Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Editors' Note: NECIT, CIT, and Teaching Transformations 2009

Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Editors' Note: NECIT, CIT, and Teaching Transformations 2009

Article excerpt

The second annual 2009 issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, dedicated to the chronicling of representative experiences of teaching transformation in the New England area and elsewhere, brings to you selected proceedings of the annual conferences of the Center for the Improvement of Teaching (CIT) and the New England Center for Inclusive Teaching (NECIT). It has been a pleasure for the issue co-editors and the journal editor to collaborate in helping to disseminate papers that continue to reflect the diversity and richness of presentations at the CIT and NECIT annual conferences respectively organized by Vivian Zamel and Jay Dee and their colleagues.

In this editors' note, while welcoming the contributions to this issue, we intend to provide some brief background information about the two grassroots teaching improvement initiatives that CIT and NECIT have represented over the years, and how the journal Human Architecture has also found an overlapping common interest with the two UMass Boston initiatives in publishing their conference proceedings. While CIT is the older tradition emergent from UMass Boston, it may be interesting to read the histories of the two traditions backwards and begin with NECIT in order to gain an overall insight into the ongoing work of the two initiatives.

About necit

NECIT was established in 2003 as a consortium of colleges and universities committed to fostering innovative faculty development programs that link effective teaching to an understanding of student diversity. Inclusive teaching refers to pedagogical approaches that emphasize the unique skills, abilities, backgrounds, cultures, and experiences of students as frameworks to foster learning. Related curricula focus on infusing issues of diversity into a wide range of courses across disciplines. NECIT relies on a broad conceptualization of human diversity to include forms of difference associated with race, ethnicity, gender, age, social class, disability/ability status, sexual orientation, language background, culture, religion, and country of origin, as well as differences in learning styles and prior academic preparation. NECIT seeks to disseminate inclusive pedagogical practices, support curriculum change initiatives, and advance the scholarship of inclusive teaching and learning.

Under the leadership of Esther Kingston-Mann, a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Boston, NECIT received a planning grant from the Ford Foundation in 2003 to assess the feasibility of establishing a multi-institutional faculty development consortium. Then, in 2004, NECIT received a two-year grant from the Ford Foundation to implement the consortium plan. Along with the University of Massachusetts Boston (the lead institution), the participating institutions included two public universities (University of New Hampshire and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth), one public comprehensive college (Rhode Island College), two private institutions (Lesley University and Emmanuel College), and two community colleges (Massasoit Community College and Middlesex Community College).

The primary activity associated with the grant was to convene semester-long faculty development seminars at each of the seven participating institutions. The seminar groups, which consisted of six to eight participants, received mentoring and consultation from faculty members at the University of Massachusetts Boston who had extensive experience with inclusive teaching initiatives through their work with the Center for the Improvement of Teaching (CIT). The relationship between CIT and the NECIT institutions, however, was not prescriptive. Each seminar group had the capacity to set its own agenda, and each group implemented its own campus change project to promote inclusive teaching. (See the Dee and Daly article in this issue for further descriptions of these change projects.)

NECIT convenes an annual conference, which showcases the scholarship of inclusive teaching and learning. …

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