Impact — Winter 2022
Welcome to the Winter 2022 issue of Impact: The Journal of the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning. This special issue of the journal is devoted to creating antiracist classrooms through interdisciplinary teaching, learning, curriculum, and leadership. The essays in this special issue explore a variety of issues related to doing the work—both personally and in the curriculum—of creating antiracist classrooms and universities.
Indeed, the first essay of this special issue details the author’s thinking about and experiences with constructing a 21- day programmatic approach that offered structured learning along with accountability measures for graduate students, staff, and faculty at Boston University who were interested in unlearning racism and learning antiracism. After cautioning readers that antiracist efforts run the risk of being molded by neoliberal racist academia, the second essay explores how contingent faculty might be impacted in unique ways compared to their more secure counterparts when those faculty teach antiracist curriculum without institutional support to do this work. In light of the fact that Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been publicly debated and even banned in some places in the American education system, the third essay argues that successfully curating and teaching an antiracist curriculum cannot be done without properly understanding the value of CRT in teacher education. It also offers an example assignment for an antiracist composition and rhetoric curriculum as well as the author’s experience participating in an antiracist reading group for faculty at her university. The fourth and final essay explores intersectionality in both a case study of and interview with Dr. Carmen Twillie Ambar, an African-American woman who has successfully advanced through successive layers of academic positions in public and private institutions to become the president at two different American liberal arts colleges. Detailing Dr. Ambar’s emphasis on personal integrity and concern about historically disadvantaged student groups, it also explores her philosophy and varied experiences as a woman leader in academia. Additionally, this essay details the five foci of Dr. Ambar’s Presidential Initiative at Oberlin, which offer a heuristic model for other organizations doing antiracist work at universities.
Our Impact book reviews explore texts that address antiracist classroom strategies. Both reviewers examine books initially written for K-12 educators, but show how these books can serve all educators in their classrooms, including university educators. Our first reviewer details an author’s practical guide to class discussions about race that also offers guidance for more effective classroom experiences. Our second reviewer explores an author’s call to decenter whiteness in schools both by helping their teacher candidates understand their racism and oppression as part of their teacher development training and by offering concrete strategies to disrupt the focus on whiteness in curriculum and curricular decisions. By offering these two windows into anti-racist curricula and practices for younger learners, we suggest that post-secondary educators also can deepen their understanding of some incoming students’ experiences and expectations regarding antiracism in their classrooms.
Much ongoing work remains to be done to create antiracist classrooms through interdisciplinary teaching, learning, curriculum, and leadership; we hope you enjoy the various insights shared within this issue about doing so, and we continue to wish all our readers and writers good health and fortitude as 2022 continues to unfold.
All the best,
Cheryl and Lynn
Lynn O’Brien Hallstein, Editor-in-Chief
Cheryl Boots, Guest Editor, retired Senior Lecturer, College of General Studies, Boston University