Teaching Inclusively in Higher Education – InclusiveU/P2P Lecture Series

>>Just getting some technical things ironed
out and getting everyone in where they needed
to be. I’m gonna hand over the microphone in a minute; but we want to welcome you to the
Peer To Peer InclusiveU lecture series. This
is a great turnout; and we’re seeing some faces that we really haven’t seen before,
which is great because we want the word to
go forth; so I will turn over to one of our experienced peer partners. She will introduce
our panel.
>>Welcome to the InclusiveU Peer To Peer
Lecture Series sponsored by the Taishoff
Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University. Our topic today is
teaching inclusively in higher education. My
name is [indiscernible] and this is my fourth semester as part of the Peer To Peer Project
here at Syracuse University. I would like to
introduce our panel Alison Piepmeier from the College of Charleston; Tabitha Dell’Angelo
from the College of New Jersey, Bud Cooney
from Le Moyne College, Jim [indiscernible] from Syracuse University. Welcome to all of
our guests. [Applause].
>>JIM ABBOTT: There we go. Hi. Thanks
so much for having me here today. This is a
real honor, very special occasion for me. Okay. So just a little bit about myself. My
name is Jim Abbott. I teach in the music
industry program in the Setnor School of Music. I teach all of the recording, engineering
curriculum, um, in the music industry
program; so — so I have — my typical student is music industry students as well as students
in the Bandier Program studying music in the
College of Visual Performing Arts. So let me just talk a little bit about my courses and then
talk a lot about my access student Josh. Um,
so our courses in the music industry program are — are in audio engineering. They — I like to
think of audio engineering as a science-based
art; so it’s a very STEM intensive; so there’s a lot of content in the courses on the physics of
the sound of music, a little bit of electronics, a
lot of acoustic, some music study, a lot of listening exercises; so the students do a lot of
work in analyzing existing recordings and then
using that template as inspiration for the work that they eventually do in the studio. So by the
time they get about halfway through the
semester, they start working in the recording studio. Before that time, they haven’t gotten a
lot of hands on practice in the studio; so when
they get in there they really have to draw upon all that STEM knowledge that they gained in
class to work in the recording studio. And
then, of course, I mentioned, we do a lot of listening to kind of figure out what they’re going
to eventually do in the studio. So here’s my
incredible access student Josh Howard. Josh came into my first level audio engineering
course MUI 307 in the fall of 2012, right,
Cindy? Is that right? I think that sounds right. And Josh came. He’s very interested in
music. He had done some work on his own,
working in garage band on his laptop but also a very avid music listener; so he — he found
my courses in the catalog and started
attending in the fall of 2012. So just a little bit about the outcomes of MUI 307; so this is the
course that Josh was emersed in; so um, like
I mentioned before, they become very familiar with the fundamentals of sound. They
understand a lot about architectural acoustics
and recording studio design. One of the big things in the class is knowledge of
microphone theory and technique because
they need to have that when they get to the recording studio. And then, of course, they do
a lot of critical listening skills; so I’m gonna
give you some examples of the projects that Josh worked on; and then Josh worked a lot
at the end of this semester, working on a
project in the studio. So this is the kind of equipment that they end up working on. This
is our recording studio, right next door in the
Belfer audio archive. I like to think too that this technology, this creative technology is a real
motivator for the students; and most of them,
by the time they get their hands on this, they really haven’t — they really haven’t worked in
an environment like this this is totally unique
for Josh. A little bit about the course content: We learn a lot about electronics, a lot about
microphone theory; so Josh got a lost
information about this. Another couple of slides from the course. We learn a lot about
the design of the recording studio they’ll be
working in. Physics of sound. So let me just skip ahead a couple of slides here. So this is
— this is Josh’s project that he worked on the
very first semester he was in the studio with us; and let me see if I can get this to work.
Use the mouse.
♫ Music ♫

>>So this is a project that Josh worked on in the recording studio throughout the semester. It’s a local grouped called Grupo Pagan. So he did much of the engineering that went into this, did a lot of the setup in the studio, and then helped with the eventual mix down to the song. So just a little bit more about Josh. This is some feedback he gave at the end of the second semester that he was with me, so this would be the spring of 2013. Josh learned a lot. “Going to the studio was so much fun learning how to set up the microphones, untangling the cords, and getting the headphones ready for a session. Also enjoyed setting up pro tools, getting the music on to the board, listening for the beat on monitors and to hear the band in the studio. I also really enjoyed working on the WILT project. Now, WILT is our listening projects that we do to analyze recordings. It’s amazing how all that works, listening to all my favorite bands and to hear the lead vocal stays in the middle and the chorus moves from left to right on the monitors. The textbook sure does got lots of info, and thanks for helping me on what’s in the studio throughout the semester.” So, just talk a little bit, too, about what the experience was like for Josh’s classmates. In my experience, many of the students in my courses now — they’ve — they’ve gotten to high school and — and they — there’s been a lot of students with disabilities that have been included in their courses; so — so Josh integrated really well into the class. I found especially when he got to the studio and started working with Grupa Pagan. The typical students in the class really worked as mentors for him; so they were always present with him, helping him. He also served as — as a great, I think, inspiration them, just so see what was possible and how well he could do in that environment, thriving in a creative environment in the studio. Now, a little personal thing; but this is somewhat personal for me — very personal for me — um, this is Josh working in the studio. This is my son Alex, so he’s 16 years old now, a really good musician, great artist; so this experience of having Josh in my class is wonderful; and I can only hope that Alex can have an experience like this for himself when he gets a few years older; so — any questions about — about the program? There’s Alex in the studio with me. All right. Thank you. [Applause].

