Proposals sought for faculty to develop diversity-focused online courses

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Office of the Senior Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses, in partnership with the Office for General Education, is encouraging full-time faculty to consider submitting a request for proposal to develop and offer courses focused on diversity, equity and inclusion for the Digital Learning Cooperative (DLC).

“This opportunity was developed in response to requests for more courses that address social justice, anti-racism and anti-colonialism,” said Maggie Slattery, assistant dean and director of Penn State’s Office for General Education. “By developing these types of courses, we are helping to broaden students’ access to general education courses on current topics that provide a lens to sharpen and focus our understanding of the world around us.”

Development of the course would take place during spring and summer 2022 with an initial course offering of the 2022-23 academic year.

Priority will be given to proposals for courses that meet general education requirements while focusing on social justice, anti-racism and anti-colonialism, and that are developed in collaboration with faculty throughout the Commonwealth Campuses. 

Proposed courses must be delivered in a remote synchronous format. However, courses currently offered in an asynchronous format that could be redesigned for remote synchronous delivery will also be considered. Current hybrid or remote synchronous DLC courses will not be considered.

Up to 10 awards in the amount of $500-$1000 per awardee will be available as funding for course development.

David Callejo Pérez, associate vice president and senior associate dean for academic programs for Commonwealth Campuses, said the courses are a chance for faculty to teach students topics that those students might not normally have access to at their campuses.

“This is a valuable opportunity for faculty to have their work featured on a system where students from Penn State campuses throughout the commonwealth can access it and benefit from it,” he said. “Additionally, students can use these courses to make necessary academic progress, including entrance to major requirements, while continuing to pursue their degrees at their home campus.” 

If their proposal is accepted, faculty will be expected to:

  • Work closely with learning designers to develop course in spring and summer 2022 semesters  
  • Deliver the course during the 2022-23 academic year 
  • Attend a kick-off workshop organized and promoted by the DLC
  • Participate in General Education assessment 
  • Attend Commonwealth Campus events during which other recipients share their work when possible

Jennifer Keagy, senior director of statewide instructional design for the Commonwealth Campuses, said instructional designers are prepared to assist faculty in implementing their courses.

“Faculty developing these courses can be assured they will have the full support of the instructional design community,” she said. 

Additionally, Elizabeth J. Wright, associate dean for academic affairs in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses and director of Academic Affairs at Penn State Hazleton, will work closely with applicants and the faculty chosen to develop courses.

“I will be available to assist any interested faculty members to ensure these courses meet the expectations of students and faculty who present them,” Wright said.

Faculty must submit their proposal online by Oct. 29. The application will require a description of the proposed course, a brief overview of why the applicant would like to offer it on the DLC, and how it focuses on social justice, anti-racism and anti-colonialism. Applicants will also need approval from their campus to offer their course through the DLC.

For more information, contact Wright at [email protected] or 570-450-3188.