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Shih named interim multicultural faculty fellow

RELEASED: Sept. 22, 2010

Dr. David Shih
Dr. David Shih

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. David Shih has been named interim multicultural faculty fellow through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Title III U.S. Department of Education grant.

In his new position, Shih — an English faculty member who previously served as UW-Eau Claire's Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Fellow — will support and mentor faculty who are infusing multicultural competencies into courses that are part of a pilot program that links classes from several disciplines. The bundled courses help students address a "big question" by integrating perspectives from various disciplines.

The course bundles are part of a multifaceted liberal education reform project supported in part by the nearly $1.75 million Title III grant that UW-Eau Claire received in 2009 to make curricular revisions and to enhance advising.

The first course bundles were available to 140 first-year students this fall. Twenty-four faculty and staff members are participating in the first course bundle development cohort.

First-year students could enroll in one of the six groupings of courses; each grouping consists of four to six courses linked by inquiry surrounding a "big question." Students are taking two or three of the courses this fall and will take the remaining courses during the spring 2011 semester.

Each themed bundle addresses one of the following questions:

  • How does consumerism shape our world?
  • How are human rights and animal rights similar, and how do they differ?
  • Why is the climate changing and what should we do about it?
  • Who are we? How do we define ourselves?
  • How do humans make decisions about risk?
  • What is or should be our relationship with the planet?

"A priority component of enhancing liberal education at UW-Eau Claire is to focus on improving the multicultural competencies of the students and faculty teaching general education courses," said Dr. Susan Turell, dean of undergraduate studies. "One way this is done is to intentionally integrate content and pedagogy that improves students' awareness and understanding of oppression, discrimination and privilege on a person or group of persons' ability to access power and resources."

Several of the faculty members participating in the bundled courses already have begun work to incorporate teaching methods and assignments into their classes to help students think from a broader and more multicultural perspective, Turell said.

In his interim position, Shih will help draft a multicultural faculty fellow position description to guide future fellows' work in addition to mentoring faculty who are working with this fall's bundled courses.

A call will be put out in October for a multicultural faculty fellow to provide assistance to faculty teaching bundled courses and to faculty and staff teaching in the university's social justice living and learning community for the remainder of the 2010-11 academic year and through summer 2011.

For more information, contact Dr. Susan Turell at 715-836-4353 or turellsc@uwec.edu, or Dr. David Shih at 715-836-3502 or shihd@uwec.edu.

-30-

JB/JP

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