Bafflegab from The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, EDI, University of Manitoba (UM).

I received a news alert that fall courses in EDI offered by The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at the University of Manitoba are coming soon. You can read about them here.1

I noticed that Robin Attas is the contact person for information about the courses and is heavily involved in their delivery.

Attas’s staff profile describes her role as “an educational developer in The Centre with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion (often abbreviated EDI) in teaching and learning.”2

On the same page, Attas’s biography begins, “Robin (she/her/hers) is a white settler who has worked in educational development since 2018.” Prior to becoming an education developer, Attas “was a full-time music theory professor.” And Attas still,

“remains active as a music theory instructor and researcher, presenting and publishing on topics in music theory pedagogy including social justice, decolonization and Indigenization, and inclusive pedagogies. Robin also maintains an active research agenda in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), focusing on educational development practices, specifically the “disruptive interview,” meant to encourage faculty to take steps towards decolonization, Indigenization, and more inclusive pedagogies.”

Attas neither defines the “disruptive interview” nor provides an example, nor does she provide a link to anything that would help a reader understand what she means by the phrase.

However, Attas’s profile notes she was one of six recipients of a 2019 grant for “Disruptive Interviews for Decolonization.”3

I proceeded from Attas’s staff profile to the Centre’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion page.4 And it’s here that I found the following bafflegab:

Our approach to equity, diversity and inclusion

At The Centre, we understand equity, diversity and inclusion as three terms with many definitions. As a brief overview, equity has to do with fair rather than equal treatment. Diversity can refer to all sorts of characteristics and identities and is not a characteristic that can be measured or completed. Inclusion goes beyond an invitation to join a group towards feeling a sense of mattering or belonging within a group. Equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives share common goals with conversations around decolonization, Indigenization, reconciliation, anti-racism, accessibility and social justice, among others. But we also recognize that these movements are not identical.”

Equity, diversity and inclusion principles inform our understanding of inclusive pedagogy, which we draw from the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology at the University of British Columbia.

Inclusive teaching refers to intentional approaches to curriculum, course design, teaching practice, and assessment that create a learning environment where all students feel that their differences are valued and respected, have equitable access to learning and other educational opportunities, and are supported to learn to their full potential. Rather than being a static checklist, inclusive teaching can change depending on context. It is a lens that guides instructors to consider and address the ways historical and systemic inequities continue to shape students’ learning experiences.

So, what is “fair treatment”? What is meant by “intentional approaches”? What is a “sense of mattering”? If you can answer these questions, please do so in the comments below.

References

[1] UM Today News, “Equity, diversity and inclusion workshops coming up soon,” The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, University of Manitoba, August 15, 2022, https://news.umanitoba.ca/equity-diversity-and-inclusion-workshops-coming-up-soon/, accessed August 16, 2022.

[2] Robin Attas, Staff, Development and Consultation, The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, https://umanitoba.ca/centre-advancement-teaching-learning/staff/robin-attas, accessed August 16, 2022.

[3]As [2], subheading Grants. “Educational Developers Grants for Exchanges (EDGEs). 2019. “Disruptive Interviews for Decolonization”. With Tim Yearington, Gabrielle Lindstrom, Michelle Yeo, Roberta Lexia, and Lee Easton.

[4] “Equity, diversity and inclusion: Inclusive pedagogies,” Teaching support, Equity, diversity and inclusion, The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, University of Manitoba, 2022, https://umanitoba.ca/centre-advancement-teaching-learning/support/equity-diversity-and-inclusion, accessed August 16, 2022.

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