John Muir College (JMC) Affirmation of Diversity
We, of John Muir College, of the University of California, San Diego seek to achieve a college that is as diverse as the society we serve. Diversity is an integral part of excellence: our commitment to excellence includes a commitment to diversity. The most effective education includes constant access to a variety of ideals, customs, and values. In providing that access, we help students become effective citizens and leaders in a society enriched by many cultures.
John Muir College enjoys an atmosphere of friendliness and informality. We encourage and expect humane interaction and respect for others, regardless of personal characteristics such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, physical or education challenge, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.
The colleges, John Muir College (JMC) prominent among them, have long been dedicated to fostering a supportive environment for UCSD’s diverse student body. Since its founding, JMC has sponsored a wide range of organizations and programs designed to advance equality, acceptance, and success for all students, faculty and staff regardless of their gender, sexuality race, class, ability, age, citizenship, religion, or other distinctions. The following is a snapshot of existing programs and is far from a complete historic picture.
Launched in the wake of racially themed events during winter quarter, 2010, the Community Coalition was created to provide an outlet for students who desired a deeper understanding of campus climate, or for those students who wanted to express their anguish, frustration, and hopes connected to the UCSD Community. The Coalition is a new effort at the college that will continue to evolve and be shaped by interested members of the Muir Community.
In Cultural House, students of different cultures, ethnicities, races, and sexual identities learn from each other and increase their personal awareness of diversity. Muir’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and Allies Program is located in Cultural House. Residents participate in programs and activities that may include group discussions, presentations by campus resources, music and dance performances, museum visits, outdoor experiences, study breaks, movie nights, and other student events.
Through a weekly seminar, the OLCs assist selected, new, first-year students in their transition into the university. Through collaboration with their peers, the OLCs provide an environment where students develop an understanding of academic and social issues that may arise as well as the strategies to address them.
A Muir Advisor partners with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Student Affairs in teaching “College Success Strategies” as part of the BRIDGE summer program (sponsored through OASIS) to an entering group of Muir College freshman who come from underserved populations. During the school year the group continues as part of an optional OASIS Learning Community (OLC) and JMC Advisor Brian Henry works with OASIS in facilitating their weekly meetings.
A student-run college organization that encourages the celebration of various cultures and cultural diversity through art, film, theater, dance and culinary arts.
The Orientation Leaders go through a half-day training facilitated by Muir College Advising and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to explore the various “isms” that have affected their lives. This is an opportunity for the OLs to learn more about each other and serves as a prelude to the diversity activity they will facilitate for the new student during Freshman Orientation. They also visit the Cross Cultural, Women’s, and LGBT resource centers as part of their training.
This one-hour long diversity exercise introduces new first year students to the diverse community that exists at UCSD and the values Muir College holds around issues of diversity. The activity is both interactive and reflective asking students to connect their different identities (Gender, Race, Ability, Nationality, Spirituality, Class and Sex) with the concepts of oppression, privilege, comfort and empowerment. Finally, students are also asked to read the UCSD Principles of Community and sign that they have read and understand the principles.
All Muir students must complete one course that examines diversity in the U.S. Some examples include: HIUS 139: African American History in the 20th Century, LIGN 7: Sign Language and Its Culture, and ANTH 23: Debating Multiculturalism: Race, Ethnicity, and Class. A more complete list is available on the Muir website at: http://muir.ucsd.edu/academics/cultural.shtml
The Cultural Resources handout is made available to new students on the New Student Orientation website. This lists the various clubs, organizations, campus community centers, etc. that promote and support diversity at UCSD.
SEE: Cultural Resource (pdf)
This group was created more than seven years ago, drawing from those student populations who were not accepted into the OASIS Summer Bridge, TRIO, or the Student Support Services Program (SSSP). The students are primarily first generation college students who come to school from a low socio-economic background. Additional programming (Career Services, Programs Abroad, Summer School, etc.) and advising outreach is provided to students in this population when there is a full functioning advising staff.
The past two editions of the MCWP 40 Readers (used by approximately 650 students a quarter) have focused specifically on issues viewed through a diversity lens. The Spring 2008-Winter 2009 Reader focused on various immigrant experiences of men, women, laborers, caregivers, and nannies in the US, Haiti, Russia, Hong Kong, Romania, and Mexico. The Spring 2010-Winter 2011 MCWP 40 Reader examines the intersection of environmental racism and environmental justice in the US, Brazil, India, and the Ukraine.
Several MCWP 50 and 125 courses examine different aspects of diversity. The MCWP 50 topics include “Wayward” Women: Challenging Gender Constructions; From Dr. Noh to Margaret Cho: Asian Americans and Popular Culture; Jackie Chan in Switzerland: Investigating Global Youth Culture; and From Race to Robots: Passing and the Performance of (In)authenticity. MCWP 125 themes include, Whose San Diego? A County of Socio-Economic, Ethnic, and National Differences taught by Assistant Director Wilson and Disability as Diversity: Thinking of the Disabled as Able taught by Director Wastal.
