Professional Development Session Explores Social Identifiers

During the March 29 faculty professional development day immediately following Spring Break, all EA faculty participated in a session on social identifiers.

During the presentation, faculty reflected on and discussed their own identifiers like age, ethnicity, gender identity, family make-up, and regional background. In small groups, they explored how to make students and colleagues more comfortable sharing their non-visible identifiers.

In discussing identifiers that aren't visible, the DEI team shared a chart from the SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project that defines segments of self-knowledge and demonstrates that, at any given time, we are focusing mainly on the small amount of information that we do know, rather than the large amount of information that we don't know. Further, the information that we do not know is broken into two pieces: a small, "what we know we don't know," versus a much larger, "What we don't know we don't know." Recognizing the vast amount of information that we don't know what we don't know helps us to build connection, communicate respectfully with an intent to learn, and develop empathy.

Faculty then reflected on situations during which they initially snapped to judgment before learning the full story, and identified actionable steps to connect with students' non-visible identities in an effort to build meaningful relationships.