Teaching Race at UVA: Faculty Development Seminar

Program Description

Steering Committee Members & Presenters

Call for Applications

History and Development


Program Description:

Teaching Race at UVA is a new faculty development seminar designed to help a cohort of faculty from across UVA to incorporate the local history and present realities of race/racism into their teaching. This place-based seminar is intended to support faculty from any discipline and any experience level—those who have been teaching and researching about race for many years but would like to learn more about local history, and those who would like to incorporate content about race into their teaching and research and would benefit from support to do so.

This place-based seminar will provide UVA faculty with an in-depth understanding of the history of race at UVA, in Charlottesville, and in Virginia—in the context of the United States more broadly. Sessions will cover early colonial Virginia, the founding of UVA, the history of enslaved laborers here and regionally, Emancipation, Reconstruction and Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, and struggles for justice and equity by African Americans at UVA and in Charlottesville. We will connect historical events and struggles with contemporary concerns such as health, educational, and economic disparities, as well as white supremacist discourse and actions and present efforts toward justice and equity. The format includes a combination of site visits, presentations by subject matter experts, and discussions with colleagues.

Steering Committee Members and Presenters Include:

  • Dorothe Bach, Ph. D., Associate Director and Professor, Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Andrea Douglas, Ph. D., Executive Director, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
  • Claudrena Harold, Ph.D., Professor of African American and African Studies and History
  • Jennie S. Knight, Ph. D., Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Development
  • Phyllis Leffler, Ph.D.,  Professor Emerita of History
  • Marcus Martin, M.D., University Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Professor of Emergency Medicine
  • Louis Nelson, Ph. D., Professor of Architectural History and Vice Provost for Academic Outreach
  • Jalane Schmidt, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies
  • Kirt Von Daacke, Ph.D., Assistant Dean and Professor, History
  • Derick Williams, Ph. D., Assistant Professor and Director, Counselor Education Program, Curry School of Education
  • Karenne Wood, Ph. D., Director, Virginia Indian Programs, Virginia Humanities

Call for Applications:

Faculty from all schools and departments at UVA are invited to participate in the first cohort of the faculty development seminar: Teaching Race at UVA. The seminar will meet for full days on May 30, 31, June 1, and June 4 and for half days (9-12) on June 5, 6, and 7. The goal of the seminar is to help faculty integrate into their teaching the local history and present realities of race/racism. All participants will be expected to incorporate at least part of the seminar content into an existing or new course. Up to 30 participants will receive $3,000 in Research Funds (available by July 1, 2018, to be used by June 30, 2019) to support the development of a course to incorporate seminar content.

An additional $1,000 will be available to those who turn in revised syllabi that incorporate seminar content. These additional funds can be used to support site visits, guest speakers, research projects, or other aspects of the newly developed course before June 30, 2019.

In addition, faculty who wish to participate in the June 18-22, 2018 Course Design Institute to develop their related course will be supported financially by the Office of the Provost. Ongoing support for the development of the courses and as a cohort will be provided throughout the following academic year. To apply, please submit a statement of interest of up to 500 words, including a description of the course you plan to rework or develop to incorporate seminar content, to Dr. Jennie Knight, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Development, at jsk3t@virginia.edu, by March 12, 2018.

History and Development:

The Teaching Race at UVA Faculty Development Seminar is modeled after the Transforming Community Project Faculty Pedagogy Seminar at Emory University, which was offered during the summers of 2007-2009. The Transforming Community Project at Emory University was a multiyear initiative to increase communication about race and the local history of race at Emory and in Atlanta. As a place-based initiative, the Transforming Community Project was inspired by city-based projects such as Richmond’s Hope in the Cities, the Tulsa Race Riot Commission, the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Wilmington Race Riot Commission, and the Southern Truth and Reconciliation Commission (STAR) based in Atlanta, which were modeled, in turn, after South African’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni participated in community-driven conversations and mini-grants were awarded for speakers, creative works, and spin-off events. The project stemmed from a series of incidents on campus in 2003 and 2004 involving both faculty and students that brought to light issues of race and racism at Emory.

As part of the Transforming Community Project, Founder and Director Professor Leslie Harris received a grant from the Ford Foundation to fund intensive, experiential summer faculty development seminars to support faculty from across the University in their teaching and research about race. Dr. Jennie Knight, now UVA Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Development, participated in the summer of 2008, when she was a faculty member in the School of Theology at Emory. She then went on to serve on the University-wide Steering Committee for the Transforming Community Project. When Knight joined UVA in June, 2017, she hoped to create a similar initiative for faculty here. The white supremacist attacks on UVA and Charlottesville in August of 2017 made it clear that the initiative would add value and should begin as soon as possible.

With the support of Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Assistant Vice Provost Knight has reached out to faculty from across the University who have been teaching and researching about the local history of race for many years, as well as to local experts, to create and lead the content of the seminar. A faculty Steering Committee has been meeting to design the program since October, 2017. In addition, Professor Leslie Harris came to UVA in December, 2017 to consult with the Steering Committee. The program will be offered multiple years.

For all inquiries, please contact: Jennie S. Knight, Ph. D., Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Development, at 434-924-5381 or jsk3t@virginia.edu.