I agree. College can be just another container to separate "haves" from "have nots," and to determine which level of power a person might be able to access. To address education debt, we must also resist the use of college as a gateway to hierarchy. 

Every student in my classroom arrives knowing more than I do about many things. I reinforce their knowledge with assignments (e.g. "imagine a fictional screenplay inspired by something you know"). This is not the same as asking a student to share their own story (which can be traumatizing without a support network). I partner the "something you know" prompt with one to imagine a screenplay "based on something you don't know (which I learned from Toni Morrison's writing on her classroom).  

I must address my own positionality when discussing systemic racism and educational debt. I am the fifth generation in my family to be "university-educated" (from the British Colonial system for my ancestors to the Sri Lankan public education system from my parents, through today). That lineage of westernized learning at home allowed me to fail forward in traditional school, where I was a "bad" student on paper (academically and behaviorally). 

My greatest teachers didn't receive a traditional education. They are formerly incarcerated folks, people who left institutional schooling as teenagers, and members of indigenous communities who grew up without westernized schools. I learned from them without grades, free of charge. To honor these teachers, I hope to radically redistribute the resources granted to me by my educational privilege. I am working to share knowledge beyond the confines of paid, for credit, classwork, and break out of the lineage of institutional educational power.
Mayuran Tiruchelvam, a new faculty member, is an award-winning screenwriter and producer with a background in community organizing and activism. His feature screenwriting debut, the neo-noir “The Girl Is in Trouble,” was released theatrically in 2015. His producing credits include the documentary features “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin” (Audience Award, SXSW 2017), about the acclaimed San Francisco author, and “To Be Takei” (Sundance in 2014), a portrait of actor, activist and pop culture icon George Takei.

CEETL Opportunities
CEETL Beetle Mascot

NEW! CEETL Offers Two New Online Micro-Courses 
The Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) is offering two new online micro-courses: Teaching Large Online Classes and Synchronous Online Teaching.  Micro-courses are short courses, focused on one topic. The format is primarily asynchronous with an optional Zoom session that will include SF State faculty sharing their own successful teaching strategies. 

In the Teaching Large Online Classes Micro-course, participants will discuss best practices to foster inclusion and student interaction in high enrollment online classes; explore assessment strategies for large student groups online; and reflect and share methods they plan to use in teaching large online classes. Faculty participants will receive $250 (pre-tax), and GTA participants will receive $110 (pre-tax) for completing the course. The course is expected to take 3-4 hours to complete, with an optional synchronous Zoom session. 

Click here to register for our Fall session of Teaching Large Online Classes, which will run from November 9, 2020 to December 7, 2020, with an optional synchronous Zoom session on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please note that space for the course is limited, but we will be hosting a second session in January (dates TBD).


In the Synchronous Online Teaching micro-course, participants will identify best practices around etiquette, privacy, and security in Zoom sessions and consider how those might be applied to their own course; share strategies for engaging students in Zoom; and examine principles of low bandwidth teaching and resilient course design through the lens of synchronous teaching. Faculty participants will receive $250 (pre-tax), and GTA participants will receive $110 (pre-tax) for completing the course. The course is expected to take 3-4 hours to complete, with an optional synchronous Zoom session. 

Click here to register for our Fall session of Synchronous Online Teaching, which will run from November 9, 2020 to December 7, 2020, with an optional synchronous Zoom session on Friday, November 13,2020 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Please note that space is limited, but we will be hosting a second session in January (dates TBD).
Juliana van Olphen in a Zoom session
Juliana van Olphen, Director, Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines; Associate Professor of Pubic Health
Jolie Goorjian in a Zoom session
Jolie Goorjian, Associate Director, Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines; Lecturer Faculty in English Language & Literature & Comparative Literature.
Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines (WAC/WID), now part of CEETL, announces a workshop series. Workshops will be followed by a ½ office hour where we can discuss any issues related to teaching writing. Advance registration is not required.  

