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Diversity

Please read and reflect on the following executive summary for this proposal,
or even better, the full proposal given here: DiversityProposal.pdf
Then please read and contribute to the commentary for this proposal.

Executive Summary: Domestic Difference Program
Authors: Brooke Barnett and Kenn Gaither

The diversity QEP proposal is for a signature domestic difference program that provides our students with meaningful interactions with people unlike themselves and significant study of cultural difference in an international and domestic comparative context.  The ultimate goal is for every Elon student to experience difference in an international and domestic comparative context, a key to learning in the 21st century.

We suggest a menu of domestic difference options that are seamlessly interwoven into an Elon education, much in the way that study abroad already is. The overarching goal for the proposal is for our students to obtain knowledge about diverse cultures, engage in and value difference, and learn to navigate difference. These goals are in the foreground as the university works to create positive and meaningful interactions between and among diverse groups of people and students. These goals also extend the work of numerous committees and historic initiatives at Elon and are clearly connected to the university mission.

The proposal has three prongs, including a winter term emphasis on “Encountering Difference,” creation of a fund for innovative projects, and development of an assessment plan that measures how and what students learn through their encounters with difference domestically and abroad.

The winter term component will emphasize “Encountering difference” as a core value with courses focused on cultural difference in a comparative U.S. and international or U.S.- based context, including Intergroup Relations Dialogue (IGR) pedagogy, domestic study and residence linked courses. 

The second prong focuses on planned interaction and learning among a range of groups outside the classroom through a fund for innovative projects that create purposeful engagement with difference.  Grants will allow students to take ownership of the experience and will also support faculty, staff and student-led initiatives such as a campus wide intercultural education program. IGR training will also benefit faculty and staff leading discussions.

The third and final prong is for an assessment plan for diversity work across campus that can be used to inform future programs at Elon. This investment in assessment will benefit other Elon hallmarks, such as study abroad. A solid assessment model builds on the work already happening on campus and will allow us to assess the learning in a domestic study program and deepen our understanding of other learning that takes place outside of the classroom, such as study abroad, service learning, leadership and internships.

The full proposal given here: DiversityProposal.pdf

Please read the comments on this proposal and post your own thoughts/responses (or e-mail QEP@elon.edu)



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All Comments

  • I am fully in support of this plan! i think that the grant is a very creative idea that could be very helpful. However, I feel that a first-year course requirement for "navigating diversity" would be much more effective than a winter term emphasis. There would be no way to ensure that the "theme" covered all the necessary components of diversity education, especially considering that many WT classes are science based. A full-on focus on diversity in a 2-hr class the first year would allow for faculty to engage students completely in a wide array of diversity issues.

  • Any thought on whether an IGR experience would fit into the ELR category of the new general studies curriculum?

  • I support this proposal as my top choice. Elon graduates will encounter increasing diversity in the world over the next decade and beyond, and thoughtfully equipping them with the necessary dispositions to embrace diversity in all its manifestations is a crucial components of preparing them as global citizens and ambassadors. Making diversity the explicit QEP choice would send a strong message that we are truly committed to this crucial area.

  • This proposal is my number one choice. Resolving conflict/consensus building among diverse groups and ideologies, as we have seen in our own country recently, will be the number one issue that students have to deal with when they graduate. I'm not sure we have prepared them well for this. I agree with another commenter that perhaps this could be linked with the civic engagement proposal. I think they go hand in hand.

  • I like that we are already doing some of these things and see this as a chance to do them better (study abroad) or more broadly (study away). I also fear that we are doing too much at once and like the idea of resources going to something that is already in play a bit. The QEP would ensure that we will do it right and resource it and that people will get on board working on it. Otherwise I fear we'll do diversity in a not very well resourced way (because strat plan says we will do it either way) and then do something totally new in addition. Strikes me as just too much at once. Let's do this and do it well. Get the time and money to do high impact practices and keep deepening and doing them.

  • I really like this QEP idea because it both challenges us and fits nicely into our community values, strategic plan, and General Studies curriculum. We aren't perfect with global awareness and study abroad, but we're far more advanced on those than with domestic diversity. I was really struck by the disappointing results from our students on NSSE related to Elon facilitating contact with people different from themselves and deepening their understanding that Peter Felten mentioned at a lunch during Planning Week – one of the only areas we are weak. I think we're not very sophisticated yet in our thinking about how our disciplines can connect to diversity and our overall learning goals as a university related to diversity. I think we need the dedicated time and resources to develop our thinking. This QEP proposal is my number one choice - though perhaps it could be connected somehow with the Civic Engagement one. Honestly it could incorporate elements of writing, information literacy, and futures thinking, but I don't want things too watered down by trying to create too much of a hybrid.

  • I like the ideas here but are we going to do these things even without a QEP on diversity? Dr. Lambert already spoke about study away. Don't we need to use the QEP to expand our efforts?

  • Negotiating difference (writ large) is perhaps *the* key to navigating the 21st century. If we as a society truly believe that the world is getting smaller, so to speak, and if we as a university truly believe in the ideals of the global citizen and the common good, negotiating difference is a sine qua non.