>>Okay. My name is Bud Cooney. And I am a professor of special education at Le Moyne College, which is just up the road from here. I think about disability every single day just because of the work that I’ve been doing. I’ve been an advocate, working with families and people with disable for probably, I don’t know, oh, for the last, I hate to say this, but almost 40 years; and so it has been a privilege, I think, for me, and an opportunity for me to be able to put my energy and my time into working with these great individuals; and so when I speak to you today, I speak about my experiences from that point of view. The other thing that I want to emphasize is when I talk about the word disability, I don’t like to use that term because I really take the perspective of restraints of each individual in my classes; and I think it’s important for us to recognize restraints and abilities and capacities that everyone brings to the table, whether it be in any learning or learning situation or any social situation, whatever it is. Well, ten years ago, I was approached by a couple of parents. I was working at the time at St. John Fisher College; and I was approached by a couple of parents who were interested in bringing their children to campus to have a more naturalized experience. Their children were 19 years old. And they were ready to move on beyond high school. This was in the infancy stages. There were a few programs around the country. I know Buff State had one going and there were a few others around, probably New Jersey at that time, even. We hasn’t experienced that at St. John Fisher. And there were really a dedicated group of parents that motivated this process along; and we met monthly and began to create this experience of this opportunity. A lot of the opportunity, initially was based around naturalized social experiences; and I really had a dedicated group of students who brought to the table opportunities for these two young adults to become, I think, connected if you will with the with the college campus. One of the things that really strikes me when I think about this idea of social connections or struck me — I was at a meeting with a parent. This was a different parent, now, who was saying to me, when I was 16, I was on the phone all the time with my friends and talking with my friends about this and that; and we were always planning to do things; or we were doing things together. When my daughter comes home from school, she has never, ever gotten a text from a classmate in school. She has never gotten a phone call; she has never gotten an e-mail; what can we do as a way, if you will, to engage her in a more naturalized or normalized social situation? So when I mentioned this, I mention this because I think it’s important for us to recognize the importance of membership. Excuse me for a minute. I forgot the technology (use the mouse.)
>>Where is the mouse?

>>Right there. >>Okay. Um, I think it’s important to recognize that if we are going to have a blending of diversity in our classes, our college campuses, I’m going to suggest strongly that instructors in those courses take it upon themselves the responsibility of facilitating as much social interaction as — along with the educational experience. I think in Jim’s class, there are opportunities for that just because of the nature of the class; but many of the classes that our students are involved with, they do not have the same engagement options; and I think it’s important as a — as a — as I said, as a responsibility to ensure that these kinds of opportunities are made accessible to the individuals that are in our classes. So when I talk about this notion, I think of membership that all students are our students. It’s the way the saying goes. And when we have our classes, we find students. It’s not on add on or a me too. Okay. Well, I’ve got Johnny in my class; and I have to make this kind of accommodation for him or her or, you know; but really Johnny is integral to who our class is as an instructor, I want to make sure that Johnny is connected socially, academically, and challenged along the way in this class. Now, I have actually, a graduate from one of my classes in here. Ah, Jenn, want to say hello? Jenn is here, thank you, right here in the red; and she actually took a class from me Le Moyne, a graduate class in autism; and Jenn is actually an expert in this area; so having an expert on autism take your class on autism was a real eye-opening experience for me; and I really have to compliment Jenn because she kept me honest, I think, and true to the learning experience while I was teaching this class; so, Jenn, thank you, I always appreciate that. Where do I begin? As an instructor, communication is critical. And as a student, it is also critical; and there is an obligation that we have to find a way to build a trusting relationship between the teacher or the instructor and the student. If we can build that rapport, that’s its foundation actually for a successful engage many throughout that semester or throughout that course; and communication is both ways. And I know it’s difficult when, as an instructor myself when I have say 20 students or 30 students or more in that class; but I have to find a way to engage my students in a — in a process of building this rapport beyond the conversational to really the human engagement to move along so that that individual, again, comes back to the sense of being a full member of my classroom. So I think that that’s really the — the foundation for this piece. Now, instructors, there’s just some things to think about. When I first started in the field, I always would be walking down the hall — I was a high school teacher, special ed; and teachers would see me coming down the hall; and they would turn around and walk the other way. [Laughter] because they would always say to me, what else does Bud want me to do? By the way, we have two buds here. [Laughter].
>>We’re going out for buds afterwards. [Laughter].
>>You guys want to come, that would be fun. But the idea was we always made deals. And the thing that’s troubling to me today, unfortunately, is we’re talking 25 years later; and we’re still making deals. We haven’t provided access yet, full access for individuals with disabilities across campus, across our society, across, really, all of our structures in our society; and that’s troubling to me. We’re moving along, like this actually this program you have here is remarkable. And it shows the progress; but we still have to make deals to make it work; and that’s a little troubling to me. We need to establish the purpose of the individual being in the class; and the student needs to know it’s his and the instructor needs to know what this is; and that’s a negotiated component. If the instructor has knowledge of that, then they’re gonna be much better equipped and much better able to provide what that student actually needs; so that’s something that I suggest, strongly. Be clear about what you expect. I learned this from Jenn. I have to be very, very clear and explicit as an instructor so that that student knows exactly what is expected from me and what I expect from them. But we also need to — we also need to be consistent, yet we need to remain flexible because things are gonna change across the semester; and as an instructor, I know that I need to remain flexible to adjust to those changes. I’m sure, like, in Jim’s example; and I know with my example just here with Jenn is that as I get to know her better or as he got to know Josh better, I’m sure that there were components of that — those expectations that changed; and so we need to maintain flexibility. And always, always teach up. In other words, hold students to the highest level of expectation. We don’t teach down; we teach up; and we bring those students up when we teach them. Natural supports, that goes along with the membership that I mentioned earlier; and then someone else is gonna talk a little bit about adaptation to modifications; so I’m not gonna mention that too much, only that we can adapt, at least in my interpretation, we can adapt curriculum in such a way. (Whispers…5 minutes? Okay.)
>>I’m sorry.
>>I’m so conscious of time because my students say I just ramble on and on. [Laughter].
>>You’re fine.
