Without a doubt, June and July are exciting months in the IRT office. As we embark upon school list advising with a new cohort of 166 IRT scholars, the office also is buzzing in anticipation of the 29th Summer Workshop and the arrival of 29 Interns. This year’s Interns will descend on Andover on July 2, 2019. The cohort is a diverse one representing 24 institutions:
California State University, Sacramento
Notre Dame of Maryland University
Salem State University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of Pittsburg
University of Texas, Austin
Wayne State University
Congratulations to Women’s Studies Professor LaKisha Simmons, IRT ’02 who is the recipient of this year’s Black Celebratory Cornerstone Award! Selected annually by graduating students, the award recognizes faculty or staff who enhance the academic and social progress of African American students at the University of Michigan.
Creating a Syllabus that Centers Black History – by Andrea Adomako, IRT ’14
In James Baldwin’s “A Talk to Teachers” (1963) Baldwin wrote the following: The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. The purpose of education…is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black or this is white…to ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity. But no society is really anxious to have that kind of person around. What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society.
Today, considering the current socio-political environment we live in, Baldwin’s words still ring true. As students are taught to “ask questions of the universe and then learn to live with those questions” Black History has a historical role in inspiring the productive inquiry Baldwin speaks of. In recent years there has been a greater push to consider Black History beyond the month of February. Incorporating Black history year round is an important pedagogical shift that asks educators to elevate the history, events, and individuals that shape Black history both in the United States and globally. This shift begins first and foremost with the syllabus. Whether you are teaching a traditional History, English, or Engineering Course; or if you are teaching within an interdisciplinary field, the syllabus is the place to express and reflect your political and ethical commitments to Black History. Continue reading “Creating a Syllabus that Centers Black History”
My participation in IRT’s summer workshop, and the mentorship I received afterwards, was one of my first experiences in being asked to consider what kind of scholarly research I intended to do, and was where I first learned to be mindful in deciding where my ‘intervention’ might be. Being asked to imagine myself as a future leader in research was an empowering experience, and I credit IRT with many of the lessons I work to impart upon the students I work with today. Indeed, one of my most powerful memories of IRT’s summer workshop is watching our entire cohort, one by one, learn to proudly identify ourselves as scholars—I now do that same exercise with the students I mentor.