Report on Reading Group for “Embracing Diversity: Developing Cultural Competence for Inclusive Education”

On Friday, November 10, 2023, DKU faculty, staff, and students were invited to our second reading group on “Embracing Diversity: Developing Cultural Competence for Inclusive Education”. This time, our discussion focused on Nuno Nodin’s “Queering the Curriculum. Reflections on LGBT+ Inclusivity in Higher Education.” This text was selected for two main reasons. First, it underscores the challenges that (LGBT+) students and staff still face regarding acceptance and integration, potentially influencing their learning and teaching experiences. Second, the text discusses the relevance of LGBT+ inclusivity in pedagogy and how it can be incorporated into higher education, providing examples from a specific discipline.

Around 18 participants, including both familiar faces and newcomers, attended the reading group event. Through the one-hour session, DKU faculty members and students shared personal encounters and anecdotes related to their experiences with the LGBT+ community. They discussed how their attitudes toward their “coming out” professors and students changed before and after reading the text. The sharing of personal experiences and anecdotes sparked discussions and raised awareness of the risks that LGBTQ+ students and staff face when trying to be themselves and coming out in professional space. Furthermore, the participating students shared their opinions on the inclusive pedagogies they would prefer their professors to adopt in class. Although there was not enough time to discuss the last question: What are your recommendations on how DKU can foster a more inclusive environment, encouraging understanding and empathy among both students and faculty members?, we plan to continue these conversations in our future events.

The event was organized by Zhenjie Weng, Assistant Professor of English Language Education, and Yanan Zhao, Senior Lecturer of English for Academic Purposes, from the Language and Culture Center. The event was sponsored by the Humanities Research Center, covering the fees for event promotion and refreshments for attendees.