>>The — if we adapt curriculum, we’re not changing the curriculum; so for some students, we can make adaptations; so if they’re doing the same work, then we’re adapting it. So if it’s a math class and I want you to do 20 problems for home work tonight, it’s okay for me to give the one student 10 problems if it’s the same work; and they should be held to the same expectations as other students. But we might also have students that need modifications; so they may, in fact, have a parallel curriculum, where they are actually expected to do something — a similarity or some sort of a parallel type of project; and then that would have to be graded or evaluated separately. And those expectations for that project have to be negotiated separately; so that’s something that just has to be set up beforehand; and everyone understands what those are. For students, why are you taking the course? That’s the first question you have to ask yourself. Now, there are a lot of undergraduates out there that have — excuse my expression — but have no damn idea at all why they’re taking a course except it’s on their list; but I’m encouraging you to think about why you’re here. What’s the purpose? Why am I actually taking this course? What do I want to get out of it and what am I going to bring to that course? What can I bring to that course as a student? What do I need to be successful in this course? Who am I as a learner? What are the actual needs that I have that will enable me to be a successful learner? Once you figure that out, you’ve gotta ask for that. No one else is gonna ask for that for you. You have to ask for that for yourself. And no one will be as good of an advocate for you as you; so it’s important for you as a student to ad — to know what you need, to ask for your need — for what you need, and to be consistent about that. Um, and also have a backup plan because sometimes things don’t always go as planned. So always think about, okay, if this doesn’t happen, then what, in fact, might I do? A couple other suggestions for students is to meet regularly with your professor so that they get to actually know you. I already mentioned, ask what you need. Some other things because of this social engagement that I would like to see, I would encourage you to have study groups that you work with students from the class; and you have to step up and ask about that or even take a leadership role and form some study groups on your own. I think that they can be very helpful. I know even when I was in college, when I worked in a study group, I always did better in that course, than if I just did the course alone. Of course, everyone has their own style; but that’s something that could be beneficial. Then I encourage you to find some, make sure that you maintain friendships, a diversity of friendships across the campus. And these are individuals that will support you. These are people you can talk to; they understand what you are going through; and you also want to engage with these people because you want to spend time with them; they’re enjoyable, they’re fun; they’re friends. And I don’t know — I know some of the adults, like myself, well, they’re younger than me; but I have friends from college that I still connect with. And, you know, it’s so much — it’s so enjoyable to pick up the phone or e-mail or text someone; and you almost pick up where you left off. That’s a little scarey, actually; but it does happen that way. And then the last advice that I have is for you as students to find your, what I call, “voice.” This is an opportunity right now. It is a privilege, truly, for you to be on campus and to have this time in your life with this type of responsibility. And it is an opportunity for you to figure out what do you really want for yourself? College is a stepping stone toward something else; so we’re just along this path; and we’re trying to get some place; and college is a way to help us get there. And as a student, this is an opportunity for you to utilize this chance to figure out what do you really want for your life and how am I gonna get there? So thank you very much. I’ll turn it over to the next person. [Applause]
>>All right. I’m gonna invite you to do something a little bit different; and you can play along if you want to; but if you’re not into it, that’s okay. I’m gonna ask everybody — I’m gonna ask everybody to scoot your bottom toward the end of your seat and put both feet on the ground and sit up tall; and I want everybody to take a big inhale and fill your belly up with air and exhale; and one more time; and exhale. And this time we’re going to do something I call bunny breaths. So we’re going to take three quick inhales. [Sniff, sniff, sniff]>>Ah. [Sniff, sniff, sniff]

>>Ah. Good. Notice how you feel. Notice if you feel like you have a little bit more energy than you did 30 seconds ago; and the reason I had you do that is because among the other things I want to talk to you about today, one of the ideas I want to talk to you about is how I believe I’ve become a better college professor because of my included students. So I teach, one of the things I teach is child development. I studied developmental psychology in my PhD program. I know that none — nobody should be really sitting for more than 20 minutes at a time and not kind of changing things up or moving, yet I teach three-hour lectures. [Laughter].
>>And often, I had my students, I had my students sit three hours and listen to me; and then all of a sudden, I had included students in my class. And started being more mindful of how I was using my time for them and all of a sudden, all of my college students were so much happier in class. And not just happier but retaining more information, participating more, you know, my whole class changed as a function of my making adaptations and modifications for my few included students; so — so that’s one of the ideas I wanted to talk to you about today. So let’s see if I can find myself over here. So I teach at the college of New Jersey. As you can see, I didn’t add any. That was apparently supposed to be a slide that’s no longer a slide. But my name is Tabitha Dell’Angelo. I teach at the College of New Jersey. Very lucky at the College of New Jersey that we have a very large, inclusive program called Career and Community Studies. We admit — I — it’s not really me because I’m not part of that program. I’m just one of the professors who is privileged enough to have students, included students in my class; but the College of New Jersey admits about 10 students per year into the Career and Community Studies program; so I’ve been to a few graduations already and watched my students develop over four years and then gotten to, you know, say goodbye to them and see how they’re growing, even after college; so these are all of the courses that I’ve taught where I’ve had included students; and some of them I’ve taught more than once. So popular culture, power and identity and storytelling were both freshmen seminars. Child and adolescent development is a typical class that all of my child development and teacher education students need to take. Internship 1 is actually masters level course. It’s for students who are in the masters of arts and teaching program; and they — this is the first class they take where they learn all the nuts and bolts, how to plan lessons, units, you know, all that good stuff to become a teacher; and then there are these other classes. There are actually two different classes. One’s called Great Conversations; one’s called Finer Things; and those classes are intended specifically for students in the career and community studies program. They’re usually for to six week modules; and the intention is to engage with really interesting topics in both an informal and a scholarly way so that everybody in the class has an opportunity to — to discuss, you know, topics that you would discuss if you were at a dinner party, out in a mall with a group of friends. Those classes are also includes in that we have typical college students. Usually their mentors come with them; but these courses are intended specifically for our CCS students. So one of the — I will say — I shouldn’t even say one of the most popular ones; but it’s so popular is when I teach improvisational [Inaudible] and I’ll talk a little more about that. I’ve also taught a class on the art of communication; and I’ve taught everybody yoga and the breathing exercise we did was part of everyday yoga; but that also breathing exercises and movement get incorporated into a lot of my classes and I’ll talk a little bit more about why that is. Um, so some of what we do. Oh, I see what I did. The little presentation thing, right? Yay. There we go. So what do we do? So in my classes, just like Bud said, we all have the same objectives, all of my students are expected to meet the same objectives; but how we get there? All different ways. One of the big, big assignments in my child and adolescent development class is a child study. And in order to do that child study, you have to do fieldwork. When I have CCS students in my class, they do fieldwork, just like everyone else, which means they go out into a school; and they work as a classroom teaching assistant in an elementary school classroom; and they have one particular student who they follow and take notes about and analyze through developmental theory, through the course of the whole semester; and they do a big case study. They also do these mini experiments where they, you know, test out ideas about how students remember or how they understand jokes, you know, any of those — any of the things you might do in a child development class. And I wanted to bring up my child and adolescent development class in particular because this is a class in my teacher education program that many students find challenging because it’s content heavy. It’s one of the classes where you don’t go in and constantly engage with hands on activities, creating lessons, and you know, the things that are considered really fun and engaging in teacher education programs. This is like, you know, theory, a lot of theory. It’s a theory in practice; but it’s a lot of theory. When I had one particular student in this class from the CCS program, her work was so high quality, that consistently, it was better than half my typical students. And I kept bringing it to the CCS program saying, who helped her because she didn’t have a mentor who came to the class; and I would say, did she do this? Who helped her because this is really good; but she loved the idea of being a teacher and being in the classroom; and she was so in meshed in the content and it was so meaningful to her, they said, no, no, Sarah did all this work herself; and it was brilliant. So Sarah was, she was more high functioning than some of my other students; but, you know, she also had similar challenges; and she’s one of the students — she was one of my first CCS students who forced me to think about modifications I can make in the classroom; so, for instance, I give lots scholarly articles, journal articles; and I would always give these articles and say, you know, read ’em. And then come back and we’ll discuss. And often, I was faced with like crickets, you know, what do you all think? And they’re like, I don’t know, you know? [Laughter].
