posted by Allison Walters — Dec 02, 2020
You cannot expect students to copy what they’ve never seen. It’s what drives me to affectionately describe my classes as “cultural spackle: I fill the cracks in students’ education”. I’m motivated as a first generation recently tenured Latinx professor to address diversity in both my courses and my creative research. I value modelling the excellence we wish students to become in the classroom by ensuring that students are studying a curriculum of contemporary art that is as vast as the student body. The same desire holds true for faculty and more flexible pedagogical practices. I hope to bring that same energy to share with CAA’s board.
While I am beyond happy to see such emphasis on diversity and inclusion efforts being enacted across so many platforms that we engage with regularly, I am also keenly aware of the awkwardness in attempting to “diversify” in the hands of people not immediately impacted by this “issue” as well as the intense pressure for the “diverse” faculty in institutions to ‘help’ guide faculty through seemingly uncharted terrain, serve on committees to ensure diversity quotas, provide moral support and validation to colleagues or administrators’ programming to ensure “appropriateness, etc. This invisible load placed on “diverse” faculty to facilitate/mediate pathways to a more inclusive environment, pacify departments and appease the demands of students and upper administration leaves faculty feeling, unsurprisingly, overworked, overwhelmed and undervalued.
It is my intent to utilize my experiences in this very situation to advise on how we can, at CAA, address these issues through content programming and support for faculty and administrators. Since there is strength in numbers I would be honored to lend my voice and personal experience to this organization’s commitment to such a pressing matter at a most vital moment of our lifetime. In this chilling moment, as we stand fearful of potentially losing freedoms we’d thought were won, I would like to be part of the team that moves steadfastly forward toward a truly progressive future.