WAC/WID Workshop: Instructor Response:
November 4, & November 12, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
This session will begin with a 15-20 minute presentation on best practices related to grading and assessing student writing, followed by discussion among faculty present about their own grading and assessment strategies and what works best. For the last ½ hour, we will open up the discussion to any topics related to teaching and assessing writing. Consider joining for all of the session or any part of it! This session will be repeated twice. The presentation will be recorded so faculty can access this through our Writing PIE iLearn site. Please contact if you would like to be added to that iLearn site. 

WAC/WID Workshop: Syllabus and Assignment Design:
December 14, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

In anticipation of the spring term, this session will begin with a 30-minute presentation on best practices related to designing a syllabus for a writing-intensive course and on effectively scaffolding and designing assignments throughout the course in order to help students build skills incrementally. For the last ½ hour, we will open up the discussion to any topics related to teaching and assessing writing. Consider joining for all of the session or any part of it! The presentation will be recorded so faculty can access this through our Writing PIE iLearn site. Please contact if you would like to be added to that iLearn site.  

Check the CEETL Upcoming Events webpage to access the Zoom link for both workshops. Individual consultations are also available. Please email  

WAC/WID is also currently developing an online teaching institute similar to the QLT Online Teaching Lab and Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Institute. Upon completion of this program, faculty will receive a stipend funded through a CARES-2 (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act allocation to support the transition to remote instruction. More information is forthcoming.
Angie Petty poses for a photo
"Whole Forum Grading allows faculty to add a point value and grading rubric to an established iLearn Forum Activity."

Angie Petty, CEETL Instructional Designer & Consultant
Effective and transparent grading of iLearn Forums has become simpler with the use of Whole Forum Grading. As an Instructional Designer for CEETL's Teaching & Learning Team, I frequently support faculty who are seeking to improve their student engagement strategies while exploring ways to streamline their grading process. 

Whole Forum Grading allows faculty to add a point value and grading rubric to an established iLearn Forum Activity. This interface allows faculty to see each student's posts on a single page. By adding a rubric, faculty are providing students with a well-defined message of the expectations that need to be met in their posts. The rubric also allows the faculty member to convey to the student that they have shown evidence of their understanding of the assignment criterion with the touch of a button. 

If you would like to learn more about how to enable Whole Forum Grading into your iLearn Forums, please visit this Academic Technology support page or schedule an appointment with one of the CEETL Instructional Designers by emailing:

Our Partners in Teaching

Academic Technology

A portrait of Cristian Alvarado
"Academic Technology is always happy to help with any technology questions. Students don't have to struggle alone; we're here to help."

Cristian Alvarado, AT Services Lead, Academic Technology 

New Zoom feature highlight: Self-selected Breakout Rooms.  Breakout rooms in Zoom allow a meeting host to break a meeting into smaller sub-groups for group-based activities. Participants in the meeting can then have discussions with anyone else in their breakout room, and the host can float between the groups to answer questions as the session progresses. At the end of the group work session, the host can then call participants back to the main room. 

This month, Zoom has added the ability for self-selected breakout rooms, allowing hosts to configure their breakout rooms so that participants can pick and choose which room they wish to participate in themselves. This feature requires both the host and participants to be on at least Zoom version 5.3.2 or above in order to work. For more information on breakout rooms:

iLearn Updates 
It's that time of year again. On Friday, October 30, 2020, iLearn courses from the Fall 2017 through Summer 2018 semesters will no longer be accessible to instructors and students in the My Courses area of iLearn. Instructors can create a backup of their Fall 2017 through Summer 2018 courses by following the instructions in this support document.

iLearn provides instructor and student access to courses for two years from a course’s completion date. Courses that have exceeded the two-year mark are then retired each October, but instructors may request a backup of course content for one additional year. If you have questions regarding the maintenance or would like help backing up your files, please contact Academic Technology at or 415-405-5555. 

