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Creating a Culturally Responsive Learning Environment for Students of Color

Friday, October 24, 2003; Noon–1:30 pm; Georgian Room, Indiana Memorial Union

howard Mary Howard-Hamilton
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor of Education
PowerPoint Presentation (Howard, 2003)

Faculty members have the ability to make the learning environment supportive and inclusive for all students from all backgrounds. But do they have the know-how? We well recognize that the student population is becoming increasingly "non-traditional" and multicultural. The largely homogeneous classes of the past that posed their own substantial challenges are now giving way to rooms full of people with cultural riches—and complexities—that instructors may not be prepared to address.

Mary Howard-Hamilton has studied how students of color and white students can develop strong senses of their own identities and healthy interpersonal relationships with each other and their professors. With modest changes to teaching, faculty members can help prepare students to succeed in our multicultural society. In this session, Professor Howard-Hamilton will ground a discussion of classroom practice in identity theories that help us to understand how white people and people of color identify with their racial cohorts. In this interactive session, she will engage participants in discussion about how they, themselves, construct a sense of self and work with participants to adapt their teaching practices to create a culturally responsive learning environment for students and faculty.

Mary Howard-Hamilton is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Prior to coming to IU, she held the positions of associate professor and coordinator for the University of Florida's Student Personnel in Higher Education Program and, at the same time, held an affiliate faculty position at the Center for Women's Studies and Graduate Research (at the University of Florida). Dr. Howard-Hamilton's areas of teaching and research expertise are multicultural issues in higher education, student development theories, and feminist theory and therapy/counseling. As a researcher, she has published over 45 articles and book chapters. Her first book, co-authored with Dr. Tracy Robinson, is titled The Convergence of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender: Multiple Identities in Counseling (2000). Drs. Howard-Hamilton and Sherry Watt co-edited a New Directions in Student Services book on Student Services for Athletes that was published in April 2001. Additionally, Dr. Howard-Hamilton has published two book chapters, "Creating a Culturally Responsive Learning Environment for African American Students" (2000) and another with Dr. Patricia King entitled "Using Student Development Theory to Inform Institutional Research" (2000). She earned her Ed.D. from North Carolina State University, and both her M.A. (in College Student Personnel Services) and B.A. (in Speech and Dramatic Arts) from the University of Iowa. Among her awards are the 1999 Melvene Draheim Hardee Award, and Outstanding Student Affairs Faculty member by the Southern Association for College Student Affairs Administrators.