by Debie Lohe, Director, Reinert Center
The newest members of the Reinert Center’s Culturally Responsive Teaching Academy (CRTA) convened last week for a four-day summer institute, the first commitment in the program. First piloted last year, the CRTA is a year-long development opportunity for SLU faculty and graduate student instructors who teach INTO-SLU Pathway courses and other courses with high concentrations of international students.
During the institute, participants were introduced to learning-focused course design methods and a range of cultural differences in higher education. The primary aims of the institute were to help instructors to better understand the ways in which their expectations for teaching and learning are culturally situated and to provide guidance and work time in which they could develop more culturally responsive course materials. (Read this blog post for more on the concept of “culturally responsive teaching.”)
Members of the Academy commit to attending the summer institute, a pre-semester meeting in August, and monthly meetings of the cohort during the academic year. Faculty participants are designated as Culturally Responsive Teaching Fellows; graduate student participants are designated as Culturally Responsive Graduate Fellows. All participants receive a small financial incentive for participation.
While the program was designed in response to the launch of INTO-SLU – with a focus on the particular needs of international and multilingual students – the framework for the Academy is rooted in broader research on learning-focused course design and instruction. Thus, the theories and methods underpinning the program create more inclusive learning experiences for a broad range of diverse learners.
If you want to discuss ways to create more culturally responsive courses, contact the Reinert Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.