New AT website 
The Academic Technology website has been relaunched using the new Drupal 8 web template. Our relaunched site features an interactive “How Do I…” menu selection, a comprehensive list of supported services, and up to date resources to support students and faculty in direct support of teaching, learning and academic excellence at SF State. Check it out at 

Get support and stay connected 
AT is here to support you and your students.

  • Hours: Monday - Thursday 8:00AM to 7:00PM, Friday 8:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Phone: (415)405-5555
  • Email:
  • Chat: Inside of the iLearn help block in every iLearn course

For the latest updates, tips and tricks, and information about AT at SF State, follow us on Twitter (@at_sfsu)!

Academic Senate
This section features recent discussions and actions in the Academic Senate that impact teaching. 
David Olsher poses for a photo
"Letting students know about their options can go a long way toward relieving the stress of remote learning during the pandemic."

David Olsher, Chair, Student Affairs Committee of the Academic Senate; Associate Professor, Department of English Language & Literature
Recently a memo went out to all faculty with a copy of the Resolution in Continued Support of SF State Students during the COVID-19 CrisisThis resolution provides flexibility to students by moving the deadline to select a CR/NC grading basis to the end of the semester.  This is not as much flexibility as was available to students last spring, but hopefully this will still help to lower the stress on our students during this time of remote learning and all other challenges they face during the ongoing pandemic. 

Credit/No Credit Option: The focus of the Senate Resolution is a request for SF State to extend the deadline for students to select a CR/NC grading basis to the end of finals week.  To assure that students really have this option and grades are not assigned before students exercise their choice, faculty grade rosters will not open until after the student option to change grading basis closes.  

Withdrawal from courses policy: Passed in the Academic Senate last spring and implemented this semester, the updated withdrawal policy gives students more control and streamlines the process.  During weeks 4-12 of the semester, students can initiate a withdrawal through the MySFSU portal.  (Students are encouraged on the portal to consult with faculty and advisors to understand the impact of their choices.)  The approval process is fully online, and students only need to briefly describe their reasons.  No documentation is required during this period. From week 13 until the end of classes, students can initiate withdrawals using the same online process, except that they need to upload documentation of their reasons.  Information on the Withdrawal process is available on this Registrar’s Web page.  

Options this fall are more limited than last semester. In spring 2020, many exceptions were allowed by the Chancellor’s Office, but this fall we do not have the same flexibility.  Below is a summary of options available in spring and fall 2020. 

CR/NC options Spring 2020 (many special exceptions) 
  • Grading basis change available to students until end of finals 
  • CR/NC option available for all courses (regular restrictions waived) 
  • CR grades did not count toward maximum number of CR units that can count toward a degree   
CR/NC options Fall 2021 (only deadline is changed) 
Grading basis change available to students until end of finals 
  • CR/NC option only available for courses that already allow CR/NC option 
  • CR grades count toward maximum number of CR units allowed toward a degree  
I hope this provides a useful update on the options students have and the ways we as faculty and staff can help to advise and support them as they make their way through their studies during this challenging time.  Letting students know about their options can go a long way toward relieving the stress of remote learning during the pandemic. We can help make this work by providing timely information on grades during the semester and encouraging students to seek academic advising so that they can make informed choices that support their needs as well as their academic and professional goals.

TEA Task Force
Wei Ming Dariotis being interviewed on local news about the theft at the Toy Boat Cafe
"Eventually, we may participate in an intersegmental teaching effectiveness assessment system for all of public higher education in California." 

Wei Ming Dariotis, Faculty Director, Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning; Professor, Asian American Studies Department; Affiliate Faculty Educational Leadership Doctoral Program
Student evaluations. Raise your hand if you love them, just the way they are.  In the fall of 2018, I began a quest to discover a better way to assess teaching effectiveness as my CEETL Fellow Legacy project. Working with other CEETL Fellows, then-Faculty Director Amy Kilgard, and AVP of Teaching and Learning Maggie Beers, I started a process of investigation into the scholarship on student evaluations, much of which revealed that they are biased and may have little to do with either evaluating or improving teaching effectiveness, and broad consultation. 

