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June 5, 2020

A Message to the ACUE Community

Dear Colleagues,

We teach because we believe in the power of education to transform lives. But the events of the past week leave us doubtful. The barriers of racial, economic, political, and medical inequality feel nearly insurmountable, the challenges too great.

Yet as educators we also know, perhaps better than most, that transformation is possible. We live this positive change together with our students, as they learn and discover and go on to lead fulfilling, contributing lives. These are the hopeful stories which we have the honor to help write.

Thank you for the work you do every day. We know how challenging it is and will be in the coming months. Thank you for the opportunity to support this work. ACUE is dedicated to developing the inclusive and respectful classes that every student needs to learn, and that model the communities and country in which we seek to live. We’re so proud of the work ACUE-credentialed faculty do to support students and promote equity. 
We are committed to supporting our partners, faculty and students in finding a better way forward, together.    
Susan Cates, Chief Executive Officer
Jonathan Gyurko, PhD, President and Co-Founder
Penny MacCormack, EdD, Chief Academic Officer
The Bottom Line: Helping Students Thrive
Shauntae Brown White, Ph.D., ACUE-credentialed associate professor in the Department of Mass Communication at North Carolina Central University, cultivates a supportive and inclusive learning environment for her students—in the physical and virtual classrooms.

As an instructor who prioritizes student success, White carefully considers how to foster an environment most conducive to collaborative learning and critical thinking. Creating meaningful connections and discussing relevant issues also plays a key role in her courses. 

“[Students] get more out of it when they are engaged—and engaged with other learners,” White said.
At the beginning of the semester, she has her students participate in a jigsaw method activity with their syllabus. And throughout the semester, she continues to employ five to six minute team-building activities during her classes. 
“Some professors might say ‘that’s five or six minutes that I can’t afford to waste.’ But I think it really makes an impact on creating a culture that is safe for learning,” White said. 

White recently earned the University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching. One of 17 honorees in 2020, White was recognized for being an outstanding faculty member making extraordinary contributions in the University of North Carolina System.
Read more and watch video
View more stories
Expert Insights: Inclusive Teaching
Our classes are microcosms of the world in which we live. We've curated these previously-published ACUE expert perspectives on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Classroom Diversity and Inclusive Pedagogy by Dr. Amer F. Ahmed and Shayla Herndon-Edmunds
An increase in conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion have caused faculty to reconsider their pedagogy and how to best meet the needs of the rapidly diversifying students in our classrooms. Amer Ahmed and Shayla Herndon-Edmunds remind us that it is not an overnight process and share recommendations.

How an Inclusive Teaching Approach Helped Us Build a More Inclusive Curriculum for Our University by Dr. Kelly Hogan and Dr. Viji Sathy
Tasked with evaluating the general education curriculum at UNC, Viji Sathy and Kelly Hogan immediately found inequity in how students navigated the course selection. They investigated how to reduce differences between students who know ‘how to college’ and those who are first-generation students. Read how they discovered that structure was an effective solution to reduce inequities.

Insights: The Complexity of the Inclusive Classroom Dynamic by Dr. Terri Jett
Terri Jett reflects upon her graduate studies, where she was introduced to a text written by Dr. Cornel West that helped shape her view on her work as an academic. She writes how that text helps her create an inclusive classroom space.

Giving a Voice to Students’ Opposing Views: Creating Conditions for Respect and Inclusivity in Class Discussions by Dr. Harry Brighouse
Harry Brighouse teaches contemporary moral issues and his students often argue for (or against) various, sometimes controversial, points of view. Discover his tips for building mutual respect for successful discussions.
Partner Spotlight: College of the Desert
ACUE YearbookWhen College of the Desert couldn't host an on-campus celebration for faculty who recently completed ACUE's course in Effective Teaching Practices, the administration got creative and created an ACUE Class of 2020 Yearbook. The digital publication includes messages from campus leaders and reflections from the faculty. Congratulations!

