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Teach-In Power Privilege and Difficult Conversations

Date and Time

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
8:00 AM - 10:00 PM


  • Mary Idema Pew Library » Multipurpose Room


As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail in 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…..whatever affects one of us directly affects all of us indirectly.”  We need to stand united to combat injustice for the sake of our entire community.


This teach-in was motivated by a recent racist incident at Grand Valley in addition to a number of campus indicators that continue to motivate our inclusion and equity work that include the 2011 Campus Climate Study and ongoing reports of bias incidents on campus. These incidents include hostile acts based on race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, and class.  Students reported that such incidents also occur in the classroom, and they have emphasized the importance of faculty response to intentional or unintentional bias comments and actions. These reports underscore the urgent need for the faculty to take a strong stand to oppose discrimination, intimidation, and oppression in all its forms.


This teach-in, entitled Power, Privilege and Difficult Dialogues, is being planned for the purpose of mutual education among students, faculty and staff of the GVSU community and intended to address topics related to inequality and systems of oppression, as well as social justice and liberation.  Recognizing the multi-faceted dimensions of these topics, we are planning this teach-in as a daylong event. The learning objectives of Power, Privilege, and Difficult Dialogues are to raise awareness, inform, create dialogue, and document suggestions for action.  


In an effort to involve as many students, faculty and staff as possible, we will be adhering to the MWF class schedule, with 50-minute sessions, each starting on the hour.  Please keep in mind that a teach-in is practical, participatory and action oriented. We especially encourage contributions with an intersectional framework (race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ability). Sessions should include student leaders as co-presenters or panelists. We welcome collaborative faculty/student/staff sessions that involve educational frameworks for opening dialogues, workshops, and engaged pedagogies.


A complete schedule of the teach-in schedule and related materials will be available after March 17.


On behalf of ECS (Executive Committee of the University Academic Senate), 
Karen Gipson (PHY), Chair of ECS/ University Academic Senate 
Wendy Burns-Ardolino (LIB), ECS/ University Academic Senate member


Collaborative partners include the following:
Dean of Students Office
Division of Inclusion and Equity
LGBT Resource Center
Office of Multicultural Affairs
Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center
Women’s Center



If you would like to contribute a session, please send an email to by Wednesday, March 12 with the following information:


  • Name of lead session facilitator (contact person)
  • Names of other faculty, staff student facilitators/discussants/panelists
  • Session title
  • Session Description (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Format (workshop, roundtable, engaged pedagogies)
  • Times (on the hour) you can present [e.g., 8 am, 12 pm, 1 pm and 3 pm]

You will hear back regarding the status of your proposal by Friday, March 14th.



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