Meetings with committees of the Academic Senate led to the development of a Task Force on Teaching Effectiveness Assessment, which has just launched. Some of the principles with which we begin our work:   
  • Alignment with the California Faculty Association (a CFA representative from the SF State local chapter is on the committee; CFA President Charles Toombs and CFA Bargaining Chair Kevin Wehr are also in consultation).  
  • Recognition of the value of formative assessment, which happens during a process and generally supports the personal and professional development of the faculty member as a teacher, as distinct from summative assessment, which happens at the end of a process and usually supports decisions related to retention, tenure, and promotion.
  • Alignment of teaching effectiveness assessments with institutional, college, program, and course outcomes.  
  • Acknowledgement that teachers are learners, engaged in life-long learning about teaching, and require appropriate supports for their success.
  • Commitment to provide professional development to support assessment goals.  

We can achieve these goals by aligning our assessment practices and policies with our institutional mission of social justice through education, while maintaining a deep commitment to increasing student success and persistence. This will allow us to achieve our mission at all levels of the institution, by recognizing, honoring, and supporting the efforts of all those who are engaged in the promoting social justice. 

We are also in communication with similar groups at other campuses in the CSU, in the UC system, and in the Community College system. Eventually, we may participate in an intersegmental teaching effectiveness assessment system for all of public higher education in California, currently on pause due to the current pandemics.

PIE Bites: Pedagogies for Inclusive Excellence in Bite-Size!
Drawing of rainbow slice of pie

PIE Bite Spotlight: Cultural Humility  

PIE Bite Spotlight: Cultural Humility
Arising from the work of medical professionals seeking to prevent misdiagnoses, cultural humility is a term coined by Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-Garcia (1998). Rather than focusing on "mastering" diverse cultures (a.k.a. cultural competency), cultural humility focuses on life-long learning and development through reflection.

This section begins with the first in a series of Conversations on JEDI PIE with Vivian Chavez, and is followed by reflections shared by faculty participating in the JEDI PIE (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Pedagogies for Inclusive Excellence) Institute.
Vivian Chavez photo
"I thought I was done learning how to be an engaged instructor.

Vivian Chavez, Associate Professor, Department of Public Health
When the pandemic struck, I felt so much resistance to shifting from face to face teaching to remote and online teaching.  
The Pedagogy of Cultural Humility
A Conversation on JEDI PIE with Vivian Chavez, Part 1: “Constructive Discomfort”

WMD: How have you been experiencing cultural humility recently?

VC: When the pandemic struck, I felt so much resistance to shifting from face to face teaching to remote and online teaching. With the support of CEETL over the summer and the OTL (Online Teaching Lab) and JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) Institute, and already having an iLearn site, it wasn’t actually that hard, but it was hard to for me to feel like I was losing the “behind the scenes” curriculum like laughter in the classroom, impromptu potlucks, going outside, shifting the desks, etc. I didn’t have trouble with the technology, I had trouble with letting go of what was working. Plus, I thought I was done learning how to be an engaged instructor. Cultural humility is remembering how much I still need to learn. Faculty feel pressure to be experts and one of the qualities of cultural humility is being a life-long learner. 

WMD: Where were you most experiencing resistance?

VC: I'm a Zoom “baby.” No one likes to be a beginner again and again. 

WMD:  What have you learned from teaching wellness in the context of cultural humility and utilizing principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion?

VC: Wellness principles need to be imbued with JEDI principles or we are left with a wellness community that is white, upper middle class, thin, able-bodied, etc.  Students of color are only being taught to look at the problem, to examine structural oppression and external forces of inequality - this is disempowering and unfair.  Students aren’t used to seeing people of color as wellness practitioners bringing  cultural diversity with joy and combining  community care into self-care.