View the yearbook
Partner News
California State University Channel Islands: CSUCI selected to participate in nationwide program to enhance virtual and in-person learning (Amigos 805)

California State University Northridge: Summer training helps faculty offer engaging, accessible fall courses (CSUN Today)
Tarleton State University: Tarleton faculty to participate in national instructional excellence initiative (The Flash Today)

News in Brief

The latest news and opinions in higher education.
Calls for Change
Leaders from institutions around the country respond to the murders of George Floyd and other African Americans, expressing outrage at acts of racism and police brutality and calling for healing across their communities. "In turbulent times, self-reflection and education can be keys to positive change," writes P. Barry Butler, president of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (Inside Higher Ed)

How Higher Ed Can Fight Racism: ‘Speak Up When It’s Hard’
Sirry Alang, an associate professor of sociology and health, medicine, and society at Lehigh University, offers recommendations for college leaders on responding to racial bias. She urges institutions, faculty, staff, and administrator to recognize racism and white supremacy and describe exact actions they're taking to protect students of color, as well as "honestly relinquish" white privilege and speak up. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Will Higher Ed’s ‘Culture’ Help Colleges Navigate Their Future? Or Make It Tougher?
According to panelists Goldie Blumenstyk spoke to, this time of economic hardship is impacting the culture of higher education in many ways. On the positive side, faculty are dedicated to students. For example, art professors at the University of Delaware sent fabric samples to students in a textile-conservation course to help them continue their studies. However, there are some downsides, such as higher education’s tendency to “revere process over action.” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Surviving the Pandemic: Suggestions for Liberal Arts Colleges
Given that face-to-face instruction may not be possible come fall, Helene Meyers urges small liberal arts schools to innovate in order to “deliver on what they already do best.” This, she writes, includes prioritizing safety and planning for a hybrid model, with small-group Zoom meetings to foster community and career coaching, such as first-year tutorials and research seminars, among other suggestions. (Inside Higher Ed)

Fostering Care and Community at a Distance
Sean Michael Morris, like other instructors, found the abrupt pivot to an entirely online learning environment chaotic. Still, he’s been focusing on care for himself, his colleagues, and his students and fostering a culture of connectedness and community. Community, he writes, is not just listening and checking off boxes — it’s also about actively responding to students and becoming more human together. (Sean Michael Morris)

What Homeschooling During COVID-19 Taught Me About My College Teaching
Now that Bonni Stachowiak has been thrust into the role of teacher to her young children, she has learned lessons she can bring to her instruction in higher education as well. For example, after her husband decided that their kids’ enthusiasm for creating a Minecraft podcast trumped planned lessons, Dr. Stachowiak decided to modify the final assignment for her business ethics course into a manifesto based on the vibrant class discussions the students were having. (EdSurge)

Can You Create Learning Communities Online?
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently announced its “Carolina Away” initiative as part of its reopening plans. Up to 1,000 students who can’t return to campus will be able to learn together in “high-quality, digital sections of key courses” and engage in learning communities focusing on COVID-19’s impact. The idea is to foster social connections and collaboration.
(The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching Newsletter)

Cal State’s Online Fall
The Cal State system announced that fall semester will be mostly online. Chancellor Tim White explains the decision, noting that the safety of students, faculty, and surrounding communities is their chief concern, and the goal is maximizing opportunities for students to learn. This, he says, allows instructors to plan and learn the technology. While students are disappointed, he urges them to remember the semester is a fraction of their academic experience and it’s more important to make progress on a degree that will bring them success later. (The Key)
Welcome, New Partners
We are excited to welcome our newest institutional members, Dallas County Community College District, Nevada State College, Los Angeles City College, Norfolk State University, and American Indian Higher Education Consortium. We look forward to working with you to credential your faculty members in the use of evidence-based teaching practices that drive student engagement and learning!
Photo of the Week
Thank you to our higher education partners and faculty! We're inspired by your stories of kindness, of faculty (and staff) going above and beyond to help one another and ensure students keep learning.

*Note, the Q Newsletter is operating on a summer schedule. Stay tuned for our next newsletter coming out on Thursday, June 25th. 
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