Infusing Multicultural Perspectives into the Curriculum
Dr. Karen B. McLean Dade
Associate Dean of Woodring College of Education
The theme Infusing Multicultural Perspectives into the Curriculum has been a topic of discussion around the globe in higher education for quite some time. Multicultural education scholar, James Banks first introduced the Levels of Integration Model in the 1990’s. His model refers to four levels of integrating multicultural curricula. These include, the Contribution Approach (one time experience), Additive Approach (content, concepts, themes, and perspectives added without changing the curriculum structure), Transformative Approach (changing the form, appearance and structure of the curriculum), and the Social Action Approach (enabling students to have input on important social issues toward social action). The ultimate goal here is to become a transformative and social action institution.
I see this year’s theme as excellent timing to recognize our featured instructors and the many others who do outstanding work in this area. All of these instructors are helping to change the culture of our university, and as they are leading the way, it is important for everyone to join these efforts.
Despite the challenges that often exist in teaching critical multicultural perspectives on a predominantly white campus, Bone, Rivera, and Davidson meet such challenges head on. They are committed to courageous conversations and inclusion for all students. Furthermore, their profiles enable us to envision ideas for promising practices, and they demonstrate the great possibilities to engage in multicultural curriculum campus-wide.
Some of the characteristics of multicultural education as described by Sonia Nieto, author of Affirming Diversity: a Socio-political Context, include a critical pedagogy that is pervasive and basic for all students (2012). Paul Gorski in his recent NCORE Conference presentation on De-colonizing “Diversity” Initiatives in Higher Education (2015), shared that “We must transcend the idea of diversity as learning about other cultures and celebrating diversity.” Transforming our curriculum is an opportunity to move toward deeper, more transformative, and pervasive approaches to Infusing Multicultural Perspectives into the Curriculum.