Students may feel uncomfortable when asked to interact with people they don’t know or to question their beliefs or shift to other perspectives that are unfamiliar. This  discomfort in turn can be constructive because it pushes us out of the habitual comfort zone into a learning/growth zone. If the movement or other experiential activity is too uncomfortable, our muscles tense, we resist and contract. But, we can find the threshold between what is too uncomfortable and the spot where discomfort can be a place of growth, learning happens.

WMD: How can working in community help us deal with this discomfort?

VC: Cultural humility in this moment is remembering we need community, and remembering we are not alone or separate.  We can partner  with other faculty and with our students to work together and feel supported in this new landscape.

I think a lot about a blind student who took my class one semester. He taught me a lot because I didn’t want to let go of the movement and creativity I’ve used to energize my class.  Before the semester started we corresponded via email about why and how my classroom is interactive through art and movement. He met me halfway. We communicated a lot about what my intentions were and what his needs were and we made adjustments to allow his comfort in participation. There was one time when the entire class was uncomfortable because his expression and movements were unfamiliar, but he wanted to be “seen” and participate fully!  He taught us all a lot about how to stay with our discomfort until we could shift. He wanted to hold my hand before and after class, which made me uncomfortable. I was worried that other students would see this and find it inappropriate, but for him it was the language of greeting and community. He needed to be able to feel a sense of belonging, to feel accepted as well as to understand my mood and where I was in order to trust the learning environment. (to be continued in Part 2: “Bias”)
Fang-yu Chou sits in front of a red wall
"A classroom is more than a knowledge processing hub." 

Fang-yu Chou, Professor & Associate Director for Graduate Programs, School of Nursing 
As I reflect on all current events that we are experiencing, I find that cultural humility is a crucial principle to help us create a nurturing and inclusive learning environment.  A classroom is more than a knowledge processing hub to make sure students can pass exams and write APA-error-free papers. A learning environment is a safe place where students and learners can grow through social interactions and modeling. Often, students look up to professors and mentors for advice and wisdom. Students have the opportunities to challenge or to be challenged about ideas, thoughts, and values. 
Mark Bautista stands at a desk in front of a green screen.
"Let's all get free."

Mark A. Bautista, Ethnic Studies and Education Coordinator, Metro College Success Program; Lecturer Faculty, Race & Resistance Studies & Health Education   
First and foremost, I am a family man. I am a father of three beautiful Filipinx children and a loving husband to an amazing Pinay healer.  My position as a family man makes me approach this work in a specific way. As an instructor, I'm trying my best to engage students in transforming the inequitable world that we live in. I teach in hopes that this generation of students will make this world a better place for my kids to grow up and thrive in. 

I am a Pinoy that was born and raised by immigrant parents who left their home in the Philippines. They immigrated to the U.S. so that my brother and I could "gain a better life and education in America." To our family back in the Philippines, it looks like my family and I made it in the U.S., and in many ways, we have. But also being Filipinx and a person of color has brought about many challenges and hardships that we continue to deal with daily. 

I am a first-generation college student who started at community college and made my way to becoming a doctor of philosophy in education. I make sure that I use my position and privilege as a doctor and teacher to help students gain access to an equitable education and beyond. Each one, teach one. 

I am a man and am constantly working through my privilege as a heterosexual male of color. I am listening, observing, and learning from women and other gendered and non-gendered individuals about how I myself perpetuate heteropatriarchy and what I must do to dismantle it in and out of the classroom. 

Lastly, I'm a revolutionary. I'm doing whatever I can to get rid of white supremacy and racism with my family and with my students. Let's all get free.
Casey Nesbit sitting at a desk in her home office.
"One way I practice believing students is by assuming they are totally engaged ..." 

Casey Nesbit, Assistant Professor, UCSF/SFSU Graduate Program in Physical Therapy
I cannot articulate my own particular way of thinking about racism well because I'm still doing the work to understand it.  From my position of white privilege, it feels like I can now just see the tip of the iceberg. I've had 60 years to be ingrained in systemic racism but now see the urgency to dispel those assumptions. Knowing I need to understand so much more, I'm grateful for communities such as the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) cohort. 

