By FLOREYA QUINTERO
As Amarillo College officials turn their focus toward combating racism, faculty, students and staff are examining how the college’s new anti-racism initiative will be reflected in the classroom.
Students and faculty agree that the classroom should be a safe space where students can learn and ask questions to gain a better understanding of the world. AC has students from many differing backgrounds and experiences, which is why the topic of having an anti-racist curricula is important to both faculty and students.
“In my opinion, teaching an anti-racist curricula means to bring awareness to the diversity of cultures and how racism impacts and affects cultural and educational systems,” Stephanie Decker, a history professor and program director, said.
Decker said that as the anti-racist initiative is implemented through college’s new strategic plan, faculty members will have a more concrete idea of how to reach the overall goal through their teaching and course design.
Lesley Ingham, a speech professor and the coordinator of the honors program at Amarillo College, said anti-racism can be incorporated into assignments.
“The anti-racist curricula would need to apply to everyone to help all students and faculty understand the struggles and empathize with the people who are just like them and those who are not like them at all,” she said.
Ingham also said that an overall step should be taken to expand and diversify the faculty at AC and to recognize the differences in individuals and in groups of people.
Both employees and students said that that, while they appreciate the new anti-racism focus, they have not experienced issues with racism at the college.
“I think the AC faculty is doing well in teaching in a way that’s fair and comfortable for everyone,” Eh Ler Paw, a general studies major, said. “I haven’t experienced or witnessed any sort of racism from anyone. Everyone is inclusive and accepting.”
Ingham said she believes that as an institution, huge measures are taken to celebrate everyone. In efforts to support students to the fullest, many faculty members are now expected to complete a diversity training, she said.
“My goal in life is for students to walk out of my classroom feeling a new level of confidence and accomplishment,” Ingham said. “I want them to have new perspectives and a better spring in their step.”