Black Lives Matter Faculty Learning Community Spotlight

Our Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are made up of Nashman Affiliated Faculty and other interested faculty to explore a topic of interest over the course of a calendar year. They meet regularly to discuss important topics related to community-engaged scholarship. Community-Engaged Scholar Ashley Hidalgo spotlighted the BLM FLC after working with them this year.

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The Black Lives Matter Faculty Learning Community (BLM FLC), is a group of diverse, active, passionate faculty from different schools within The George Washington University (GWU). Many of them, being Nashman Affiliated or have designated Community Engaged-Scholarship courses, provide valuable insight to a touchy subject.

FLC members include chairwoman, Phyllis Ryder (University Writing Center), Jordan Potash (Art Therapy), Imani Cheers (Media and Public Affairs), Sara Matthiesen (History and Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies), Howard Straker (Physician Assistant Studies), Miranda Ward (School of Education), Susan LeLacheur (Physician Assistant Studies), Dana D. Hines (School of Nursing), Pam Presser (University Writing), and Yunis Bernadita (University Writing).

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This group has met regularly since January 2018. Despite having busy schedules (teaching, volunteering, traveling, and advocating), they donate one hour of their time to ultimately produce a deliverable, which could involve course implementation, presentation, a journal article, and/or support for Diversity Initiatives at GWU.

To provide some insight of the BLM FLC, Chairwoman Ryder sends an agenda with a theme before the meetings. Some of the past reoccurring themes have included; discussing previous BLM syllabuses/curriculum, BLM in the news, current race relations in the U.S., and ideas to improve GW diversity initiatives. The meeting usually begins by having faculty check in with high/low’s, relevant news, or any exciting updates.

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Next, the group follows the outline of the agenda, which includes discussion of readings. Below is a sample of some of the readings, from a meeting in April 2018:

- DC Area Educators for Social Justice: DC Area Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools

- 13 Guiding Principles:

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- 7 Things We Learned From D.C. Area Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools

- Fall 2016 Syllabus: Black Lives Matter: Race, Resistance, and Populist Protest. Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU (click here for the PDF version)

Despite meeting regularly, faculty are also engaged outside of the meetings. Dr. Imani Cheers recently added advocacy related themes and films for discussion in her Fall SMPA course. Professor Bernadita Yunis received the 2018 GW Bender Teaching Award. Jordan Potash co-led a Breakfast Conversation on When Student’s Experiences in the Community Lead to Politics in the Classroom (relating to the content being discussed) and the majority of the members attending the Kiran Mckessor talk.

As the FLC wraps up the semester, the Nashman Center is excited to see the project deliverable they will produce and where the faculty will continue in their endeavors! If you’re interested in getting more information about FLCs or joining one for the upcoming calendar year, click here.