Thursday, November 19, 2015

Professor Calls for More Faculty to Teach About Race

Baldwin Wallace associate professor and director of Leadership in Higher Education, Ken Schneck, is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, posting thought-provoking commentary on a multitude of topics such as LGBTQ rights and the faculty response to sexual assault on campuses. His latest article titled, "Dear White Professors: You Must Teach a Course on Race," encourages faculty members not to shy away from leading campus dialogue on race.

Schneck takes on the reasons why some white professors, who make up 80% of full-time college professors in higher education, avoid teaching about race and urges them to incorporate courses on race into their disciplines.

He counters the argument that race isn't relevant in certain subjects with, "You teach in economics, nursing, musical theatre, education, political science or any other discipline out there? Race is there. It's always there. Not teaching about the intersection doesn't make it go away."

Schneck acknowledges the trepidation that some professors might feel --that class discussions may sometimes become heated, that the students in a given class may not be diverse, and that a white professor might inadvertently say something problematic. In response, he argues that professors can create a safe, respectful place for student opinions from the first day, can teach an all-white class to openly confront white privilege, and can "own" their mistakes and constantly challenge their assumptions and opinions.

The article concludes with Schneck saying, "I will never claim that I have all the answers. I will never assert that I am culturally competent (which is a process, not a status). I will never put forth that I don't have white privilege....Most of all, what I will do is continue to push my faculty colleagues to add more courses that explore how race affects everything that we do."

Schneck is also the producer and host of This Show is So Gay, a nationally-recognized radio show which encourages people to discuss LGBTQ topics in unique ways. He also was a recent guest on WCPN, Cleveland's NPR station, to discuss National Coming Out Week for The Sound of Ideas program.