CCV United Faculty, Anti-Racism Working Group
September 11, 2020
Re: Recommendations for Curriculum Changes
To the Academic Council:
These past few months have been extraordinary. We are living at a historical moment when communities, institutions, and citizens across the country are at last initiating long overdue conversations on the ongoing systemic racism in this country. We know that CCV President Joyce Judy has formed a task force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with these objectives. CCV’s faculty union has formed its own Antiracism Working Group and has been holding regular biweekly meetings since July 9, 2020 to examine the ways in which racism and white supremacy exist in our college and the changes that are needed to address this. We hope to contribute to the efforts of the task force in making CCV a more inclusive and rigorous institution that will help to build a more equitable society.
We acknowledge that the educational system in our country has failed to teach the history of racism and anti-racism in this country, has failed to adequately teach the perspectives and cultural achievements of minorities, and has therefore contributed to the persistence of the white supremacy upon which this nation was founded.
Therefore, our Working Group is dedicated to defining clear commitments towards dismantling racism by examining our curricula, hiring policies, and persistent bias as expressed by members of our community.
We believe that CCV must undertake curriculum reviews to ensure that curricula are not centered around whiteness, and reflect a diversity of perspectives and experience. The Faculty United Anti-Racism Working Group has drafted the following recommendations for curriculum changes at CCV:
1. More Course Offerings: Too few courses are presently offered at CCV that are not centered around whiteness. We notice, for instance, CCV has offered African American literature as well as World Literature in the past but both these courses are archived. There is not a single English class on the great diversity of postcolonial literature, the literature of the civil rights movement, African literature or world literature in translation. Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison is not taught at CCV. Instead, CCV offers a full semester three-credit course dedicated to a single white male author.
There are a variety of American History courses offered at CCV including two American History surveys, Women in US History, History of the American West, and Native American History and Culture, and Vermont History. Individual instructors work to include the African American experience into these courses, but none of them mandate highlighting the African American experience or specifically addressing American slavery. The only class to directly address the African American experience, African American History, was archived years ago.
In Environmental Science, environmental racism is included by some instructors but this is not built into the Essential Objectives. There is no course specifically on Environmental Racism. There is no course offered on Public Health and Race Disparities. There is no course on racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Most troubling, there is not a single EO in any of the criminal justice courses that mentions “race,” “racial disparity,” or “inequity,” or mention of the origins of policing in slave patrols.
We understand that CCV is a two- year college that cannot offer a great diversity of courses. We do think however that CCV should examine its priorities, and that changes in graduation requirements could make students more likely to sign up for classes that would meet a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion General Requirement.
2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion General Requirement: Many colleges and universities require students to complete Diversity credits in order to graduate.
Brandeis University, for instance, requires students to take courses in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Studies that will “prepare students to engage with dynamics, developments, divisions and inequalities within U.S. society, and to explore the historical and contemporary experiences, interests, and perspectives of groups and institutions that have shaped life in the United States.”
The University of Vermont requires all students to take courses in Diversity (Categories One, Race and Racism in the United States; and Two, the Diversity of Human Experience). UVM’s diversity requirement is “intended to provide undergraduate students with the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to function productively in a complex global society, by fostering an understanding of and respect for differences among individuals and groups of people.”
We recommend that CCV adopt similar graduation requirements.
All degree students would be required to take two three-credit classes that qualify for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion credits. These courses may include classes already offered at CCV, such as Native American History. Courses that have been archived because of low enrollments would be more likely to fill if they fulfilled a graduation requirement.
A list of courses that could be included in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusions category (some of which are already in the CCV catalog):
African American Literature; World Literature; Literature of Civil Rights Movements; Native American History; Abenaki Studies; African American History; Women in US History; Environmental Racism; American Holocaust; Race and Gender studies; The African American Struggle for Equality; Inequities in Public Health; and Inequities in the Criminal Justice System.
3. Include Essential Objectives in all courses that address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, to ensure that all courses are inclusive. These objectives would include the words “race” “gender” “class” “diversity” and or “equity”.
All classes should include one Essential Objective that will demonstrate that listening and engaging in discussion with openness and respect to diverse perspectives are essential requirements for participation in civil society and are therefore requirements in all degree programs and in all professional fields:
- Discuss topics of race, gender, class and their intersections with a diverse group with respectful listening and engagement with diverse perspectives.
Suggested Essential Objectives:
- Intro to Psychology: Explore the contributions from traditionally underrepresented groups within the field of psychology; examine the impact of ethnocentrism in psychological research.
- English Composition: Read and discuss literary works by minority authors; demonstrate an understanding of their contribution to literature and society, and to increased empathy and understanding of minority perspectives.
- Current Environmental Issues: Discuss the socio-cultural and ethical influences that shape our understanding of environmental issues, including racial inequities.
- Moving toward Sustainability: Consider ways to respond to current inequities across the globe, including racism and inequitable distribution of resources, that would move us closer to ecological, social and economic sustainability.
- American History to 1865: Explore the development of slavery in America and analyze its impact on American society, politics, and culture.
- American History since 1865: Analyze the impact of segregation on American society and culture; discuss racial civil rights movements from Reconstruction to the present.
- World History II: Address the Post-Colonial Freedom Movements and their impact on global politics and society.
- For World History I and II: Discuss the impact of slavery on society and culture.
- Global Issues in the Media: Discuss the media blind spots that ignore coverage of African and other countries with minority nonwhite populations; discuss the impact of the American and European Empires and their economic and military interventions in the Global South, climate change as environmental racism, and their roots in White Supremacy.
- Vermont History: Learn the history of African Americans, Native Americans, and ethnic groups in Vermont; analyze the history of racism, white supremacy, and Eugenics, in Vermont.
- Intro to Criminal Justice: Identify racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and discuss police killings of African Americans; demonstrate familiarity with current debates on police and criminal justice reform, the major authors contributing to this discussion, and the cases that have sparked nationwide calls for police reform and defunding.
The CCV United Anti-Racism Working Group will continue to meet to discuss these issues. We recognize that faculty will need resources and support in order to make these changes, and we will continue to reach out to faculty for their feedback on these proposals. We hope that our Working Group can work with Curriculum Committees and the Academic Council towards making these necessary changes at CCV.
CCV Faculty United Anti-Racism Working Group