The International Studies program is committed to inclusive teaching, advising, and mentoring. Achieving this requires us to identify and challenge the systemic inequalities which shape our lives, our university and the global contexts and issues about which we teach, including our university’s location on Native American territory.
In the classroom, we seek to provide education about the histories and consequences of, and ways to fight against, global and local systems of inequality and oppression. In our advising, teaching interactions, and mentorship of students we seek to level the playing field by addressing the diverse needs offer students historically underrepresented and underserved by higher education in the U.S., including BIPOC and first-generation students.
The actions we take to accomplish these goals include:
Offering Classes which center perspectives from the Global South and decenter the U.S. and Whiteness in understandings of global issues, encourage all students to think critically about their own positionalities and cultural backgrounds, and provide tools for interacting ethically and respectfully with others. To ensure that all IS students and students from other majors enrolled in our classes benefit from this content, we incorporate it into all IS classes which are required in the major/minor and approved for General Education credit.
Active advising in which the IS academic advisor sees declared majors at least once a semester. This ensures all students have the necessary information and resources to access the courses and opportunities they need to be successful in their major and beyond.
Widespread information sharing, including in our weekly International Studies newsletter and on Facebook, connecting all IS students to high-impact activities (such as internships, research, global experiences, student organizations, and funding opportunities).
Creating, recognizing and promoting a range of activities focused on student engagement and achievement, including nominating students for the array of awards and opportunities available on campus, and recognizing student achievement and leadership beyond the classroom.
Paying attention to the cultural politics of representation in all our materials. Uncritical work in International Studies can center wealthy nations, promote “white savior” narratives, and cast some groups as “other.” We reject these ideologies and seek to demonstrate that in the visual and textual content of our website, reports, and other documents.
Holding ourselves accountable via senior exit surveys and other feedback mechanisms. Good intentions and top-down approaches are not enough to overcome the historical tendency of exclusionary practices in a predominantly white institution. It is necessary to continually ask students what we are doing well and what must change, then act decisively on what we learn.