DECE Fellows 2021-2022

2021-2022 Diversity, Equity, & Community Engagement (DECE) Fellows

Salwa Al-Noori, Ph.D.

School of STEM, Biology – Associate Teaching Professor

Introduction to History and Philosophy of Science
This course is designed to introduce students to historical and philosophical contexts of science and their impact on the emergence of science from antiquity to the present day. Students are introduced to a variety of issues and questions that occupy contemporary philosophy of science debates, with opportunity to explore when, where, and why these questions originally arose. Students will consider that empirically approaching scientific questions does not necessarily reveal underlying misconceptions, assumptions, and biases that might be incorporated when formulating hypotheses, developing and conducting experiments, and interpreting results. This includes developing understanding of, and critically thinking about, historical and contemporary structures and their inequities that have contributed to these biases such as those associated with race, ethnicity / nationality, class, gender, language, religion, or socioeconomic status. Ethical, social, racial, cultural, and other dimensions influencing historical and philosophical perspectives in science are also considered to address such questions as how non-science and pseudoscience can interact with and impact the validity of science and other epistemological considerations. Iterations of the course may also incorporate a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) module that provides students with opportunity to engage with peer partners at an international university to develop understanding of impacts of culture, social norms, socioeconomics, educational traditions, etc., on past and current issues of global relevance.

Cynthia Chang, Ph.D.

Continuing Fellow. School of STEM, Biology – Associate Professor
Participating remotely from the iDiv German Center for Biodiversity in Leipzig.

STEM Majors for Social Justice: Ongoing and recent global, national, and local events have highlighted the need for scientists to participate in social justice to address systemic inequities that exist in our society. As scientists, STEM majors are uniquely poised to use their scientific training and knowledge to tackle social injustice. This course offers an opportunity for students to examine social justice topics relevant to their own lives and studies, and participate in student-driven social justice activism of their choosing. This course is designed to be a “D” course and fulfil Diversity requirements for all majors (including STEM majors).

Nick Cuhaciyan, MBA

School of Business, Adjunct Lecturer

Business Project Management partners with local businesses to provide students with real world project management opportunities where they can move their education from theory to application. This dual-purpose environment provides support to local businesses that need help as well as provide students a robust learning environment better than any simulator could provide. This course has a unique ability to provide project support to underserved and underrepresented businesses in the local community for issues that matter to them. Focusing on these communities for projects give students a unique forum to pursue social issues they care about from the perspective of a business owner. Further enhancing the relationship between this class, students, and the local community where diversity with a community-based learning model will expand student learning, enhance UW’s social standing in the community, and help support local businesses who need it the most.

Martha Groom, Ph.D.

Continuing Fellow. School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, Professor

My goal for 2021-22 is to complete applications for DIV designations for two upper level electives in the IAS curriculum: BIS 459 Conservation and Sustainable Development and BIS 458 Energy, Environment and Society. Through participation in the DECE community, I also hope to strengthen the CEL components of these courses. My final interest is to incubate ideas for a 100 or 200 level course that addresses connections in conservation and climate justice, and to inform the design through the DECE principles, with potentially applying for one or both designations.

Grace Lasker, Ph.D.

School of Nursing & Health Studies, Teaching Professor

My goal for this fellowship includes converting an existing Environmental Health course into one that has CE elements to support the community-centered focus of the student project. The course investigates the intersections of environment, toxicology, and environmental justice. These topics are explored within the context of social and environmental justice as they relate to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Negative environmental impacts disproportionately affect communities of color and women and children, which makes environmental justice deeply rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion. One deliverable for this course is an eBook page whereupon students identify a regional environmental justice/health issue and research the origins and concerns of the issue, and develop awareness and advocacy for the issue through the eBook page. I intend to incorporate community partners in this aspect of the course so that students can co-investigate environmental justice/health concerns within our communities and then develop advocacy and information artifacts specifically for their community partner. This may shift the project away from eBook and toward social media, so I will investigate elements of social media advocacy as part of the fellowship, too.

Michele B. Price, Ph.D.

Continuing Fellow. School of STEM, Biology, Assistant Teaching Professor

200 Level- B Bio- The Diversity of Sex (Spring 2021)
An evolutionary analysis of reproductive behavior, taking a comparative approach among animals, including humans, to better understand our own sexuality and behavior in a biological context. Topics will include scientific processes, evolution, sexual behavior, reproductive biology, and diversity with respect to sexual orientation, reproductive strategies, and gender identity.

Neil Simkins, Ph.D.

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, Assistant Professor

Develop a 300-level BISGWSS class centered on critical disability studies. Critical disability studies is an intersectional movement to transform disability studies by bringing arguments from critical race theory, gender studies, queer theory, and other critical studies rooted in identity to bear on theories of disability. Pedagogically, critical disability studies courses give students frameworks to understand the formations of dis/ability in their everyday lives (see Sami Schalk, “Critical Disability Studies as Methodology”). A cornerstone of this course is reflection-based contract grading, which is a potential grading tool for recognizing students’ learning from different standpoints in diversity and community-based learning classes.

Monique Taylor, M.Ed., Advisor, IAS
Layla Taylor, MS, Program Manager, CBLR
Sukhaman Kaur, MPA, Fieldwork Manager, SNHS,
Lily Cason, MNR, Program Manager, EERC

This professional staff team will be working with FYPP faculty to develop two, new, 2-credit CBLR courses for FYPP students centering identity, belonging, personal and professional growth, and civic/community based experiences and exchange. One course will provide students with CBLR experience in community health fields (Sukhaman and Monique), and the other will focus on environmental and sustainability fields (Lily and Layla). The courses will be promoted to students currently exploring the Health and Natural Sciences meta pathway and in related general education (100 level) courses. The team will serve as faculty on record during Spring 2022 to facilitate the courses and CBLR experiences. The DECE Fellowship will support the development of learning goals and content, alignment with “D” and community based learning designations and definitions, as well as provide mentorship and examples from experienced faculty fellows. A diversity, equity, and social justice lens will further promote the learning goals as we focus on community engagement in both the community health and sustainability field 2 credit courses.

Laura Umetsu, J.D.

School of Business, Lecturer

Business school student teams research and interview NAMI Seattle volunteers/community partners and write press releases about them with the goal to become more accommodating managers in the future for employees affected by mental illness. NAMI Seattle publishes these student-authored press releases on their website. You can see samples of students’ past work here.

Ursula Valdez, Ph.D.

Continuing Fellow. School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, Lecturer

Natural History of the PNW
A very important component of my Natural History course is to provide experiential learning opportunities for students to learn about the natural world. A way to engage my students in the course topics is to use the campus wetlands as a place for observations and discovery. The course also involves some self-explorations within their own neighborhoods, nearby parks, and others. However, I have realized of the challenge that some students face to accomplish this, either due to lack of nature spots in their neighborhoods (green spaces, parks, even space for home gardens), racial profiling when using their curiosity to search for wildlife, financial situations, and other disparities that have become more evident in our urban environments. I want to work on more inclusive learning opportunities that give my students a safe and rich natural environment to work even outside of our campus. I am excited about learning more with this community of colleagues and the resources that we have in our campus to accomplish this goal.”