“DIV” Draft Learning Outcomes (June 2018)

June 2018: Draft Learning Outcomes for “Diversity & Equality” (DIV) Courses

Below you will find the next draft of the DIV Learning Outcomes, revised last week by the subcommittee that has responsibility for that particular requirement. These revisions follow multiple spring meetings with collections of faculty from each school, and the committee invites you to respond in the comments section with questions and suggestions. At the start of the fall semester, a final working session will be held to make any last edits to these outcomes before a Call for Proposals is announced.

A. Explain patterns of thought or practices created by historically marginalized peoples.

B. Analyze how socially constructed categories of human difference create structural inequalities and how these inequalities reinforce these categories.

C. Articulate how legacies or experiences of domination, exclusion, or oppression shape contemporary realities.

D. Evaluate and reflect on values, policies, or practices needed for a more equal society.


Summary of substantive changes (from the March draft):

 Edits to Learning Outcome A addressed confusion about “modes of knowledge” by replacing this phrase with “patterns of thought or practices.” Edits also specified that these are “historically” marginalized peoples and simplified the outcome by eliminating the clause that read: “…that centralize the histories, experiences, world views, and epistemologies.” That clause unintentionally limited the outcome’s scope.

Edits to Learning Outcome B replaced “institutional” with “structural.”

Edits to Learning Outcome C added “or experiences” to “legacies of…”. Edits also added “domination” to the list shaping contemporary realities.

Edits to Learning Outcome D added “policies” to the list.

Verbs in each of the learning outcomes were revised so that these are assessible and grow increasingly complicated as students move from A to D.

The committee proposes re-titling the category from “Diverse Experiences” to “Diversity and Equality.”

8 thoughts on ““DIV” Draft Learning Outcomes (June 2018)

  1. rcsha

    B falls into the trap of equality. There are differences between people that make it so equality is ironically not the logical answer. Parents sometimes know that equal treatment is not possible with siblings because they are different and require different handling. Perhaps switch equality to inequity to avoid this problem.
    How are B and C different? I do not see enough difference between them to justify two different outcomes, and this will lead to a lot of needless wordsmithing. B and C also do not take into account Foucault’s wisdom the pleasure is a key form of power, and that power is much more than its crudest form, which is domination. The danger here is that we will only be teaching the most crude forms of power, and not the ones which deliver consent almost without our knowing it.
    D also falls into the trap of equality and denies that there are meaningful differences between people that legitimate different treatment. The University, for example, does not treat its faculty equally, but it hopefully does so equitably.

  2. aisaac

    Echoing rcsha: these learning outcomes are badly compromised by a failure to distinguish between equity and equality. I would fail a student for failing to make such distinctions, thus treating the student equitably although (hopefully) unequally.

  3. aisaac

    I believe that LO-D and especially LO-A fail to be communicative.

    I have read LO-A several times, but I can not extract a concrete meaning from any plain interpretation of the words. First, I suspect that “describe” was meant rather than “explain”, since the latter appears presumptuous in the extreme. Second, it is completely unclear what “created by” is supposed to convey in this context; is it something more than “of”? Why was the term “peoples” chosen over “groups”? Was this intended to preclude attention to some groups? (Women? Gays? Atheists?) It seems to do so. I therefore suggest instead, “A. Describe some patterns of thought or practices characteristic of an historically marginalized group.”

    I also cannot extract much meaning from D., even putting aside that “reflect on” is usually deprecated as wording for a learning outcome. Is the concept of a “more equal society” supposed to be unproblematic here? Are equality before the law and equality of outcome intentionally conflated here? Is the failure to distinguish between equality and equity intentional? I suggest instead, “D. Describe and evaluate a contemporary policy or practice that is supposed to create a more equitable society.”

  4. pascale

    I appreciate the intention here but I find three of four outcomes to be problematic. I agree with previous comments regarding “peoples” and equity—rather than equality. In addition, A. Objectifies marginalized people. B. Fails to address equity and is grammatically problematic. D. Needs to address equity, not equality; it also needs to distinguish cultural practices from individual one.

    Possible alternative wording:
    A. Demonstrate insight into practices and knowledges developed by historically marginalized people to cope with, resist, and transform processes of domination, exclusion, or oppression
    B. Explain complex relationships between constructed categories of meaningful social difference and structural mechanisms of domination, exclusion, and oppression.
    C. Articulate relationships between historical and contemporary modes of domination, exclusion, and oppression.
    D. Cultivate and evaluate values, policies and practices to develop greater equity.

  5. jeune

    Thank you for your great work.

    I would propose incorporating some form of action into the learning outcomes– encouraging students to reflect on their own participation in systems of oppression, and how they can actively combat injustice through allyship. Right now the outcomes call for students to “explain”, “evaluate”, “articulate”, and “evaluate”, but there is no call to action.

  6. snewman

    I am posting this on behalf of another faculty member , whose important insight is left out of this discussion.

    The second learning objective presumes a direction of causality that I don’t accept, and neither would most social scientists.

    “Analyze how socially constructed categories of human difference create structural inequalities and how these inequalities reinforce these categories.”

    I think the structural conditions give rise to the ideation of difference, not the other way around. Posing it the way the draft does implies that if we just change language (manipulate the ideation), somehow the structural problems will melt away. Good luck with that.

  7. snewman

    How about something like this instead:

    Analyze how structural inequalities create socially constructed categories of human difference and how these categories reinforce inequalities.

  8. snewman

    Another SPA professor suggests:

    Change name to: Diversity & Equity
    A. Describe patterns of thought or practices of historically marginalized people.
    B. Articulate relationships between structural inequities and socially constructed categories of human difference.
    C. Analyze how legacies or instances of domination, exclusion, or oppression shape contemporary realities.
    D. Propose action to address inequity.

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