UPIKE taking steps toward a more inclusive learning environment

On Friday, December 4, the University of Pikeville (UPIKE) College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) hosted an implicit bias workshop, via Zoom, to educate faculty on the forms and impact of implicit bias. The overall goal is to create an environment that is more inclusive and equitable for all students at UPIKE.

By definition, implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. Associate Vice President of Diversity Affairs for Centre College, Andrea Abrams, Ph.D., presented information inviting faculty to evaluate their practices through the lens of inclusive teaching and learning.

“The College of Arts and Sciences is active in supporting UPIKE’s goal to be an inclusive community. Participants in the implicit bias workshop are part of a growing community of practice that focuses on principles of diversity, inclusion and equity in the classroom and in our relationships,” said Dean of CAS, Jennifer Dugan, Ph.D. “I appreciate the dedication of our faculty and staff in taking concrete steps in the right directions and helping CAS be equity-minded in all we do.”

UPIKE’s mission includes preparing students for the future and recognizing the inherent worth of all individuals. Workshops like these allow faculty the opportunity to make positive improvements in the classroom to better serve all students.

“Dr. Abrams gave a fantastic implicit bias workshop. She not only engaged with us regarding what implicit bias is and how it may express in everyday life but also gave direct, applied examples of classroom instances of bias and ways higher education professionals can combat it,” explained Associate Professor of Psychology, Rachel H. Messer, Ph.D. “I feel fortunate to work at a university in which the urgent need to restructure education to increase equity and inclusion is being addressed in concrete ways, such as through this workshop.”

Abrams presented information and advised how to make course syllabi more inclusive in terms of language and policies, as well as how to integrate more diversity into course readings and materials.

“While the ACE program does a tremendous job with inclusivity in enrollment and programming for students from various backgrounds and ethnicities, this training opened my eyes to the potential that exists to flip the script on how we market and advertise our program and its benefits to first-generation college students,” said ACE Project Coordinator, Cecil Williams, MSW, CSW. “This change in thinking opens the door to potential opportunities that exist to engage more effectively with students academically and socially.”

UPIKE is planning another workshop in January to follow up with faculty on how principles and ideals from Friday’s workshop have been applied in the classroom.