CATL announces 2021-2022 Diversity and Inclusion Grant recipients

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce the recipients of the 10th annual Diversity and Inclusion Grants for the 2021-22 academic year.

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning is pleased to announce the recipients of the 10th annual Diversity and Inclusion Grants for the 2021-22 academic year. This year’s diversity and inclusion grant winners were selected from a highly competitive application pool.

Since 2011, this grant program has supported small faculty teams in developing projects focused on inclusive pedagogies, assignments, content and strategies to foster learning about human diversity. (You can explore previously awarded Diversity & Inclusion Grants and final reports and recommendations on the CATL website.)

Strategic Communications

Vanessa Bravo and Lee Bush

Department of Strategic Communications faculty Vanessa Bravo and Lee Bush, are developing modules that can be used by any Strategic Communications faculty member to introduce new content related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The modules will reflect the new DEI expectations of the communication program’s accrediting body, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC), and the Department of Strategic Communication’s associated student learning outcomes update. Their Diversity and Inclusion Grant will include 1) developing the materials for the modules, 2) testing the use of the modules in three target courses, and 3) refining and revising materials based on pilot testing results.


Anne-Marie Iselin and Buffie Longmire-Avital

Department of Psychology faculty Anne-Marie Iselin and Buffie Longmire-Avital are working on a project titled Racial Equity for Students in Psychology: Emending our Curriculum and Teaching (RESPECT) – “Nothing about us without us.” The goal of the RESPECT project is to include students’ voices in departmental Diversity, Inclusion, and Racial Equity (DIRE) task force working group activities. Three students will work with faculty leads on the RESPECT project by: gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data; offering feedback on action plans; holding those applicable accountable for responding to their evaluations; and disseminating the project’s work with audiences outside of the psychology department. Ultimately, the RESPECT project will leverage students’ voices to create sustainable curricular and pedagogical changes that create enduring racial equity for our most vulnerable students.

Performing Arts and Music Theatre

Julio Agustin Matos Jr., Deborah Leamy and Brian Kremer

Department of Performing Arts and Music Theatre Program faculty Julio Agustin Matos Jr., Deborah Leamy and Brian Kremer are collaborating on curricular revisions across several courses in the Voice and Dance sequence of the Music Theatre degree program. These revisions will aim to create a well-rounded curriculum essential to preparing the next generation of musical theatre artists, which embraces diversity through the exploration vocal and dance styles from a range of cultures. Specifically, each member will research the history, institutional practices and relevant usage of various diverse genres of Music Theatre performance and offer contributions, such as, for example, Bhangra and Bollywood dance styles, or the exploration and integration of skills related to riffing. Additionally, faculty will identify and provide significant resources that support the area’s mission to train students to transform the field of Musical Theatre. Careful consideration will be given to holistic approaches to revising the course descriptions and student learning outcomes. These concentrated efforts will aid in continuing outreach to students of the global majority as well as in raising the profile of Elon’s Music Theatre program to the international standard of training the next generation of Music Theatre practitioners.

Poverty and Social Justice Program

Toddie Peters, Jessica Carew, Vanessa Drew-Branch, Ketevan Kupatadze, and Rob Perdue

An interdisciplinary team of faculty will work together for this DIG project including Toddie Peters (Religious Studies), Jessica Carew (Political Science), Vanessa Drew-Branch (Human Service Studies), Ketevan Kupatadze (World Languages & Cultures), and Rob Perdue (Sociology). The team will redesign a syllabus and create new teaching modules for the Poverty and Social Justice Program (PSJ) that are in line with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty updated and re-designed learning goals. The project will support the development of a new set of PSJ faculty and the redesign of the PSJ110 course. Some of the goals of the project will be to ensure: 1) there is consistency to the basic learning goals, course content, and student experience in this foundational course for all students across sections in this interdisciplinary minor, and 2) that faculty who are recruited to teach future iterations of the class will be able to continue to benefit from the outcomes of this grant.

School of Health Sciences

C. Kim Stokes, Laké Laosebikan-Buggs, Paula DiBiasio, Nita Skillman, and Tiffany Morris

School of Health Sciences faculty C. Kim Stokes (Physician Assistant Studies), Paula DiBiasio (Physical Therapy), Nita Skillman, Tiffany Morris (Nursing), along with Laké Laosebikan-Buggs (Director of Inclusive Excellence for Graduate and Professional Education) are working on an engaged learning project that focuses on improving health equity through collaboration and cultural humility. This project will explore the literature guiding best practices of curricular diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within healthcare provider academic programs to generate interprofessional learning experiences for physician assistant, physical therapy, and nursing students enrolled in the Elon SHS program. They plan to establish an evidence-based activity that initiates a school-wide curricular commitment to infusing DEI in each program with the goal of graduating healthcare professionals who have the skills to bridge health and healthcare disparities.

Political Science and Policy Studies

Liza Taylor, Damion Blake, Kaye Usry, Joel Shelton, and Jessica Carew

Department of Political Science and Policy Studies faculty Liza Taylor, Damion Blake, Kaye Usry, Joel Shelton and Jessica Carew will focus on teaching about systems of power and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Political Science. For their project, they will survey the courses they teach in relation to these priorities and objectives and familiarize themselves with existing research on the best practices for teaching DEI in the social sciences. At a departmental level, the group plans to generate a list of concrete, formalized recommendations for teaching DEI in Political Science and Policy Studies, such as: ground rules for in-class discussion; methods for avoiding tokenizing marginalized students; and lesson plans and activities that can be tailored to a diverse student body and faculty member’s particular expertise, experiences, and identities. Lastly, the group will explore ideas for course and curriculum design to ensure that marginalized and underprivileged perspectives and methodologies are adequately represented in every course and across the major.

Exercise Science

Lauren Walker, Eric Hall, Aaron Piepmeier, Matthew Wittstein, Takudzwa Madzima

Department of Exercise Science faculty, Lauren Walker, Eric Hall, Aaron Piepmeier, Matthew Wittstein, and Takudzwa Madzima, have been awarded a second stage Diversity and Inclusion Grant to expand on a project first initiated in 2020. Their initial Stage I project focused largely on overall departmental climate regarding DEI, including assessing and co-creating curriculum changes with exercise science students and outside consultants with DEI expertise in Sport & Exercise Psychology (SEP). Building on the assessment and creation of curricular change during the first stage of this DIG grant, their Stage 2 project will: 1) implement and evaluate the changes to SEP curriculum in courses taught in 2021-22; 2) engage in the co-creation, with students, of curriculum alterations to classes that fall within the Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics/Motor domains; 3) implement and evaluate the curricular changes in Spring 2022; and 4) co-create opportunities beyond the Exercise Science classroom (e.g., UR mentorship, living learning communities, student clubs), which is a desire expressed by students in the climate assessment.

For questions about the Diversity and Inclusion Grant, or the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, email or visit our website.