The Charger Blog

Professors Reflect on Ongoing Efforts to Incorporate Diversity Across Curriculum

Alvin Tran, Sc.D., MPH, and Jessica Holzer, Ph.D. discuss an innovative diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) curriculum assessment that is taking place in each of the University’s academic colleges and schools, and provides an update on the work of the University’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Student Ambassadors.

March 8, 2022

By Alvin Tran and Jessica Holzer

Image of Alvin Tran, Sc.D., MPH, and Jessica Holzer, Ph.D.
Alvin Tran, Sc.D., MPH, and Jessica Holzer, Ph.D.

We would like to use this opportunity to share some key updates on the University’s ongoing efforts to promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) across the University’s curriculum.

Since the start of Fall 2021 semester, a team of faculty and students have launched an innovative DEIB curriculum assessment initiative to delineate current practices instructors are using to foster an inclusive learning environment. This assessment, which is a key deliverable in the University’s Strategic Plan, also aims to ensure topics around DEIB are integrated throughout the curriculum across each of our five academic colleges and schools.

Our team completed the data collection with the School of Health Sciences and Tagliatela College of Engineering last semester. This semester the assessment is expanding to the College of Arts and Sciences, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, and Pompea College of Business. Following the completion of the assessment, we aim to share a final report with the University community in July 2022.

‘An invaluable link to the student body’

Our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Student Ambassadors program continues to make significant strides across campus. The JEDI Ambassadors are supported by the Office of the Provost and provide an invaluable link to the student body as representatives of each of the University’s academic colleges and schools.

They connect with students as students, and are intimately aware of current issues and concerns impacting their peers at the University. They also serve as an invaluable resource for faculty and staff who are working on DEIB initiatives and programming in their respective colleges and schools.

So far this academic year, the JEDIs have led pronoun trainings for staff, served as student representatives in the development of new DEIB-focused minors, and organized events in collaboration with high schools that serve diverse communities throughout Connecticut.

The 2021-22 JEDI Ambassadors include:

Peri Alexander ’23 (School of Health Sciences)
Aaron Brooks ’24 (Tagliatela College of Engineering)
Finley Chapman ’22 (College of Arts and Sciences)
Mabintou Darboe ’22 MPH (School of Health Sciences)
Leo Levine-Aquino ’23 (Henry C. Lee College)
Mary Lippa ’23 (College of Arts and Sciences)
Destiny-Jenkins Rubins ’22 (Henry C. Lee College)
Kiana White ’23 (Pompea College of Business)
Ciara Wildes ’23 (Henry C. Lee College)

Students, staff, and faculty members should view the JEDI Ambassadors as a key resource and may reach out to them for DEIB support.

We look forward to continuing this important work, and I would welcome any ideas and feedback you might have to support these efforts.

Dr. Tran is an assistant professor of public health and assistant provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the founder of the JEDI program. Dr. Holzer is an assistant professor of health administration and policy and director of the B.S. in health sciences program.