Each year, instructors join the DCC program from numerous departments across the University of Maryland campus. We are proud to work with educators from the full range of academic rank: tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty, contingent and professional track faculty, and advanced graduate students. These instructors contributed varied expertise and specialized knowledge to our program, enriching DCC students' education with interdisciplinary concepts, methods, and practices.
As DCC instructors, we pledge our unwavering commitment to the following principles:
- We strive to foster and sustain learning environments that are inclusive, in which all students can feel welcome and embraced as their whole selves. We believe that any instructional practices that exclude, diminish, or marginalize any individual or group on the basis of ethnic, racial, cultural, economic, religious, geographic, sex, gender, or (dis)ability differences are unacceptable.
- We support and encourage all students to declare and use their own pronouns.
- We celebrate diversity and multiplicity of thought, affirming that the strongest ideas and innovations are the result of collaboration across varied experiences, perspectives, cultures, and disciplines. Our role as instructors demands a simultaneous commitment to building community across differences, and we undertake this work with compassion, empathy, humility, and care.
- We intentionally design syllabi and curricula that include thinkers, makers, designers, and artists from varying ethnic, racial, economic, religious, geographic, and cultural backgrounds. In recognition of the historic overrepresentation of white people, men, and Western perspectives in American education, we particularly resist curricula that disproportionately privilege white, male, and/or U.S. and Eurocentric voices, experiences, and histories.
- We champion learning as an active and ongoing process, and we believe that making is a mode of thinking. We embrace mistakes, constructive critique, and revision. Accordingly, we design assessment criteria (assignments, rubrics, examinations, projects, etc.) that encourage—rather than punish—playfulness, experimentation, process, and curiosity.
- We believe that instructors are facilitators and learning partners, rather than the voice of ultimate authority in the room. As such, we deprioritize lecture in favor of discussion and collaborative learning, recognizing that all individuals have expertise to share and contribute and additionally deserve an environment that encourages them to do so.
- We affirm that learning is a whole-being exercise, dependent on healthy bodies, minds, and spirits. We therefore design curricula that hold space for rest, slack, and flexibility, and actively promote overall wellness as an essential part of students’ experience in a course or in the classroom.
- We insist upon curious and thoughtful discussion as a mode of developing critical thinking and sharpening understanding of ourselves and our communities. However, we recognize that “intellectual exercises” often compel non-dominant groups to explain, justify, or relive personal and/or collective trauma and therefore do not tolerate the weaponization of debate to demean, diminish, or dehumanize others whose experiences differ from ours.
- We resist the encroachment of increasingly invasive surveillance practices in education and work to defend students’ rights to privacy. We do not require the disclosure of personal or sensitive information and make every reasonable effort to reject technologies that compel students (with or without their knowledge) to jeopardize or surrender their privacy.
- We prioritize open-access technologies and low- or no-cost options for all educational tools and materials, in an effort toward inclusivity for students of all economic backgrounds and circumstances.
- We provide reasonable accommodations for all students, especially those who navigate distinct challenges in traditional learning environments. We seek to move beyond federally mandated policies toward radical support for students with disabilities by delivering accommodations for all students who request them, in recognition of the myriad financial, social, and cultural barriers to acquiring official documentation.
- We aim to be transparent and communicative in our interactions with students, seizing opportunities to explain and discuss our instructional and pedagogical choices that impact them most directly. We strive to make ourselves reasonably available on a regular basis (via multiple modes of communication, e.g. email, Canvas, phone, Zoom, etc.) in order to encourage open communication.
- We believe that we are accountable, first and foremost, to students. We aim to be humble and responsive in receiving critique, and further commit to discovering novel ways of soliciting and incorporating feedback throughout the learning experience.
- We endeavor to move beyond instruction toward mentorship. Especially in the DCC program, in which we have the distinct pleasure of facilitating smaller classrooms, we take seriously the opportunity to learn more about students’ academic and professional ambitions. Whenever possible, we support students by providing informal academic advising, professional development opportunities, and letters of support/recommendation.
- We recognize that our classrooms are not separate from or immune to the legacies of violence that structure our social context. We work continually to minimize harm that is beyond our scope of control to eliminate; to prevent harm from occurring, actively or by neglect; and to remain committed to meaningful and sincere processes of repair when harm occurs.