>>What do you think? Um and then all of a sudden, I remembered something I learned in my own teacher ed program, oh, graphic organizers. I wonder if a graphic organizer would help; so I started creating graphic organizers for all of these articles that students can take home; they can take notes; they can bring them back; then I would have them come in, work in pairs or small groups, discuss, and then we would have our whole group discussion. It was like magic. It was like magic; and they didn’t have to use them. That was the thing. They — it was something I would put on our canvas site. That’s our LMS. And I would say if you think this would be useful to you, use it. And I would have students constantly coming to me saying, thank you so much. That was great. Now I make these myself for my other classes, you know? So my typical students were benefitting from the modifications I was making for my CCS students. Um, so then some of the other things that started happening; so graphic organizers. Oh, advanced warning. So I knew I had some students who just had a lot of anxiety about being called on; so I would do what Bud said, I would tell all of my students, come see me one on one, study groups; but I would give all of my students these advanced warnings like, tomorrow, I’m gonna ask you about X. I’m gonna ask you how Piaget and Vygotsky agree and disagree with one another about, you know, whatever the concept is; and that also helped everyone in the class. Adapting assignments. And also adapting assessments. So when I taught, I mentioned in the beginning of the course, popular culture power and identity, one of the objectives I had for that class as freshmen, they’re doing this — they’re having this big transition from adolescence to adulthood, or say at least from high school to college; and one of my objectives for that class was that they would be engaged in real critical self reflection about who they were and what mattered to them and what their values were; and, initially, I thought they’d do this big paper; and I saw a couple weeks into the class that that was not gonna work for my CCS students because their ability to express their ideas in writing was very difficult; and so then I thought, okay, well, the objective was about critical self reflection. Are there other ways to do this? Yeah. Of course there are. There are lots of other ways to do this; so we wound up. Actually, I want to go back. Just push the button. Yeah, I got it. So if this works, we’ll see if this magically works. It’s not really magic, right? It’s just Youtube, but — [Laughter].
>>It seems like magic. ♫ Music ♫
>>So this was a video that the students made at the end of the semester called “I am.” And what we did instead of that big paper was we took the poem of — by George Ella Lyon about I am and all of the students wrote their own poem about who they are and how their past and their popular culture effects who they are today and who they hope to be in the future; and this was my whole class, very included; and they all took turns reading; and as you can see, we’re not great at errors but we did pretty well; and if I went through this and you watched it person by person with the exception of one person whose speech is difficult, you would not be able to tell who my CCS students are and who my typical students were; and so this was amazing; and I will say he’s really, really ridiculously good looking dude. [Laughter] >>So this cohort of students graduated last year; and honestly, I didn’t think this course was very meaningful to them. It was a freshman seminar. I think because we did a lot of activities like this, I thought, oh, they don’t think this is real work; they didn’t really feel challenged; and I bumped into some of them at graduation last year. And one — one guy, Bobby, who’s actually in a PhD program now said to me, I was just talking to a bunch of people from that class; and we were saying that that was the best class we’ve had in all four years of our college; and he specifically talked about working with the CCS students because they made videos; they made — they wrote songs; they did all kinds of amazing work together; so this is Ashley, whose poem was amazing. And it’s a shame because it’s hard to understand her. Her language is difficult but — but her poem was amazing so the video is too long for us to watch; but you get the idea. So we’ll move forward. So poems, videos, also in the storytelling class last year, another professor and I taught a storytelling class; and at the end of the semester, the idea was, in groups, they wrote their own fairy tales; and they were to perform them; and that was another situation where I gave them the choice to either perform it live or create a video and show it. And that allowed any student who wasn’t comfortable performing in the moment to, you know, to record it on their own, to edit it, to edit out the mistakes and almost — actually, I want to say all of the CCS students; but there were actually one group of CCS students who decided to still do it live. So it was a great modification for us too. All right. Um, why do we do it? It’s real learning for everyone; so we’re really committed, as I’m sure everyone is to the idea of doing authentic work, work that’s connected to what we do in the real world that is, you know, that helps students generalize what they’re doing inside the classroom to outside of the classroom, building community, absolutely, you know, when we do our improve, the improvisational acting classes are great for building community because for a few reasons, one is you get to play and laugh. The other is students touch each other; and I know that might sound really silly; but in our culture, we don’t often touch each other; and for students with disabilities, I don’t think they get touched a lot. They don’t get touched as typical students and in our improvisational acting, we all touch; and so if that’s something that makes anybody in the class nervous, those barriers just sort of breakdown; and lifelong friendships, you know, absolutely have been built; well, I can’t say lifelong; but at least three years at a college so far definitely have been built. And, again, becoming a better educator for everyone, at least for me, I feel like that’s been a big deal for me. So if anyone has any questions, I’m happy to — to answer them. Oh, just one other thing about the yoga. So one of the reasons I connected yoga was obviously from my child development classes, you know, the research that I read suggests that movement helps with memory, helps with retention, also helps bring your distress levels down; and for all of my students, not just the included students, you know, when you’re stressed out, when you’re feeling like you’re going to be judged or that you’re not going to meet an expectation. That effective filter sort of rises and maybe your able to really hear what’s being said to retain what’s being said and to be able to apply it becomes compromised; and so utilizing movement in all of the classes, I think also helps; and I know that some of the students have reported that they now use those sort of a tool for life. They use it in their experiences outside of class or in other classes as well. So, you know, I know that I was asked to do this to sort of, you know, help serve this population; but I have to say that I really feel like I’m better, you know, for everyone at my school because of this experience. [Applause].
