Managing Hot Topics:

Video With Tips For Professors and Students by CSUEB Graduate Students

Authors: Graduate students Brian Alexander, Lee Porscha Moore, & Maria Yescas
Supervisor: Rose Wong (Social Work)
Video: Tips for Professors & Students on Managing DSJ "Hot Topics" (37 min., click to view)

Graduate students Brian, Porscha and Maria created a very thoughtful and useful video focused on handling DSJ "hot topics" for the DSJ Teaching Guide website at the conclusion of their year of work on the DSJ Faculty Fellows and Teaching Guide Project. In their video, they (a) give tips to professors for infusing diversity and social justice (DSJ) into their classes, (b) re-enact difficult interactions with professors during office hours, and (c) give tips to students from students. Brian, Porscha, and Maria's tips are inspired by their experiences as graduate student assistants, respectively, for professors Andrew Wong (Anthropology), Sukari Ivester (Social Psyhcology) and Grant Kien (Communications) in pilot courses that incorporated DSJ teaching methods or content. Below is a summary of each section of their video. (37 min., click to view)

See also videos created at CSUEB and elsewhere on managing hot topics:

  • "Difficult Dialogues": Created over 20 years ago by CSU professors and co-directed by CSUEB Professors Gale Young & Terry Jones (26 min., click to view)
  • "Critical Incidents": Created by the University of Victoria. Watch clips in Part IV-Sense and Sensitivity ("Stereotypes and Biases, 3 min.) and Part V-Diversity & Inclusion ("Assumptions of the Hidden Curriculum", 2.5 min.; "Voice of Authority", 4 min.; "It's Our Turn", 3 min.; "Beyond Claims and Blames", 3 min.; "Intent vs. Impact", 3.5 min.; and "Learning from Difference"; 2.5 min.). (Log in with your NetID, click to view DVD 1 & DVD 2.)

Tips For Professors: Infusing DSJ Into Your Class (starts at 1:00)

  1. Cultural competence is important.
  2. Acknowledge and accept when you are wrong.
  3. Be humble.
  4. Stay up-to-date with your current generation such as using "Poll Everywhere" to get students engaged.
  5. Be aware of and evaluate your biases because they affect your students.
  6. Don't single out students as representatives; let students have the choice to not comment.
  7. Be conscientious of your tone, word choice and diction when you lecture or in your office.
  8. Separate your knowledge and your personal experiences so students can learn the knowledge but not necessarily in your own way.
  9. Classroom needs to be a level playing ground where discussions go in different directions; everyone in the class deserves an opportunity to speak and evaluate others' opinions.
  10. Empower the 'hot topic' comment and figure out the teachable moment; students need to leave knowing they can have a moment to teach in the classroom just like you do.
  11. Consider community service as an option for students to gain extra credit.

Office Hour Scenes: Insensitive and Unhelpful Interactions (starts at 23:00)

  1. A Salvadorean student tells her professor repeatedly that she is Salvadorean and shares her discomfort with having been labeled as Mexican publicly by her professor.
  2. A student whose transcriber could not attend the class and take notes tells the professor about his needs and asks for help.

Tips From Students to Students (starts at 27:00)

  1. You will have differences of opinion with professors, peers and others. Agree to disagree! Avoid confrontations in class discussions.
  2. Don't be afraid to approach your professors and advocate for yourselves! It is not necessarily the professor's job to know what you need. Communicate to professors for yourself!
  3. Be aware of your biases.
  4. Don’t enter into discussions defensively. The goal of discussion is to share diverse opinions and grow and learn from one another.
  5. The campus is here for you, the students. It is your job to be aware of what resources are available to you. We'd love professors to guide students and give students the information they need, but ...
  6. If your teacher isn’t showing the right empathy for your cultural heritage or class, you can go to Academic Affairs or to the Dept. Chair to make sure your voice is heard and you are advocating for your educational rights.
  7. Embrace differences among peers and professors. You will have some professors who may have an accent in English that is hard to understand, for example. Go get clarification in office hours, drop the class, or get help from Academic Affairs.
  8. Whether you agree or disagree with others' opinions is not the matter. Allow someone who opposes your viewpoint to be part of the discussion. Cordially continue your discussion.
  9. Ask for help. Ask for clarification. In the classroom. In office hours. This is important for your academic success.
  10. Tell your professor. Tell your TA. Be aware of your tone, word choice, and diction so that your professor wants to respond to you.