In my online courses, I guide students to learn about the communities with whom they identify. For example, when I teach principles of community engagement, one of the activities is to research the community health needs of a community with whom they identify. By sharing their community health needs assessment with others, they help create a broader sense of who we are and who we serve in our profession (physical therapy). Also, when I gather feedback from students about my course, I often ask a question about how this course relates to their prior experience to acknowledge the importance of relevance to their personal journey. 

One way I practice believing students is by assuming they are totally engaged in class even though they are just a name in a black box. I have found that I need to believe that every student is actively listening even though they may not be able to turn on/or may prefer not to turn on their video. If I don't believe they are with me, I find I've lost the connection that is so important to making meaning of the material together.
The many faces of Maricel Santos.
"I don't think the claim 'that's just good teaching' is ... satisfactory."

Maricel Santos, Professor, Department of English Language & Literature
I am also thinking about what equitable policies can and should look like if we are to truly embrace the social justice mantle in our teaching.  As I reflect on my trajectory as a teacher, I recognize that I was already using teaching and assessment practices (e.g., accepting late work, allowing re-submissions, using portfolios that recognize growth not only one-shot performances, allowing learners to shape the standards that will be used to evaluate their work, etc.), but I didn't think of these practices as comprising an equitable pedagogical framework. 

To me, they were just hallmarks of high-quality andragogy. The world of schooling, however, has changed since my training days. And I don't think the claim "that's just good teaching" is a satisfactory justification. The equity frame elevates the significance of these practices. I don't fully grasp the promise and responsibility that framework invokes, but I hope to get there.  
XiaoHang Liu sits at a desk
"I hope the exercise will help students acknowledge the aboriginal communities and other people ..."

XiaoHang Liu, Professor, Department of Geography & Environment  
To meaningfully incorporate something like Land Acknowledgment in my course, I plan to have a warm-up exercise in the first class meeting.  Students will be divided into groups based on the California region they are from or their geographical preference. Each group will then lead a discussion on the history of that California region, their experience of living in that region, and the culture shocks they had when they first moved to the Bay Area. Such an activity is natural for any class, since most of our students are from California. I hope the exercise will help students acknowledge the aboriginal communities and other people who shaped the land they reside on today. From there, I will introduce my class policy on diversity, equity, and openness. 
Chef Timothy Shaw poses for a photo
"I found it telling that I had to prod some students to pick [Indigenous cultures] as a choice."

Chef Timothy Shaw, Chef Instructor; Lecturer Faculty, Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management 
In my "Food and Culture" course, I have the students sign up at the beginning of the semester, in groups of two, to do a deep dive into a variety of different cuisines and cultures from Europe, the Americans, and Africa (there is a separate course for Asian cuisines).  

This semester, I introduced as one of the choices "Indigenous Cultures" and allowed the students to decided what aspect to look at and how the many indigenous cultures are reflected in foods we eat today. I found it telling that I had to prod some students to pick that as a choice, as it always seems easier to jump on Italian or Mexican or German food, but I got a good group to do some work that so far has been very interesting. I am looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Agnes Hong sits at a desk, posing for a photo
" ... I ... make a conscious effort not to superimpose my own experiences and beliefs on my students ..."

Agnes Hong, Lecturer Faculty, Department of English Language & Literature
I am an English composition instructor who works primarily with ESL students.  My interest in obtaining an  English with a focus on teaching English as a Second Language was borne out of my own experience as an immigrant. 

I hold the belief that my background serves as a point of connection with my students, However, participating in the JEDI PIE forced me to think more about what it means to be an Asian American teacher. I've come to learn that sharing the identity of an immigrant is quite superficial, which gave me pause to mull over how my identities diverge from my students.  

