This semester the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is piloting the Boise State Uniting for Inclusion and Leadership in Diversity (BUILD) certificate program.
The BUILD certificate program gives faculty and staff the opportunity to gain a certificate for attending workshops that expand their knowledge and skills regarding issues of diversity and inclusion. The workshops will teach participants how to foster diversity in leadership at Boise State.
“The primary reason (we’re piloting this program) is to develop awareness, knowledge and skills around making Boise State more inclusive whether that be in the classroom or be in advising sessions or in a student club for admissions,” said Tasha Souza, associate director for the CTL and professor in the Department of Communication.
Participants in the certificate program will choose from a variety of workshops hosted by organizations across campus including the Gender Equity Center, the Multicultural Student Services and the CTL.
“Most of the things in the BUILD certificate, by design, already exist,” said Donna Llewellyn, executive director of STEM and Diversity Initiatives, and a Professor in the College of Innovation and Design. “We didn’t want to create lots and lots of new things, but people are already doing a host of things on campus in this area. And this is to give it an umbrella so people can find things easily and have a goal to work towards.”
Llewellyn is a member of the Commission on Diversity Inclusion, a recently established commission that will find ways to ensure Boise State is “better serving our campus community and maintaining our competitive edge and reputation,” according to its page on the Boise State website.
Although the CTL is currently piloting the BUILD program, Souza is working with several faculty in the Comission on Diversity and Inclusion to find a place on campus to house the program after the Spring 2017 semester.
“The Center for Teaching and Learning is really focused on the teaching and learning of instructors,” Souza said. “It doesn’t make sense for us to keep hold of it but we’re happy to get it started.”
Although the BUILD certificate program is already in the midst of its first year, Llewellyn believes it will serve as an example of what the Commission on Diversity Inclusion will do.
“(The BUILD certificate program) will be held up as an example of how we are coming together so that people know what to do, the skill set they need and the professional development they need to grow in this area,” Llewellyn said.
Gail Shuck, professor in the English Department, is part of the committee planning the BUILD program. She believes the certificate allows participants to connect all the topics addressed in workshops through core principles like universal design work—a teaching style that takes students’ disabilities into account during the planning process of a class to create a curriculum that is inclusive to all students.
“For (faculty and staff) to be able to see we have shared commitments and principles—once they can attend any of the workshops involved in the BUILD certificate—they start to see overlap and it becomes much easier to internalize this as just the way they should do things,” Shuck said.
Currently there are 52 people enrolled in the program. The number of workshops participants will need to attend to get the certificate is still being decided but Souza estimates it will be between eight and 10. Faculty and staff who sign up can complete the certificate program at whatever pace they’d like—according to Souza—and there will be flexibility in the options of workshops.
“We want to ask the people who have signed up what is reasonable, but probably around 10 kind of learning opportunities, but it will be flexible and negotiable between the people who are enrolled,” Souza said.
One of the workshops that participants will be able to attend is the Conference on Language, Identity and Culture—which is also open to students and community members—held on April 12 in the SUB.
During the Conference on Language, Identity and Culture, students from English 101M—the beginner English course for non-native speakers—will testify and give presentations about their experiences in the classroom.
Souza hopes that faculty and staff who receive the BUILD certificate seek out other learning opportunities after its completion.
“(The BUILD certificate) is a great example of how different departments of campus can collaborate and come up with structure to help support moving this campus forward,” said Llewellyn.