The Social Justice Pedagogy Working Group:
A Community for Graduate Student Teachers at UCLA
As an English Phd student here at UCLA and as the Chair of the Social Justice Pedagogy Working Group, I am excited to announce that we are currently planning new workshops and meetings throughout the rest of the 2017-2018 academic year (and beyond) in which we will get together and discuss the ins and outs of teaching. Below I cover what the working group is, how it got started, what we have in the works, and how, exactly, grad students at UCLA can be involved.
What is the Social Justice Pedagogy Working Group?
The Social Justice Pedagogy Working Group (SJP) is a student run group dedicated to creating a community in which graduate students can read and discuss research on higher education pedagogy, attend workshops to further skills, and create opportunities for graduate students to share lesson plans and techniques, all with an emphasis on classroom inclusivity and social justice.
How did SJP get started?
When I first began teaching in the second year of my English PhD program here at UCLA, I quickly realized no single class could have prepared me for the variety of issues I would face every time I stepped into the classroom; they were just too varied and unpredictable. What do you do when an instructor discusses sexual assault in a dismissive way during a lecture? What do you do if you encounter a student who is struggling with serious family issues? What do you do when a student says something racist during section? Despite the caring support of my department, I needed a space to discuss issues related to creating the kind of classroom environment that encourages learning from all of my students. Thus, with my co-chair, fellow graduate student Christine Gottlieb, I started the Social Justice Pedagogy Working Group in 2014. After a brief hiatus, we are happy to be back in action!
What do you have planned for the rest of the academic year (2017-2018)?
Thanks to new funding, we have the opportunity to do new meetings and workshops. Besides discussion meet-ups, we will be offering two workshops in Spring quarter: The first workshop will focus on the Center for Accessible Education (CAE) and accessible classrooms and the second workshop will focus on creating an inclusive classroom. Beyond that, we are excited to dream bigger for 2018-2019.
How can you be involved?
Come attend our meetings and workshops or even help plan them! If you want to be added to our mailing list, just email your name and department to us here: SocialJusticePedagogy@gmail.com and we will let you know the dates and locations for our events. If you have questions or want to learn more, you can email SocialJusticePedagogy@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author: Vanessa Febo is a graduate student in the Department of English at UCLA. She currently serves as EPIC’s Graduate Student Researcher.