>>Thank you. >>I do not have a Power Point. I’m the one person up here with no Power Point. My name is Alison Piepmeier and I direct the Women’s and Genders Studies program at the College of Charleston; and I am — have taught in our reach program for three years at least, maybe four. So I can talk to you about my experiences as a college professor; but what I really want to focus on here is something slightly different than what the other panels have focused on. I want to start by filling you in on feminist disability studies that approach that characterizes my research and my teaching; and I want to talk about a very broad notion of accessibility. If there’s time, I’ll move on to talking about the logistics; and I’m certainly happy to talk about that in Q and A but I want to start with the sort of larger theoretical framing; so disability study scholars often describe disability as an almost universal human characteristic; so Douglas Baynton says disability is everywhere in history once you start looking for it. Rosemarie Garland Thomson says what we call a disability is perhaps the essential characteristic of being human. I see disability studies and feminism as fitting very easily together. My definition of feminism is that it’s an effort to eradicate all forms of oppression which keep people from achieving their full humanity. Disability then is absolutely part of feminist work. And by this, I don’t mean that we need to use the social construction of gender to understand disable activism, although, of course, that plays a role; but I mean that we need to recognize disability as socially constructed and as shaped in large part by our societal stereotypes, stigmas, and institutions; and here’s a quote from Alison Kafer, the problem of disability of solved not through medical interventions or surgical normalization but through social change and political transformation. So let me talk about accessibility as one place where feminist tools an disability studies or activist tools can help to create social change and cultural intervention. One of the questions that Alison Kafer raises in her recent book, Feminist, Queer, Crip, is what accessibility means. She says we need to think about quote minds and bodies surviving in accessible spaces with both access and spaces defined broadly. Okay. So we should be thinking broadly about accessibility and I was talking about this with a class just recently, okay, what’s broad accessibility mean? And, of course, they said, you know, wheelchair ramps to get into buildings; and then they very quickly pointed out that or sort of asked why on the college of Charleston campus that don’t have wheelchair ramps or if they do, they’re on the back end of the building, they’re actually very hard to find or they’re on the parts of the campus that are not used much, weird, unfamiliar spaces; but it really was, when I said accessibility, it really was wheelchair access that they were thinking about; and so then I want to say what does accessibility mean beyond wheelchair access? And of course, we can think about many forms of accessibility, ASL interpreters, for instance, captions being produced while I’m speaking, all great forms of accessibility; but I think it’s important to get into broader understandings of disability and broader understandings of accessible; so for instance chronic fatigue syndrome and the need to have things slow down a little bit, there’s this scholar named Susan Wendell who talks about this as a social construction of disability. She says if we lived in a society where things were slower, her condition wouldn’t be a disability. It would just be who she is; but in a fast society, she experiences a disability, socially constructed. But Alison Kafer invites us to think even more broadly. And so this is an example from my own campus that immediately comes to mind when I think about accessibility. College of Charleston has a growing number of trans students. They have begun very successful activism on campus to get bathrooms and residences on campus that aren’t divided by gender binary. They’re making this happen; and so that for them, that means that they can go to the bathroom on campus; they can have a room to live in on campus; that they’re not defined by a gender binary. This is accessibility. And so one of the reasons that I want us to think about access so broadly is that it’s absolutely a component of the classes that I teach at the college, I mean absolutely a component of every class that I teach, including classes that relate to the Reach Program; and so I’m not — I’m not gonna talk — I’m not gonna talk in depth with the Reach Program, although, I’m happy to in Q and A; but we think about access as access to college. One of the things I’ve really valued most about the Reach Program most is that it’s meaningfully inclusive. So, you know, I’m outraged by high school educators I’ve talked to in Charleston County, Charleston County school district. And they’ll say, our programs are inclusive. Our students with disability eat lunch in the cafeteria and they go to PE. I’m hike, huh, that’s not actually inclusion, that’s segregation. So I find that pretty offensive. The problem, unfortunately is that many college programs that are trying to be inclusive are doing exactly the same thing. I’ve been to conferences where I’ve been told the students get to live in the dorms and eat in the cafeteria and they goo to the fitness center and they’re taking life skills classes with each other. That’s not inclusion. That’s not access. That’s segregation. That’s the wheelchair ramp on the back of the building if even that. And low expectations have measurable results. They result from and help perpetuate stigmas, stereotypes, and institutions that are not inclusive; so I’m not saying that full inclusion in school is the best option for everybody. I’m not saying everybody should go to college; but what I do want to emphasize that what our approach — all of our approaches to disability need to be grounded in a commitment to eradicating the impression that keeps from achieving their goals in humanity. Our college programs need to rule allow students with intellectual disabilities and our typical students to develop and exercise their full humanity. So I want to talk about — I want to focus on what it means to be a college student and how that relates to the Reach Program at the college of Charleston. So full humanity and sexuality. I taught, I think the first class I taught for the included students from the reach program was a class called disability studies. It may have been called something else, but it was a disability studies class. Because it was one of my classes, we were reading about various kinds of sexual and gender identities. I mean it’s a women’s and genders studies class; and it was — all of my classes are seminar classes, very discussion oriented, we’re always sitting in a circle. We’re looking at each other. We’re talking. And so we’re talking about LGBTQ identities. And one of the students who was in the Reach Program sort of paused and looked at the round of the students in the class and said, I think I’m gay. And this was a class where a lot of students in the class were LGBTQ and had voiced that; so for him to have that realization and share it was, you know, wasn’t sort of a gasp of horror from the class; it was like, oh, right on. [Laughter]. And then later that semester he started dating a guy; so I was impressed by this on many levels. First of all, I think our culture often doesn’t imagine people about intellectual disable abilities as being sexual, as having the capacity to be sexual; so he was a student, embracing his own sexuality; and he was embracing sexuality that was not heteronormative. So providing a space for that, that is accessibility. That’s what college programs should be doing. And so another — another side of this — so one of the points, I think is incredibly important is that students be provided the support so that they can be as independent as possible. Now, I can go off on a whole tangent about the fact that we’re all dependent, all of us are depependent; but we want to allow students in the Reach Program to develop the independence that they can. So part of that independence is being able to — being allowed to be a fucked up college student. [Laughter]. >>If they have some parental figure telling them, it’s time to go to bed; it’s time to wake up in the morning; you have five minutes to get to class; have you had your breakfast, you know, that’s — that’s not independence; that’s not being a college student. So if they decide to sit on the couch all day, eating potato chips and watching TV and not going to class, then they are aligned with at least 30 percent of their piers in the college at the university. So — and they get to experience the consequences of that. And they can attempt to do something different, you know, that’s — I want — students need to be allowed to mess up and experience those consequences, which is — is in many programs is not what happens. Okay. And so sometimes it’s challenging, right? A colleague and I last year, took a class, a class which included four students from the Reach Program to Washington, DC for a four-day field trip; and the second night we were there, Margarite got a call on her cell phone at about 11. And it was one of the Reach students who had taken the train into downtown DC and was lost; and so we had to get up, go find him; and, oh, my God, we were pissed. [Laughter].
