Thursday, August 26, 2021
You might remember our first Destination 2021 article in the July Faculty Insight provided an overview of the different tracks that made up this year’s fully virtual event. In this second article, we’ll share some feedback from our Destination 2021 participants.
Destination is an annual professional development program that brings Valencia College colleagues together to explore equitable teaching and learning innovations. The program — which was hosted virtually for the first time from Friday, May 14 to Friday, June 11, 2021 — received positive and thoughtful reviews from participants who hailed the event as a success, telling us, “What I experienced was way beyond my expectations” and “I will keep fighting for equity-minded practices.”
The program featured three tracks, which empowered participants to reflect on their own teaching strategies, learn from faculty in other disciplines and identify new equity-minded strategies and tools. This year, the tracks included: SEED I track, SEED II track and the new, Equity-minded Practice track (which also consisted of workgroups on welcome, inclusive syllabi and equitable assessment, among other workgroup choices).
In a post-event survey for the Equity-minded Practice track, one faculty member shared, “I learned more about equity-minded situations from the perspective of the different activities. I thought that a big positive was having students participate in one of the sessions to give us their perspective and answer our questions.” This year, the inclusion of our students in one of the session weeks of the Equity-minded Practice track was a huge success, giving the faculty and students time to talk about their different points of view on topics such as welcome activities, syllabus tone and content and how to further equitable experiences at Valencia. One colleague shared, “The session with the students was tremendously informative.”
This year’s SEED I track supported faculty, as always, in sharing the value of the personal, individualized and caring approach to teaching: “As I grow, I am better able to relate to others. My students will benefit from my growth as an educator and as a learner.” And, “They [students] will really understand how much I care for each and every person’s individual journey.” The consciousness that is created through the SEED I program was evident in much of the feedback, which one faculty member encapsulated by sharing, “Now, I am aware of things that I never had been before. This will change my decision-making moving forward.”
The SEED II track took participants deeper into the empathy required to be an outstanding and equitable teacher. One participant shared, “I will apply the ideas of identifying assumptions and turning to wonder in my teaching practice, especially so I can invoke better empathy with my students, and to engender a welcoming environment for all. By hearing how others experienced feelings of exclusion during their own education, I hope to avoid the same pitfalls of prior generations of teachers by actively working to make sure my teaching is respectful of the need for inclusion and diversity in the classroom (and beyond).”