JULY 29, 2014

Teaching about Diversity in The Master of Education in Adult Learning

Teaching about Diversity in The Master of Education in Adult Learning

Written by Dr. Rebecca Cory

Headshot-Summer14Leadership Faculty Dr. CoryIncreasing access to higher education for underrepresented populations is a social justice issue and one that the faculty and administration at CityU are dedicated to.  The CityU mission , “To change lives for good by offering high quality and relevant lifelong education to anyone with the desire to learn” is passed on through the curriculum of the Master of Education in Adult Learning (M.Ed.-AL). In this program we train future educators to support diverse students.

In the M.Ed.-AL, diversity has a broad definition.  The classic definition of race, class, and gender is included, and the definition is expanded explicitly to religion, ethnicity, and disability.  However, that definition is still not broad enough. Diversity also includes all the things that make individual learners different from one another, so learning style, background experiences, fear or apprehension about a specific topic, and personal disposition are all included as well.  The curriculum in the M.Ed.-AL includes a strong thread of Universal Design which is designing a course for all students from the beginning, to avoid afterthought programs and accommodations or retrofitting curriculum.

The curriculum and instruction both respect and represent a broad definition of diversity of students.  There are two classes specifically focused on diverse learners, EAD 520 Teaching Diverse Learners and EAD 550 Global Perspectives on Adult Education.  Those two classes cover topics such as Universal Design, Critical Race Theory, Global Education, and self-reflection on the student’s own experience with power and diversity.  Additionally, issues relating to diverse learners are infused in the rest of the curriculum.  In the curriculum design class (EAD 515 Curriculum Development and Instructional Design), the students write about how the curriculum they design will work for a diverse student population. Similarly, this topic is in the two assessment classes.

A student who chooses to take the M.Ed.-AL program will be well prepared to work with the diversity of their future students, in a higher education setting, a TESOL program, or a corporate training setting.

Dr. Rebecca Cory was an associate professor and associate program director for the higher education program and M.Ed.-AL program in City University of Seattle’s School of Applied Leadership.


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