Best Practices in Diversity

Priority #3 of the Diversity Action Plan (DAP) is to “ensure that curricular and co-curricular programs foster diversity competencies and engagement”  by integrating diversity and multiculturalism into courses, educational offerings, and co-curricular activities (Tasks 3.1 and 3.2); sponsoring workshops to foster diversity competencies in educational offerings (Task 3.3); and recognizing “best practice” and “best outcomes” in enhancement of inclusive, excellent learning communities” (Task 3.4).

While discussing the priorities of the DAP with a group of colleagues, someone once asked me, “How do I integrate diversity into a math class? Do I teach Black math?”  It seems my colleague was on to something.  Michele DiPietro, an instructor in the Department of Statistics and associate director of the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University, joins LGBT issues and statistics to help his students gain statistical knowledge, intellectual development, and intercultural competency:

To address the gap between queer studies and statistics, I decided with the support of my dean to develop a first-year seminar on the statistics of sexual orientation.  To my knowledge, this is the first and only course specifically devoted to LGBT content to originate in a department of mathematics and statistics.  My goal in designing the class, which I have taught since 2004, was to equip students with the statistical and critical thinking tools they would need to take informed positions in ongoing debates.  I created the course on a gamble: I had a hunch that diversity content and statistics would act synergistically and reinforce each other.  I hypothesized that the controversial nature of LGBT content would act as a “hook” and motivate deeper meaning. . . .

Because the course content centers on diversity as well as statistics, I use a variety of assessments to measure students’ learning, including mathematical problem sets, journals, concept maps, and student presentations. (Diversity and Democracy 12.3 [2009])

Want to read more about DiPietro’s Statistics of Sexual Orientation course?  Click here.

Current pedagogical wisdom is ANY course can have an element of diversity.  Do you have an interesting way of integrating diversity into your curricular, co-curricular, and/or professional activities?  Consider sharing them in a future blog post in the “Best Practices in Diversity” section of “More That Meets The Eye: A Chico State Diversity Blog.”  E-mail ideas and suggestions to me at

(Thanks to Sara Cooper and Kurt Nordstrom for bringing the article about DiPietro to my attention.)

Click here to take the rest of the diversity elements in curriculum survey.

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