MLK Day Recap: A Summary of the Curricular Transformation Event

The Curricular Transformation panel heard from two academic units that are in the process of revising their curricula, instructional methods and requirements to interrogate issues of race, power and privilege. 

The panelists were Classical and Medieval Studies Professors Laurie O’Higgins, Mark Tizzoni and Grace Gillies, and Theater and Dance Professors Katalin Vecsey and Tim Dugan. The panel was facilitated by Education Professor Mara Tieken. The Curricular Transformation was supported by the Mellon Curricular Transformation Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The panelists discussed how they built consensus and support within their departments to revise them, as well as challenges they faced, progress they made and what they envision for the future. 

Both academic units found that, with a few exceptions, department members were enthusiastic about the opportunity before them despite the significant time commitment.

As a result of this process, both academic units have worked to implement concrete changes. Some of the adjustments include developing new classes, hosting lecture series, giving anonymous feedback surveys to students and creating groups to provide students with voices. 

In the future, Professor Dugan envisions creating a department handbook containing some of the best practices to create an inclusive and anti-racist classroom. He hopes this will ensure that anti-racist culture in the classroom stays constant and isn’t reliant on any one department member.