UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

ARE Graduate Students and Faculty Participate in Inclusive Education and Mentoring Training

Oct. 3, 2023

Eleven ARE Ph.D. students and four ARE faculty participated in this year’s Graduate Inclusive Education and Mentoring Training (GET) workshop that took place in early September. The GET workshop, a facet of the Diversity and Inclusion in Research, Education, and Career Training Program (DIRECT), is a one-week, modular training program that invites participants to critically reflect on the complex roles of race and structural inequality in research, teaching, and mentorship within the field of economics and to discuss teaching and mentoring practices.

The workshop was designed by Kristin Kiesel and Steve Boucher, co-directors of DIRECT in collaboration with Sarah McCullough, Associate Director of the UC Davis Feminist Research Institute, and Kem Saichaie, Director of Learning and Teaching at the Center for Educational Effectiveness. McCullough and Erica Bender, Assessment Specialist at the Center for Educational Effectiveness, served as facilitators during this year’s workshop.

Engagement by both students and ARE faculty provided a unique opportunity for workshop participants to connect on a deeper level, Kristin remarked how motivating these couple of days were and that “she once more learned a lot from the discussions with graduate students, her colleagues, and the additional guidance facilitators where able to provide.” Graduate student participants reported that the workshop was a mind-changing experience that helped them learn how to be more equity-minded as professors, teaching assistants, researchers, and mentors. Isaac Ahimbisibwe , who is preparing for the job market, expressed that the workshop “provided practical tools that will help me create a more welcoming learning environment.” Julian Artega said he was sorry he had not attended the workshop earlier in his Ph.D. as it “really got me thinking about what I can do to lend a hand in this effort.” Finally, Saloni Chopra reflected that “as someone who wants to make a career in academia, she agrees that we cannot see research and teaching as two separate tasks and must strive to continuously learn and update ourselves. One way is to attend, contribute, and learn from the GET workshop” she concluded.

ARE associate professor Matt Reimer, a first-time faculty participant, found that the workshop helped him identify changes he can make right away in his approach to teaching, reflecting:

“In the past, I’ve been intimidated by the thought of restructuring my entire class to make it more inclusive, but the workshop demonstrated that it’s not necessary. Instead, I can harness the diversity that’s already in the class to enhance course material and discussions to be more culturally relevant. Overall, I feel much more confident in the classroom after the workshop.”

The next GET workshop will take place in early September 2024 (dates to be announced). Participation requires in-person attendance of two-hour morning and afternoon sessions and completion of additional assignments throughout the week. Completion of this workshop serves as a pre-requisite for various paid teaching and mentoring opportunities as well as complementary summer GSR funding. All ARE graduate students are eligible to participate, however space is limited. For more information about the GET workshop and graduate student opportunities to get involved with the DIRECT program, please visit DIRECT (for PhD students).


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