By SAMANTHA BANELLIS
Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education plays an important role in ensuring that the university maintains a socially just campus environment. In keeping with that vision, it recently held a discussion with Fordham faculty on ensuring that Fordham fosters a LGBTQIA (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Asexual) inclusive classroom experience. Professors from a variety of Fordham’s academic departments attended this event held on Oct. 2. During the meeting, participants discussed the university’s mission in regard to how it could be applied to the dignity of all students. They worked to create discipline-relevant course curricula.
“The goal of the meeting was to identify ways in which including LGBTQIA materials and conversations into the classroom can help students understand the characteristics of the Fordham University mission that embrace the principles of social justice,” Celia Fisher, Ph.D, director of the Center for Ethics Education, said.
These faculty members are hoping to make current curricula inclusive, and they are striving to ensure that it adheres to the dignity of every student. They want to make sure every student’s opinion is heard.
To achieve this end, the center established a list of recommendations that are to be applied in classrooms across all departments. They also compiled a list of LGBTQIA teaching resources in order to aid professors. They are making these resources readily available for all Fordham professors and faculty.
In publishing these recommendations, the center wants the Fordham community to understand that they are putting forth these efforts because the university is a Catholic and Jesuit institution, not in spite of us being one. Social justice is an important part of Fordham’s mission, and the center is looking to help students understand the characteristics of this ideal.
The main goal of this initiative is to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard equally in the classroom. The center is looking to eliminate any “us versus them” terminology.
The Center for Ethics Education would like to incorporate these ideals in course offerings throughout Fordham’s many academic departments.
They are looking to provide a new outlet of discussion within the classroom, and they want to establish increased faculty support for students. Within each department, the faculty members are trying to develop new course offerings and content.
To achieve their goal, the center wants to provide mentorship for the professors in each department. The goal of this mentorship program is to make faculty members more mindful of the university’s commitment to social justice practices. They want to make professors aware of the flexibility of incorporating LGBTQIA materials into the classroom. In doing so, the center hopes that department heads and professors will eventually broaden the courses offered in all of Fordham’s academic departments.
It is important for faculty members and professors to be familiar with the characteristics of the center’s mission. Through the new course offerings and classroom environment, they are the most prominent role models in carrying it out.
Many departments are already starting to make moves to incorporate the suggestions of The Center for Ethics Education.
“The reaction to the recommendations has been very positive. Many faculty members are enthusiastic about opportunities to introduce course-relative LGBTQIA materials and discussion into the classroom, and several departments will be discussing additional steps at faculty meetings,” Fisher said.