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Multicultural Grant Recipients

Faculty Funding for Presentations on Multicultural College Teaching and Learning

Guidelines for Faculty Grants for Presentations on Multicultural College Teaching and Learning

March 2013

Presenter: Marco Gemignani, Psychology

: Living "Undocumented"

: Conversation Fest: Opening doors to possibilities: Inviting dialogue, stories, and community in therapy and social transformation sponsored by Houston Galveston Institute & The Hincks-Dellcrest, March 2013

Abstract: Beyond its legal connotations, being an undocumented immigrant entails psychological experiences marked by fear, vulnerability, and anxiety, which are socially constructed in narratives of "illegality" and "deportability." Authorized immigrants frequently live in a state of permanent precariousness and perpetual illegality, as it is almost impossible and at times dangerous for them to seek legal solutions to their migration status. On a daily basis, the risk of being imprisoned and deported counters the possibility for long-term plans and a secure sense of belonging. In this presentation, I will talk about the cultural, relational, and affective challenges created by deportability, fear, vulnerability, and isolation, including the ways in which these processes often entail significant reshapings of unauthorized immigrant's personal and social identities. Through Foucault, the resulting subjectivations can be read as biopolitical attempts to regulate and govern all aspects of this population's life.

November 2012

Presenter: Anne Marie Witchger Hansen

: From Dependency to Interdependency: How graduates of Olkokola Vocational Training Center for Persons with Disabilities Use their Newly Developed Skills to Live Life to the Fullest

Conference: African Studies Association Annual Conference, November 2012

Abstract: Ten percent (10%) of the world's population live with a disability. Approximately 650 million people live with a disability, 200 million of which are children (WHO 2011). Approximately 80% of people with disabilities reside in low-income countries where poverty and limited access to health services and education limits their development.

People with physical or mental handicaps in Tanzania are frequently ostracized and excluded from normal day-to-day activities in their villages. They are often feared, hidden from the neighbors, considered a burden on their family and sometimes even killed. Without an education or learning a local trade, PWD in Tanzania often lead a lonely, degrading and humiliating existence with no opportunity for the rewards of being productive members of society (Kisanji 1993).

This study, initiated by Olkokola Vocational Training Center (OVTC), seeks to uncover how/if the graduates of OVTC live more meaningful and productive lives three years post graduation. This presentation will explore the experiences of these graduates, PWD, as they complete their daily occupations, social integration, occupational opportunities, use of newly acquired vocational skill and their feelings of self-worth, and overall success and happiness. Researcher will share challenges involved in completing this study in the Tanzanian context.

Dr. Hansen's research helps Duquesne students compare the challenges and barriers persons with disabilities face in their daily lives in Africa with the challenges faced by the marginalized populations they are working with in their service-learning projects here in Pittsburgh. The results of this study and the processes of cross-cultural research are used in Dr. Hansen's teaching to broaden students' abilities to critically examine issues of health, wellness, and rehabilitation.


Panelist: Daniel P. Scheid

Title: Teaching Comparative Theology from an Institution's Spirituality and Mission

Conference: American Academy of Religion, November 2012 

Abstract: Globalization makes knowledge of the religions of the world an absolute necessity for all graduates of higher education, regardless of their institution's religious or secular self-understanding. Yet even as this pressing need becomes widely apparent, challenges to the category of "world religions" have led scholars to rethink approaches to the traditional world religions survey. Comparative theological pedagogy can be seen as an alternative approach. This panel foregrounds the confessional element of comparative theology and the subjective dimension of teaching world religions. By bringing together presenters from Jesuit/Marymount, Benedictine, Norbertine, and Spiritan institutions and a respondent who serves a secular state university and a Basilian college, the session interrogates ways by which the spiritual missions of institutions enable and inform interreligious learning. Presenters offer creative pedagogical approaches that arise out of the distinct missions of their institutions, approaches that can be adopted by teachers and scholars in a variety of contexts.

Presenter: Jason Ritter, Department of Instruction and Leadership in Education

Title: Democratic Citizenship in Elementary Social Studies Education: An Examination of the Views of Graduate-Level Preservice Teachers

Conference: National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Annual Conference, November 14-18, 2012
: This qualitative inquiry reports on how three graduate-level preservice elementary teachers conceived of the relationship between diversity and democracy, and how their understandings of this relationship served to frame their selection of content and pedagogy for democratic citizenship education.


May 2012

 Presenters: Elisabeth Vasko and Anna Floerke Scheid, Theology

 Title:Critical Reflection: Lessons Learned from Teaching Racism and White Privilege in the Theology Classroom

Conference:Annual Meeting of the College Theology Society, May 31- June 3, 2012


Abstract:Teaching about race and white privilege in predominantly white universities presents a unique   set of challenges for faculty members and students alike. Many white students enter the undergraduate classroom without an understanding of 1) their own racial identity, or 2) how they fit into a racial hierarchy in the United States. These two gaps in student knowledge make it difficult for many to acknowledge the existence of racism in our current socio-economic and political structures. Yet, as research in educational methods suggests, the ability to name one's social location with regard to power and privilege is a critical first step in forming students to be socially responsible leaders who respect the dignity of all persons. As scholars of theology, we contend that this respect for human dignity is intimately connected to how we manifest the image of God and how we recognize it in others.
This commitment to recognizing what is holy in ourselves and others leads us to build courses that take into account the social realities of racism and white privilege. While a number of scholars in the field of Christian theology have argued for the importance of teaching diversity and social justice in theology and religious studies classrooms, little has been done to document and assess formally the implementation of such pedagogy. This paper makes an attempt to fill this lacuna. The authors translate the findings of a year-long research study. This study was approved by Duquesne University's Institutional Review Board (IRB) for research involving human subjects and has been supported by Duquesne's Center for Teaching Excellence Scholarship of Multicultural Teaching and Learning Faculty Research Group. The study examined student experiences of learning about racism and white privilege in the context of their undergraduate theology courses. After a brief overview of the study's design and execution, we will offer an assessment of our findings and draw out implications for future teaching and research.