>>So there are a number of factors that led to this. This particular student was having a hard time connecting to the other students. He didn’t particularly want to connect. And, you know, so neither did the other students. He wanted to test boundaries and explore. He was not the only one doing that, rest assured. But he wasn’t as able to navigate what that all meant. Because he wasn’t connecting with other students, he didn’t do what the other students did which was going to take the train with a pier so they weren’t out alone in the city; and he didn’t explore the city with the map and have a plan for getting back; so — so we need to allow students the space, you know, to test those boundaries; and we have to figure out ways to do that that will keep them safe. I don’t know. And he was perfectly safe. It was just really, really irritating for us to have to go get him. [Laughter].
>>I mean, if he knew where he was, we would have been like get in a taxi and we will pay for the taxi when he arrives at the hotel. But that’s meaningful, right? This is a meaningful part of being a college student. If we put gates around our students, then they’re not having any experience of being college students. That’s not access. That’s, you know, I don’t know about being in a little hamster cage where you get do look out and you get to look in. Oh, how cute. Your college is doing such a great job. No. That’s dehumanizing. And let me just, there’s tons more I could say; but just one more thing I wanted to say about whatever, basically, one of the many ways in which this has helped my teaching broadly, all of my syllabi now have this lengthy statement, which you should listen to. “This class seeks ways to become a working and evolving model of inclusion and universal design for all participants. Individuals with disabilities of any kind who require — this is in all syllabus — you know, test accommodations, any kind of accommodation, please tell me. We’ll hook you up with our center for disability services. That’s not exciting. That’s on everybody’s syllabus anyway. If you need help, center for disability services will help with accommodations. Okay. That’s fine. That’s very good. I’m not dismissing that; but here’s what — due to a colleague’s help, I added — I encourage you to approach me with any other life circumstances that may effect your participation in the course. These may be personal, health related, family related issues, or other concerns. The sooner I know about these, the earlier we can discuss possible adjustments for alternative arrangements as needed for home work assignment for class. So the notion here is yeah, we have the standard model of disability; but let’s think about disability more broadly. You may have other things that are effecting you that you need to talk to me about that you may not be defining as disability; so the second day of classes, when I put this on my syllabus for the first time, the second day of class, I had a student approach me about a sexual assault that she’d experience the night before; and she wasn’t sure how she was going to be able to do the coursework because she was recovering. Um, and I was so glad to know because first of all, I’m a women’s and gender study instructor, I have tons of resources; so I was able to offer her the option of a number of reputable resources she could connect for her recovery. And we were able to make a plan for her coursework. This semester, I had a student approach me after the first day of class because of that announcement on the syllabus and tell me that she’s a single mother and she was working very hard to get into Section 8 housing; and until she got into this housing, she wasn’t sure how she would be able to complete the coursework. So, again, another student, probably would not have told me this; but by telling me, we are able to make things work because for all of us, of course, is for our students to succeed; and that success is not always gonna fit into the same model. Um, so that broadened notion of disability and the broadened notion of access, I think is really allowing our classes to do what we want them to do. It’s allowing more of our students to succeed. Thanks. [Appluase].
>>Okay. Now we’re going to turn things over to our moderator, Bud Buckout. If you have any questions, one of us will run the microphone to you so that the CART transcriptionist can take down your question and your answer. Just let us know which panelist you’d like to hear from or if all of them, that will be fine.
Q. Okay. Well, I have one for Jim to start off with. Would you mention a little bit more maybe about the summer class or the Subcat that Josh took with you?
A. Oh, absolutely. So in the Setnor School of Music, we have a summer program called the music technology access project. It’s a graduate music education class which is taught during the second summer session. It’s an experience for graduate music ed students where we bring in students from local high schools with — to work with students over at Subcat studios in Armory Square; so it’s inclusive music immersive technology experience that lasts for two weeks in August. Josh, after he had completed my coursework in music industry program, the last two summers, we brought him in; and he acted as a teacher’s assistant for the course; so he taught graduate students in music education how to operate the equipment in the studio. So it was a really wonderful thing for me to see Josh go from being a student in the undergraduate student in the music technology courses to teaching the technology to graduate students in sub cat studio in Armory Square; so — so he’s done that with us for the last two summers.
Q. Hi. I’m Wendy Harbor. I actually [Inaudible]. Thank you all for being here. I am wondering if you can talk a little bit more about grading and assessment. I think this is a big thing that we struggle with here and as a professor, I’ve struggled because um, I just, I would love to hear what you folks do in terms of grading and assessment on different classes, different campuses, that sort of thing. I’d appreciate it. A. Okay. So I mean grading and assessment I think is always tricky and for me, I can’t remember who said flexibility being so crucial. I absolutely think flexibility is crucial. I mean, I find this with my typical students too; but what I started doing more and more is having rubrics. And rubrics identify, you know, what are my goals and so sort of what, at what level is the student working toward achieving those goals? And those helps me to grade. But if I find that somebody’s very easily meeting my goals, then the goals aren’t, you know, aren’t challenging enough; and so I change them. I don’t know. In my case, it’s not always that rigid. It may be well be that I read an essay that a student has written; and I think, okay, you need to come talk to me before you write the next essay because you don’t seem to get at all what I’m going for, which doesn’t mean my expectations need to be lower, it means I may need to explain this more thoroughly; but the same things happen the other way, I had a student write an essay, like whoa, okay, let’s take this up a level because you’re doing more than I thought you could. You know, so it’s somewhat easier for me to make a guess about a typical college student just because I know them better; and I’m just having to learn a different, probably more appropriate way of making guesses with student in the Reach program, which honestly would be better for all my students if I took that approach.
