The recent cultural and political climate has seen a shift toward stronger racial lines drawn among ethnic groups. Yet, in any academic institution, the classroom must be a safe environment where open-minded and civil discourse can be engaged in for all racial, religious, and cultural students. Creating a guided open space where voices can be heard allows underrepresented students to feel heard and seen, illuminates diverse perspectives, and creates an inclusive environment.
This presentation by William Jessup University’s Professor Nathan McQueen will discuss the importance of fostering cultural inclusion in classrooms. Drawing on his experience teaching at multiple universities and colleges in Sacramento, California (the third most diverse city in the United States) as well as teaching in Hawai’i, Professor McQueen will explain what he has learned from his successes and failures in integrating cultural studies and issues in his highly diverse composition classes. He will also provide strategies on implementation and factors to consider when assessing your student population, including region, race, socioeconomic status, and other external factors.
Some strategies discussed will include assigning culturally focused fiction and nonfiction writings by diverse voices, class viewings of films and documentaries, class and group discussion methods for culturally sensitive issues, and how to create a relaxed and safe environment in the classroom through interpersonal connections with students.
Professor N.T. McQueen has taught English composition at a variety of universities in California and Hawai’i with incredibly diverse cultural student populations since 2015. He has done humanitarian work in Cambodia, Haiti, and Mexico and worked in juvenile halls. He holds an MA and BA in English from CSU-Sacramento, and his writing has appeared in issues of the North American Review, Fiction Southeast, Entropy, The Grief Diaries, Camas: Nature of the West, Stereo Stories, and others.