For example, being an East Asian American who was typecast as a model minority throughout all my school years sure shaped my experience in different ways, even from some of my Southeast Asian American students. While there remain common identities that are entry points to gain trust from the ESL students, it would be disingenuous to claim I've experienced all the challenges they face. Thus, it is important that I acknowledge and appreciate that each of my students has unique circumstances that influence what they bring into the classroom. With this recognition, I take responsibility to make a conscious effort not to superimpose my own experiences and beliefs on my students, which includes not only adjusting my expectations of what they bring into the classroom, but also meeting them where they are.
Tina Bartolome poses for a photo

"JEDI PIE feels like an anchor ... as I navigate these waters."

Tina Bartolome, Associate Director of Curriculum and Faculty Development, Metro College Success Program

Most of my experience as an educator is outside of formal academic settings — in grassroots, non-profit spaces, training community organizers, or running creative writing workshops for High School age young women of color.  

Teaching online for undergraduate students is a new terrain. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the logistics and then stray from centering my commitment to create and uphold an anti-racist pedagogy and inclusive, equitable engagement. JEDI PIE feels like an anchor to keep me grounded as I navigate these surrounding waters, learning the tools while continuing to deepen my capacity to be an anti-racist educator in 2020 and beyond. 

PIE Bite Spotlight: Centering Student Voices

PIE Bite Spotlight: Centering Student Voices
Centering students voices is a key component of pedagogies of inclusive excellence.
Wen-Wen Li poses for a photo
"I should step out of my comfort zone ..."

Wen-Wen Li, Level 4 Coordinator & Associate Professor, School of Nursing  
As an Asian American, I was raised to keep my voice silent and to listen to what other people say.  Also, I have insufficient training in making my voice heard in public and to lobby the issue that I would like to bring up in the legislative environment. I should step out of my comfort zone to not only have my voice heard but to also encourage my students to do so, especially my students of color.

Thus, I plan to ask my students to use social media or any professional pathways, such as present in a conference or publish in a journal article, to make their voice heard. I am currently serving on an editorial board for Asian Pacific Island (API) Nursing Journal, and I will promote the journal more broadly to both faculty and students about health disparities in the API populations. I will take small steps in different perspectives to help "de-center white media" or "publication" for our education and healthcare system. 
Altina Delfino poses for a photo
"I explain to them ... how I'm adjusting and improvising."

Atina Delfino, Academic Advisor & Teaching Faculty, Department of Public Health
This year has been a historical moment and unearthed so much, and I just feel we need to do our part and help create the space to process and relate and uncover more.  I check-in with my students via forum discussions and synchronous Zoom classes, but of course, it does not feel the same as face to face. I am honest and tell my students this; I explain to them how this activity or feedback would have gone if we were in the physical classroom, and this is how I'm adjusting and improvising. 

I also meet with my students in their groups (yes, this is usually outside the synchronous time block) as it gives me time to look at and chat with 4 - 5 students. They are more likely to have their video on, talk, and engage more, and it helps me get to know them better and answer questions about class topics or assignments or campus services or whatever they need. On the weeks this is required, I do not have my synchronous class session. Yes, the total "n" of minutes for that class that week is higher, but the level of engagement, trust, and community building is strong and completely worth it.
Jennifer Beach poses for a photo
"Creating opportunities to 'co-generate' ideas is the most intriguing and rewarding challenge." 

Jennifer Beach, Lecturer Faculty, Department of English Language & Literature  
I teach first-year students at a diverse and dynamic, underfunded and historically important California State University.  I love teaching people at this age because they are wide open in a special way — a way that might never be quite replicated. I am acutely aware of the fact that I am one of the only white people in the room and that I hold the position of greater power in that space. I hold close the duality that they have come to me to acquire specific skills and acculturation, even as I am looking to them for skills in how to reach and support them and their sisters and brothers. Creating opportunities to "co-generate" ideas is the most intriguing and rewarding challenge I face in the classroom.
Macy Salzberger sits at a desk with a dog
"I hope to scaffold the assignments so that they can ... reflect on their own experiences."