>>So at TCNJ, we are all about rubrics. I would say because we have so many students, we have a wide range of ability; so um, you know, I have — there’s one student in particular, I have now who is brilliant; but he really can’t read or write. So everything — he has to use audio, audio books and audio; and his ability to express his ideas in writing it is really limited; so I always have to think about, you know, what are my objectives? If my objectives are about him understanding and being able to apply this material, if I can see him do it, if I can hear him do it, if I allow him to do it verbally, is that good enough? Sometimes my objectives are about writing, in which case, I would sit with him and say, listen, you know, I — I know what you know; but this, what you’ve written isn’t a good representation of what you know. And so I’m, you know, personally, I’m not a good writing teacher. And so I will encourage him, refer him to the writing center or to work with his mentor more closely or something like that; so I definitely have run into students just because of their particular disability have difficult — difficulty in — in producing work in the way that I traditionally expect to see work; and so I often have to make adaptations to, you know, to what I expect, the modality in which they hand in the work; but not — not the quality, you know? And I have students who — their grades aren’t great; but I want them to know, you know, here’s where I hoped you’d be and here’s where you are; and let’s see how to get you to bridge that gap.
>>But for me, I think of it as a differentiating instruction for a particular student which I do in my classes any way for typical students. Some students aren’t really good test takers but a lot of the — a lot of the grading in my course is offset by project work that they do; so creative work in the studio; so if — if the student doesn’t perform as well on written exams, they tend to be able to go into the studio and produce projects at a very high level. I know in the case of Josh, we — I allowed him to complete his exams outside of class; and that, to give him some extra time. Give him a few days to work through the problems as well as reference materials; but for me the proof in the pudding is when he started working in the studio and making music in the studio and the result being what you heard today; so — so it kind of works itself out in the end, yeah. >>A couple of things — a couple of things I thought of. One is when we talk about rubrics, we’re really talking about criteria. So what is the criteria that we want to establish, based on the purpose of the student being in the class? So that’s kind of where the starting point is; and then based on that, what are my expectations for this particular project? I try to give choices, so I usually say, okay, here’s four choices. You can write; you can create a video; you can come up with a music projector skit, whatever it might be. Whatever you do, here’s the criteria for that; and the criteria always remains the same unless it’s individualized, then I have to adjust, based on that. Learning, for me, though, in my classes, is a developmental process; so I’m always critiquing and then encouraging students to take the critique information an then revise and resubmit. I know a lot of professors done do that; but in the end, my feeling is I want the student to come out of my class, having learned something. I’m not that invested in which grade they get. If everybody gets an A, that’s great; but for me what skills do they have when they get out of this class? So that’s my approach. Q. I’m wondering, I know a lot of the programs you mentioned have different names like Reach and CSS. Are they diploma bound programs or non-diploma bound; and could you speak a little bit about whether you think that decision is beneficial or if it’s enough access or if, you know, through the idea of whether it’s a diploma or not.
A. So at CCJ, they don’t get a diploma, but they get a certificate — oops, sorry — they get a certificate of completion, so they do spend the four years. They have a graduation ceremony; and, you know, I don’t know what the politics are behind that; so — but I can put you in touch with people who would know at CCJ if you’re interested.
>>What we have at the college of Charleston is very, very similar. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m always very troubled by anything that is diminished, that sort of has the point of view, well, the sort of pat on the head. They tried hard and they can get a sort of diploma. Yeah. I don’t know what I think about that. Now, they’re doing less coursework because they’re taking two College of Charleston courses per semester and then the rest of their credit hours are in, you know, living skills, credit hours; and they also do an internship every single semester; so is there a way to make that into a full degree? >>[INAUDIBLE]. >>Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s a good question, and I’m not part of the board for the program; so I don’t know. It always worries me. >>Hi, just to throw in here, I am familiar with one community college in Bellevue, Washington that went through the process with their institution of creating an accredited — AA program for their diploma certification for their students who had completed a certain amount of coursework; but I know that that’s a very, very long process. Now, here at Syracuse University, the university college will grant a non-credit certificate but Buckout can speak to that because he was very instrumental in that process; but it’s also an inclusive option because anyone could get a noncredit certificate with a focus on and the students are auditing courses. I guess one of my questions was that obviously there’s that credit audit, sort of question. How much flexibility are you comfortable with when the student is actually pursuing credit as opposed to when students are pursuing, taking the course as an auditor have you had that experience? A. I’ve had — [LAUGHTER] I’ve only had credit students take my course for credit; so everything has been based on that, any of the students that I’ve had; and so as I said, I would make adjustments or provide choices or whatever it is; and when I was talking about adaptations, I could make an adaptation and have them do less of something but the same level of work. Give them like — I would do like Jim said, they can take the exam or the do the activity at home and not necessarily do it within the class time or whatever that may be.>>I will just say at CC and J, students are not on my official roster; so at the end of the semester, the people who administer the program will ask me to complete an assessment and tell me what their grade would be. And I always tell them, you know, I complete the assessment that they ask for; but I tell them, this is what their grade would be had they taken this class for credit, you know? And um, and I — I know I’ve had some CCS students who were a little upset because they’ve had some classes where their professors just say “A” and they don’t necessarily always earn an A from me so they get upset because they imagined they’d get all “A”s and all of a sudden it’s like well, Dr. Dell’Angelo gave me a “B” and you know, I have to have a lot of long conversations about, since when is a “B” bad? Since when is a “C” bad? You snow? And look how much you learned and let’s talk about what you’ve learned but I think that one of the potential downfalls of it not being for credit is that some professors just also see that as, well, they worked really hard, an “A,” you know? And some students may not get a true idea of where they could have grown and appreciate the work that they did, even if it’s not an “A.”