April 2012

Nihat PolatPresenter: Nihat Polat (with Terri Rodriguez), Education

Title: Equity for English Language Learners (ELLs) in Urban Contexts: A Study of Preservice Teachers' Experiences and Beliefs

Conference: American Educational Research Association Convention (AERA) Annual Convention, Vancouver, BA, April 13-17, 2012.

Abstract: There are increasing numbers of linguistically and culturally diverse K-12 students in classrooms with teachers whose backgrounds and life experiences differ from theirs. While the teaching force remains predominantly White and monolingual-in-English (NCDTF, 2004), the number of English language learners (ELLs) has increased over 200% in 16 states in the last decade (NCELA, 2011). A pressing ‘achievement debt' continues to accrue disproportionately to English language learners (ELLs) placed in classrooms with teachers whose backgrounds and life experiences differ from theirs. This study explores how preservice teachers draw from linguistic/cultural resources and beliefs about diversity and multiculturalism to craft equity-oriented pedagogies. It also provides pedagogical implications of the results of the study in improving current teacher preparation curricula for multi-culturally responsive teaching. Data were generated with six linguistically, racially, and ethnically diverse preservice teachers via individual life history interviews, beliefs surveys, journals, and focus group interviews. Results suggest several patterns between participants' accounts regarding (1) the ways they drew from their life experiences in constructing beliefs about linguistic and cultural diversity, (2) their beliefs about self-competencies, preparedness, and (3) professional responsibilities for the education of linguistically and culturally diverse learners, and (4) how these beliefs inform the crafting of professional identities and pedagogies.

April 2011

picture of Rick ZouchaPresenter: Dr. Rick Zoucha, School of Nursing

Title: Connecting the Philosophy and Values of a Professional Doctoral Program to that of a Global Perspective for Students

Conference: 2nd International Conference on Professional Doctorates

Abstract: It is imperative in professional doctoral programs that the philosophy and values of the school are consistent with that of the curriculum. At Duquesne University there is a long established philosophy and value for working with people who are culturally diverse, vulnerable and experience health disparities.  Concern is given to social justice in the promotion of health and nurses working in diverse health systems.  It is important to allow students and faculty to live the philosophy through course work.  Creation and implementation of a required course that articulates the value of transcultural and global perspectives in health will be discussed.  The major purpose is to introduce and reinforce the value of culture as significant to nursing and health care.  Students have opportunities to learn beyond the local, national perspective to understand the global influences of culture on health, health systems and care. In addition, students can study abroad as an optional experience. If students cannot study abroad they find experiences in the US related to systems of health such as folk healers, lay midwives and other forms of care consistent with cultures represented in the US.  This presentation has implications for practice doctoral programs around the world by encouraging a global perspective of health care.

March 2011

picture of Kathy BarnardPresenters: Cynthia J. Lennox and Kathleen S. Barnard, English as a Second Language Program

Title: Enhancing Cross-Cultural Skills and Self-Awareness Through Interactive Interventions

Conference: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International

picture of Cynthia LennoxAbstract: The students of today must become the global citizens of tomorrow as they enter a workplace which now spans the earth. However, the development of cultural awareness and understanding does not occur solely with exposure to other cultures. (Storti, 2001). To evaluate the impact of structured interactive interventions on students’ cultural awareness, cultural understanding and understanding of self, a study was conducted with adult American and international learners in five academic and ESL courses. The significance of the study was three-fold, examining whether structured interactions would 1) assist U.S. university students in developing a more comprehensive understanding of their own and other cultures, 2) facilitate international university students in adapting and integrating into American and host university culture, and 3) provide educators and administrators with a model to increase the effectiveness of the interactions among their native and international student populations.

This combined quantitative/qualitative study began with a demographic questionnaire and two pre-interaction surveys designed to establish participants’ levels of cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity and self-understanding. Students then engaged in structured, guided interactions while receiving training involving cross-cultural experiences as part of their regular course work. Following these interventions, students provided written reflections and completed the pre-interaction surveys again.

June 2010

picture of Temple LovelacePresenter: Dr. Temple Lovelace, Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education, School of Education

Title: The Importance of Cultural Responsiveness in the Referral Process: An Introduction to the TRAK & TRACE Framework

Conference: American Psychological Association Division 45, “Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues,” June 2010, Ann Arbor, MI

Abstract: As many institutions face issues concerning diversity, education as a training ground for youth is extremely vulnerable to those obstacles. America’s classrooms don’t mirror society, for over 40 percent of the students in P-12 classrooms are students of color (National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education , 2007). It is predicted by the year 2050, the Hispanic American population will increase by 258 percent, the African American population by 83 percent, and the Native American by 95 percent (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000).

This presentation will examine the unique circumstances that diversity brings to the educational environment. More specifically, it will look at the process of referral for additional services such as those offered by special education and school psychology, and the importance that a sensitivity and responsiveness as it relates to cultural difference bears on this process. While cultural responsiveness is not novel to the discipline of education, a new understanding of how a student’s progress is inhibited by a lack of culturally-responsive practice at the point of referral needs to be addressed. For example, a lack of responsiveness leads to disproportionate referrals, inappropriate referrals and ineffective decisions regarding educational programming. This presentation supports the acknowledgement that the increasing cultural diversity in our schools requires a refined view of the process of education and how educational professionals are prepared. More specifically, we will address the critical issues in the special education referral and recommendation process and stipulate the need for a refined level of critical and reflective thinking and how that competence needs to be addressed in pre-professional programming.