Loyola University Chicago

Focus on Teaching and Learning

August 2023 FOTL Resources

Decolonizing the Future: Creating Brave New Worlds

The August 17, 2023 Focus on Teaching and Learning (FOTL) Conference theme was Decolonizing the Future: Creating Brave New Worlds; Possibilities and Alternatives for Promoting Justice and Equity. With the partnership of several faculty and staff from around the University, we compiled nine presentations around the theme of decolonization. Please peruse the below resources and recordings from each session. 

Opening Session

Keynote conversation with Dr. Donna Ford, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Kirwan Institute Faculty Affiliate, Center for Latin American Studies Faculty Affiliate, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University. 

View Dr. Ford's Keynote Abstract at this link!  

Breakout Sessions

Description: During my session I will introduce, and invite participants to participate in, an activity in which participants identify their fingertip whorl patterns and form groups based on them. The purpose of the activity—to introduce the idea of race as socially and historically constructed, but nonetheless “real” and meaningful—strategies for using it in the classroom, and related educational materials will also be presented and discussed.

Check out the presentation slides here.

Description: Is racism primarily contained in the attitudes and behaviors of individuals?  Or is it more predominant in the structures and policies we use in our communities?  We will look at a number of historical and contemporary events to find the presence of this “structural racism.”  In so many cases, the resulting racism exists because “we did this.” 

Check out the presentation slides here.

Description: In this presentation, faculty from Classical Studies will share how they incorporate DEI into their courses, even classes that are not typically viewed as diversity courses. We will ask participants to challenge their views of what constitutes a diversity course as we share ideas on how everyone can make every class a diversity course.

Check out the presentation slides here

Description: Students often enter the college classroom with preconceived notions of what makes “good” writing. Some imagine writing courses will be gatekeeping sites where those who can don a sufficiently academic voice in English will flourish, and dialectical difference will be reformed. In order to promote equity and decolonize the classroom, instructors must teach students that standard academic English is not inherently superior and to appreciate the appeal of different written communication styles. But how do we as instructors design assignments to reflect these teachings? And how do we assess written work in a way that promotes equity? This presentation will guide participants through a classroom activity and assignment design that will challenge students to take ownership of their own personal voice and identity as a writer and empower students to shape the way their work is assessed.

Check out the presentation slides here!

Description: This session the work of three Loyola educators who engage with and employ the arts in their research and pedagogy. Dr. Heer will share lessons from her work analyzing the socio-political impact of Indian art appearing on postage stamps. Dr. Moon will describe a community-based project with students where art was explored to engage questions of teaching in urban schools. Dr. Colacchio will share findings from two art-based research studies with implications for anti-oppressive inquiry and pedagogy. Participants will also engage in a brief creative exercise to experience how art can be utilized in teaching and learning.

Check out the presentation slides at the following links:

Slidedeck One

Slidedeck Two



Description: This presentation analyzes the work environment as a contributing factor in impostor syndrome. The presenters will offer structural recommendations to US-based higher education institutions, including peer mentoring and the creation of brave spaces, to mitigate impostor syndrome for Black and Latinx/e women.

Check out the presentation slides here

Description: In our “Brave/r spaces” session, we will analyze the concepts, practices and affordances of a “safe space” vs. a “brave/r space”, develop strategies on how to best facilitate brave/r spaces in learning communities and engage in various processes that work to evolve the theory of a brave space into praxis.

Check out the presentation slides here

Description: This session presents and examines research about how first-generation, low-income students understand and use the past in their everyday lives.  Session attendees will participate in activities aimed at exploring how to incorporate the ideas presented into the teaching and learning of their own academic disciplines. 

Check out the presentation slides here.

Description: While many instructors have become aware of differentiated use of personal pronouns, this session aims to help educators expand their knowledge and develop skills for respectfully honoring their students' and colleagues' chosen modes of address, from chosen personal pronouns to chosen names, etc. This session will cover the importance of chosen modes of address, examine it's connection to decolonizing practices in education, and engage in practical applications of these equitable strategies.

Check out the presentation slides here!