>>And I had a different experience. So the first Reach class I taught, I guess several that I’ve taught was in fall semester. So the first semester that all the students had had, first-year students had had on campus; and one of the students who was in the Reach program had worked really, really hard; and I was holding him to a pretty high standard; and he earned a “C” minus; and I did think like, oh, he’s gonna be upset about the “C” minus because I know how hard he worked; but that’s what he earned; and I so I gave it to him; and he actually got teary. He said, this is the first time anybody’s given me a grade. He said, always before I’m also fine, checkmark. He said this is a real grade, isn’t it? And so he was just — it was significant, I’m being taken seriously as a student because I got a “C minus.”>>That’s respectful.>>Yeah.>>Jenn wrote that she just wanted you to know that she has a bachelor’s in psychology from Le Moyne and she has her CAS in disability studies and her master’s in education from Syracuse. She says I am now pleased and appreciate your willingness to step away and recognize the importance of total and complete inclusion and UDL is the hope of the disabled students to succeed through technology.>>Thank you.
>>Thanks, Jenna. Q. Hi. So earlier in the semester. I’m a TA for a freshman inclusive education class here at Syracuse; and I posed a question to the students, what might — what are the advantages and disadvantages if we gave students here at Syracuse accommodations regardless if they were registered with the office of disability services, regardless if they have disabilities; so our professor Piepmeier — is that it?
Q. You sort of mentioned broadening the idea of accommodations and access. I’m just wondering sort of like if going sort of going down that route, you know, what might be the benefits of trying to move toward this idea that you don’t need to fit into a box to get accommodations and how we might get there if it’s something that we want to do?
A. I mean I definitely think — my — my goal as an educator is not to get the lowest grades possible; and so in some sense, one of the things — okay, here’s a student who told me she was raped. You know, the victim blaming culture would say, well, what if she was lying; we know how many women lie about being raped. That was extreme sarcasm because it’s almost none. Um, but I thought, you know what, if a student told me the story and, in fact, wasn’t true and I made accommodations for the student, I would rather be wrong in that way than be wrong in the other way. I would rather not have a student that was traumatized and say, nope, too bad for you. So I think — I’m very interested in allowing the classroom to be a real learning space for students wherever they are; and I don’t think it’s just, you know, ADHD or, you know, whatever that — those are conditions that deserve accommodations. I would like to see a large culture of, you know, recognizing that many of us hit challenges that may be medical; they may be personal; and that we may need extra support; and just let me say this briefly rather than going off on a tangent, that report requires a lot of safety. You’ve gotta feel safe to tell your professor you were raped; you have to feel safe to tell your professor you’re a single mom that’s trying to get Section 8 housing. Those are some things that in some situations could be very dangerous things to share. So to create enough safety for a student to be able to share that is a big, big, big deal; and it can be very hard.
>>Can I address that question also? I wanted to bring up this idea that in our society we have this notion, in order to get this distance that Alison is talking about, you have to be labeled. Now, labelling is putting your private life out there; so how many of us want to go to the office of disability support and say, oh, by the way, I’m intellectually disabled. I’m emotionally disturbed; I have a friend, actually, one of my early students that I had taught years ago who called me up a few years ago; and I actually couldn’t remember him at first because it was so long ago; but in talking with him, I realized who he was; and he had been labeled emotionally disturbed; and we got in this friendship since this call; and he told me last summer, he said, well, the single most thing that — well, he’s 45 years old now. So he said the single most thing that has been difficult for me in my entire life is to shake this label of being labeled emotionally disturbed. He said, I still carry that with me. And he has had a successful life. And I think that the idea that we have to make accommodations based on labels only is contrary to what we really should be doing in education. Just leave it at that.
>>Can I say one other thing? I’m thinking of a student this semester who — who’s looking for Section 8 housing and had a very, very challenging semester. Um, I don’t want to — I don’t want to lead to the assumption that you’re working so hard, you have a hard day, you have just a hard life, that’s not it at all, she’s earning pretty low grades. What I’m doing is talking with her about ways that we can — that she can redo work that she wasn’t able to do because of the crisis happening at her house. Could we — could we make the later exam in the semester count for more than the midterm because it seems like a month from now, her life is going to be in better shape, I think; so she’s probably not going to get a good grade in the class; but I’m gonna try to make it so that she can pass the class if she’s willing to work, if I can help make that happen; so it’s not at all like you’re in trouble, therefore, you get an “A.” Q. Professor Piepmeier. A. M-hmm. Q. First of all, I appreciate your comment. I have actually said similar things to students of mine. It’s not on my syllabus, but I’ve said similar things. I did not realize that in doing that that had created space for students to tell me things that you wouldn’t tell other professors. Um, and so I would work with students. I had a student that was pregnant one semester, I worked with her. I have a student who is not in my class; but she is a [INAUDIBLE] of mine because she disclosed to me that she would not disclose to other people who are in professor roles. So oftentimes what I find is students will talk to me; and I’ll say well have you told your other professors? And there’s something about — I don’t know if it’s the culture of academia where it’s not encouraged like that that space is not opened up for students to actually share that; and so it’s distressing to me because I would love for them to share with the other professors; but I don’t know how much of this, maybe you can speak to this, maybe — culture how we think — all students to get through their college career.
A. I absolutely think that institutional culture needs to change, no question about it. My experience. I’m Director of Women’s and Gender Studies; so I’d say every other month, a student who’s not necessarily in my class will come to me and tell me that she or he has been sexually assaulted or is in a dangerous relationship; so this is stuff I encounter very regularly. And there’s — a change that needs to happen on my campus that I actually always send campus to off campus resources because I want to send them some place where they are safe and won’t be victim blamed. So in some ways I would say my students, it would be potentially really damaging for my students to tell other faculty. And sometimes other faculty are the problem; in those cases I will actually keep the students — I will do what the student wants if the student wants me not to share information, I won’t; but I will make work very hard to make sure that if something’s happening on campus, I will be the bitch and approach that; but it’s tricky, right, if students come to you, it’s often — they’re really wise in not telling other faculty members; and it’s your college. You have to explore your campus to determine if there are safe places that you as a faculty member can turn to for support and or places where you can send the students for support.>>Okay. I think we’ll wrap up. Let’s give a hand of applause.

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