Macy Salzberger, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy
From my Ethics in Medicine course, I assign a case study analysis. While I have encouraged students to choose case studies that are meaningful to them, most default to classic cases.  For future semesters, I hope to scaffold the assignment so that they can find an ethical dilemma that is meaningful for their lives and allows them to reflect on their own experiences. This might mean collaborating with the Library, so students can get support in researching relevant legal cases or news articles on ethical dilemmas in a medical setting in their communities. Hopefully, students can also enrich the course materials by bringing their own expertise on the dilemma at hand to the conversation.  
Jaimy Mann poses for a photo
"One thing I do to center our students' cultures, histories, communities ... is to continue to integrate resources that are diverse ... "

Jaimy Mann, Lecturer Faculty, Race and Resistance Studies Department 

One thing I do to center our students' cultures, histories, communities, families, experiences, and voices in the context of my online course is to continue to integrate resources that are diverse and more proportionate to the student demographic.  I include more Latinx and Filipinx experiences. I also share materials published in [Golden Gate] XPress. There are really excellent Indigenous resources in the most current newsletter that are off my radar and student-focused (Native TikTok, Indigenous beauty & shopping). 

In the past, I have required oral history projects using the StoryCorps app. I eliminated it this semester, despite it being a favorite; instead, I now encourage students to interview a family member by sharing meaningful past examples where, for instance, students interviewed their parents about crossing the border. However, I 100 percent open it up to them interviewing any friend or person of their choosing; I do this because I have a fractured relationship with my own family, and I do not want to traumatize students by requiring them to interview family. 

Closing the Circle: Letter from the Editor
Wei Ming poses for a photo
"When the wave starts to crash, remember that you are not on the ocean alone. We are together..." 

Wei Ming Dariotis, Faculty Director, Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning; Professor, Asian American Studies Department; Affiliate Faculty Educational Leadership Doctoral Program
As we crest the wave of this 2020 Fall semester, we are attempting to hold the center for ourselves, our families, our communities — and our students. It is a challenging balance.  We are navigating the realities of health and racism pandemics and the tension around the presidential election while still working to achieve learning outcomes. 

Outside Break
How do we do all this, and maintain a sense of community in online classes? Zoom fatigue is real, and at this point in the semester, it is deeply set in. How do you create community while looking at blank screens, or when students do not attend synchronous class sessions?

There are a million little signs that you use to assess if they are ready to ask a question or if they need more information — signs you cannot read if their screens are dark. And students have a million legitimate reasons for shutting off the cameras. Let them know why it matters and how seeing them helps you know them and thus better care for them. And give them alternatives, like posting comments in chat.

It’s ok to let your students know that teaching is a relational performance, and you need to know what they are thinking and feeling just as much as they need to know what is going on for you. The old adage, “students don’t care what you know until they know that you care” has a corollary: “teachers need to know their students in order to be able to take care of students’ needs.”

Making synchronous classes highly interactive can ensure active participation. 

The presidential election feels like a riptide that can knock us off our feet even if we are looking out for it. It is a challenge to move from processing these issues personally to figuring out how to manage them in your class, especially a class that is not about politics, history, or society.

How do we acknowledge these things that are happening in the world around us without imposing our political views on our students or opening the possibility of a caustic debate? Using the approach of cultural humility, which allows us to explore what we do not know, may be a solution. You can let your students see that you are a whole person who feels and thinks and who does not shut off the external world in order to teach, but rather, teaches with renewed purpose fueled by your connections.

It can help increase a feeling of belonging and inclusion when teachers welcome all learners in a shared community that recognizes and values differences. 

Hang Ten
What are some lessons from the current context that could be useful to your class? Maybe about how to communicate when working on a team? The way that subtle language choices can have profound meaning? Or are there other ways that you might create space for your students to incorporate the current context into the work they are doing in your course?

With the work I have been doing to support CEETL’s JEDI PIE Institute, and workshops on anti-racism and Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, I have helped facilitate for a variety of departments, I have been personally renewed by your hope and dedication.

When the wave starts to crash, remember that you are not on the ocean alone. We are together in this, and we are a powerful force. 

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