Muir College is the home of the Critical Gender Studies Program, an intersectional, interdisciplinary program that engages students to think critically about the world around them. Students are activated with the tools to approach issues of gender and sexuality through the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, citizenship, globalization, religion, and many more social justice issues. In this sense, the Critical Gender Studies Program functions as a space for students to cultivate a social consciousness by providing them with the intellectual resources to understand the complexities of institutionalized power, privilege, and oppression and the ways in which we all participate in these structures.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, the Critical Gender Studies Program will be collaborating with the Academic Internship Program (AIP) and the campus community centers—the Women’s Center, the LGBT Resource Center, and the Cross-Cultural Center—to produce a Practicum for Social Justice in which the student interns will participate. The purpose of this practicum is to offer the theoretical space for the interns to expand on their practical experiences at the community centers. Students will receive academic credit as they navigate the process of putting theory to practice within these centers working toward social justice.
A week long advanced institute offered annually to Student Affairs staff. The goals of the Institute include creating a community of social justice allies focused on creating an inclusive and welcoming campus climate. The institute is lead by the Center Directors (Dr. Shaun Travers, Dr. Emelyn De La Pena, Dr. Edwina Welch). Several Muir staff have participated (Sonia Rosado, Brian Dooley, Patricia Mahaffey, Ebonie Rayford, Pat Danylyshyn-Adams) Applications are available in May.
CAPS recognizes the existence of diverse cultural and social groups at UCSD, each with unique needs, and is committed to fostering a sense of community through its programming. CAPS endorses the appreciation of differences among students, including but not limited to those based on ethnicities, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations. In addition to clinical work, CAPS psychologists play an active role in outreach activities, such as Summer Bridge College Success Strategies, where they participate in training the UCSD staff, teaching the Bridge students, and supervising the Academic Transition Counselors (ATCs). CAPS psychologists also contribute significantly to the OASIS Learning Communities, parent and student orientations (including the diversity session), Students Targeted for Academic Resources and Success (STARS) lunches, California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) programs, and the training of house advisors (HAs). In addition to the psychologists located at the colleges and at the Central office, CAPS has a psychologist at the Women’s Center and in the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) whose role includes outreach to underrepresented students. These psychologists act as liaisons for our outreach work with CSI and the community centers (LGBT, Women’s and Cross Cultural Centers). Examples of CAPS programming include: Students Beyond Borders Forum (run at the International Center), Outside the Box (run at the Women’s Center), Asian Community Forum, and Goals in Action.
We invited the Director of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program Equilla Luke to speak to the TAs about the effects of the acts of racism that occurred in winter quarter. Luke addressed the TAs’ concerns about the undergraduate students. She also moderated a discussion about the ways that TAs had and could open a space for dialogue about this difficult time/topic in their classrooms.
During winter quarter, we devoted a seminar to an open discussion of how the TAs, if they chose to, might lead a class discussion about the racist incidents on campus as well as the undergraduate student fee increases.
This summer we are participating in the Hire-A-Youth program that seeks to help economically disadvantaged young people and is organized here at UCSD through the office of diversity. Our student intern, Sierra, is from Lincoln High School in San Diego.
Wastal will conduct a workshop session with this year’s Residential Advisors (RAs) on September 14, 2010, on the topic of diversity called Putting Diversity Training into Practice. The workshop will use Navigating Diversity: An Advocate’s Guide Through the Maze of Race, Gender, Religion and More, by Patty Bates-Ballard and Gregory Smith. The two-hour workshop is intended as the practical application of the diversity training conducted earlier in the month. We expect 22 RAs to attend.
We will offer Establishing Positive Learning Conditions in the Diverse Classroom, facilitated by Anita Casavantes Bradford under the auspices of the Center for Teaching Development to our teaching assistants this fall quarter (tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, September 21, 2010, during our two-day intensive training meetings). This workshop was first offered in May, 2010, as an open workshop for TAs out of the Center for Teaching Development (CTD), and an abbreviated version was offered at the Spring Meeting of the Teaching Assistant Faculty Advisers. At that meeting, Dean Kim E. Barrett and Dr. Rosalind Streichler offered support to make it more widely available to teaching assistants--an offer that we have arranged to take them up on.
In brief, the workshop asks these questions of the participants:
- What kinds of diversity are represented in UCSD classrooms?
- What are some commonly held beliefs about diverse students, and how does this influence our teaching/student achievement?
- What are some strategies for maximizing learning opportunities for ALL students?