Faculty Highlight: Edie Gaythwaite First to Complete Peace and Justice Practitioner Certification for Faculty

By Claudia Zequeira

A year of hard work has paid off for Edie Gaythwaite, professor, speech, the first faculty member to complete the PJI Peace and Justice Practitioner Certification for faculty at Valencia.

Community of Scholars is the first requirement for the Peace and Justice Practitioner Certification for faculty, followed by three Faculty Development courses in learning-centered teaching practices and three Faculty Development courses in inclusion and diversity. For a Peace and Justice Practitioner Certification for faculty planning document that lists all required courses and electives, click here.

The Peace and Justice Practitioner Certification for faculty culminates with a capstone. During the capstone, faculty members implement a peace and justice practice in their classroom. At the end of the semester, all participants present their project findings to the capstone cohort, prior to being awarded the Peace and Justice Practitioner Certification.

Edie’s efforts resulted in a lesson developed for her SPC 1017 Interpersonal Communications online course.

In her course, she asked students to identify the challenges facing communities and to analyze the role of communication in resolving those challenges. Race was the topic to which PJI principle 8 — Identify Assumptions — was tied.

Edie said her learning activity consisted of assigned textbook chapter readings focusing on topics such as perception, culture and discrimination. A variety of formative and summative assessments related to race were also embedded in the course.

The themes of the readings were tied strategically, so the relationship between the PJI Principles and issues that today’s students are interested in — including belonging, living in a sustainable and just world, and the plight of marginalized populations — could be better examined.

In addition, students took a survey developed by Wichita State University on racial attitudes and perceptions and were asked to identify their own unconscious and implicit bias.

“By first understanding self, students could then move toward making meaning of others and our world,” Edie Said.

Edie’s class also watched a documentary on race and interacted with an online sorting activity produced by California Newsreel.

“The online discussions were rich conversations,” said Edie. She also quoted one of her student’s responses to the documentary: “I love the quote at the end of the documentary, and I think it really sums everything up — ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,’” Edie said.

Edie said the PJI Peace and Justice Practitioner Certification for faculty is important because it allows professors to create lessons that students care about. She also said she recommends the certification to any faculty member who is interested in building community in their class whether that class is face-to-face, mixed mode or online.

“I think we can all find space in our curriculum to incorporate the PJI Principles in some way,” she said.

If you are interested in this certification, visit your campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation.


  • Melissa Johnson said:

    I completed this certification with Edie and was so impressed with the work she presented at the capstone. I know that her students are learning deeply in her classroom and be challenged to engage in difficult conversations.

    AMFri, 28 Feb 2020 10:19:07 +0000Fri, 28 Feb 2020 10:19:07 +0000am20,10:19 am

    • egaythwaite said:

      Thank you for the lovely remarks, Melissa. I can say the same about you and your students.

      AMFri, 28 Feb 2020 10:23:40 +0000Fri, 28 Feb 2020 10:23:40 +0000am20,10:23 am

  • Jane said:

    Great work! I love working with you! You are so inspiring!

    AMSat, 29 Feb 2020 07:26:31 +0000Sat, 29 Feb 2020 07:26:31 +0000am20,7:26 am

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