Creating a Balanced and Equitable Learning Culture

Kendra Jason, Ph.D., Sociology, UNC Charlotte

In any learning organization, equity, sense of belonging, safety, and support should be central to the experiences of those who share space. However, every organization has generic processes that create and maintain problems and issues related to fairness and justice. Many learning cultures do not create conditions in which all members experience equity, which disrupts the ability to process, strategize, learn, and educate. In these organizations, inequities are hidden in the structure (e.g., policy, programming, practices) and are hard to identify as they do not directly negatively impact privileged or senior members. Due to lack of balanced representation (race, gender, class, etc.) in its membership, diminished sense of inclusion and belonging, unequal distribution of resources, and microaggressions, organizations fail to support and retain members, especially women and people of color. These conditions have grave consequences including threats to access and promotion, but not limited to negative physical and mental impacts on well-being, life satisfaction, ability to provide security for members and their families. 

In this seminar participants will:

  • Build a common language around issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Examine the lack of balance and inequality in their social environment
  • Explore how organizational members unknowingly perpetuate inequality
  • Examine key areas of equity-scholarship, curriculum, policy, and students

This seminar is designed to align equity values with practice. Participants will engage in a series of self-reflective activities and take a practice-based approach to explore concepts related to equity such as cultural competence, implicit bias, and positionality to formulate action-centered steps towards equitable organizational change.

Course Engagement Activities:

  • Books:
    • Teaching for Justice and Belonging: A Journey for Educators and Parents by Tehia Starker Glass and Lucretia Carter Berry (2022)
    • Authentic Diversity: How to Change the Workplace for Good by MIchelle Silverthorn (2020)
  • Activities:
    • Self-reflection activities including writing, pair-and-share, and goal-setting
    • Topical concepts and application videos on equity, cultural competence, implicit bias, and positionality
    • Short readings, essays, and content-related podcasts