This is a draft of UConn FYW’s and ECE English’s statement on inclusive and antiracist teaching. We welcome your input.
As a public, land- and sea-grant university, the University of Connecticut is committed to the production and sharing of research with the public. In terms of the role of the Early College Experience program within the larger university community, this commitment involves offering entry level college coursework in the high schools, provided by instructors who receive training and certification for themselves and their courses. This means that ECE courses, while still high school courses, must uphold and promote the ideals and goals of the university. These include academic freedom for both the students and instructors, who must be permitted, even encouraged, to read, write, think, and speak freely about the important issues of both the past and the present. To enact this charge, which includes attention to the legacy of racism, secondary school instructors are encouraged to draw on their professional mandate from both the National Council of Teachers of English and the Council for Accreditation of Education Programs to teach for social justice.
In order to ensure access and meaningful learning opportunities for all students, first-year writing classes incorporate texts, methods, and practices that foreground inclusivity. This work is carried out in part through a commitment to antiracist and, more generally, anti-discriminatory teaching and learning practices, materials, and methods. For example, students analyze and seek to critically engage, revise, and question dominant discourses. This work fosters in students an understanding of the rich histories and complex politics that inform the institutions that surround them, including the university they are part of and the languages they use to compose meaning. These courses draw on the tenets of Universal Design for Learning, which provide a “set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.” ECE faculty are required to design and deliver first-year writing courses according to the tenets described above and must be able to do so without the fear of reprisal.