At PCC, regional faculty, administrators learn culturally responsive teaching
“The separation of the head from the heart has contributed to a fractured education system that produces minds that do not know how to feel and hearts that do not know how to think.”
This quote by Parker Palmer, an author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change, was the foundation of a day-long conference on Friday, May 5. Rock Creek Campus’ Event Center was packed with instructors and professors eager learn how they can be more culturally responsive in their instruction. More than 160 educators were in attendance representing the likes of Central Oregon, Chemeketa, Clackamas and Mt. Hood community colleges, Portland State, Concordia and Western Oregon universities, and Multnomah County’s Child Care Resource & Referral services.
The event’s keynote was provided by Larry Roper, Oregon State University’s interim director of the School of Language, Culture and Society. His talk set the stage for the day, which showed faculty how to facilitate equity and inclusion in the classroom, discover hidden curriculum at their schools and beyond, develop tools for instruction. Afterward, participants attended breakout sessions to share viewpoints on what they learned and what is happening at their own organizations.
Roper shared tips on managing difficult situations with students, as well as employing affective learning to influence awareness and produce transformational outcomes. He encouraged faculty to learn all they can to truly understand their students and the history embedded within their institutions, in addition to socialized beliefs that affect their learners.
“Our institutions produce equity and inequities,” he said. “Everybody does not receive the same benefits for their memberships.”
In addition to his interim work, Roper is an OSU professor, a coordinator for its College Student Services Administration Program, and the lead for the university’s undergraduate social justice minor. He currently serves as a commissioner on the Higher Education Coordinating Commission and as chair of the NASPA Faculty Fellows. Roper has degrees from Heidelberg University, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Maryland.
The conference on culturally responsive teaching was part of PCC’s Preferred Future initiative, which is an appointed task force by the college president that assists in the creation, coordination, and communication of projects, initiatives, and resources related to equitable student success. Comprised of faculty, staff, and student leaders, the Preferred Future Task Force is organized around culturally and socially responsive pedagogy, services and resources for students and student support, community-building and civic engagement, and equity and inclusion efforts.
The summit was sponsored by PCC’s Equity and Inclusion, the Office of the President and the college’s deans of instruction.