FIDM to Offer Perspectives on Diversity Course
As the country continues to reckon with issues racism, discrimination, power, and privilege, FIDM Instructors, Dr. Gwenael Matos (pictured at left) and Dr. Monica Carbajal, are developing a new FIDM course for Associate Degree students entitled, Perspectives on Diversity. In the General Studies course, students will examine the subtle and overt ways in which society marginalizes and discriminates against groups of people including, but not limited to, racial, cultural, ethnic, and religious groups, women, the elderly, persons with different abilities, the homeless, military veterans, non-binary people, and the LGBTQIA+ community. The course, which begins in Winter 2021, will analyze the roots of discrimination, fear, hate, and bias, and explore how to create and promote a more inclusive society.
Perspectives on Diversity came to fruition when Dean of Education and General Studies Chair, Sheryl Rabinovich, invited a diverse group of FIDM Instructors to participate in a brainstorming session via Zoom. She then asked Dr. Matos and Dr. Carbajal to team up to create the course. “We researched a great deal into various groups who have been marginalized from decades back, circling through to our current times of civil unrest, from the Black Panthers to Black Lives Matter; from women’s suffrage and women's rights to #MeToo,” said Dr. Carbajal. “We're going to look at significant social movements and discuss changes that have been made and changes that still need to be addressed.”
The FIDM Instructors also held a focus group with FIDM Students from diverse backgrounds. In addition to providing helpful input, some of the students agreed to serve as guest speakers and mentors for future Associate’s Degree students in this new class, while others will sit on panel discussions. “Every course at FIDM should be developed with student input; it is so beneficial,” said Dr. Matos. “It helps eliminate the weeds by finding what is truly relevant for student learning and student motivation.” Both instructors noted that they will welcome dynamic speakers from outside of the FIDM community as well.
“We believe that this class will come at a time when the world needs to greatly understand each other and listen to each other, with their ears, their eyes, and their hearts,” added Dr. Carbajal. “It is a goal of this course that both students and faculty, indeed, all our FIDM community, will become conscious of and active in their own contributions to a more just and inclusive society.” Dr. Matos said it’s important that the course allows students to feel emotionally safe to share, explore, and discuss challenging topics. “Our personal objective as instructors is for students to use critical thinking and empathy skills developed during the course to make mindful and inclusive choices throughout their lives,” she said.