Incorporate Diversity and Inclusion into Brown University's WRIT Requirement

Incorporate Diversity and Inclusion into Brown University's WRIT Requirement

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A university curriculum founded on the ideals of educational freedom should ensure its students understand the larger socio-historical context of “freedom.” In accordance with the The Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, Brown University needs to incorporate Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan course designation (DIAP) into the Writing Requirement (WRIT). 

Incorporating the DIAP requirement into the already-existing WRIT requirement will strengthen The Open Curriculum. Require the first WRIT-course carry DIAP designation. Much as writing is an “essential skill,” understanding the socio-political world is essential knowledge to productive 21st century citizenship. 

The university needs to provide a sufficient number of DIAP-WRIT course offerings each term and ensure DIAP designation is indicative that a course tackles race, ethnicity, gender, and inclusivity within the context of the modern global world. 

The California State Senate just passed AB 1460, making a 3 unit ethnic studies course a CSU graduation requirement. Brown University needs to make similar moves to ensure every student of The College is endowed with a nuanced understanding of race, ethnicity, and gender within the context of modern-American imperialism and the global legacies of racism, sexism and white-supremacy.


Brown University states its mission is to “serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation.” To fulfill this mission, Brown must update its curriculum to ensure it produces socially-educated graduates. 

 

As of now there is no insurance a Brown University graduate will ever study race, gender, or inequality. The graduation requirements are 

  1. A passing grade in a minimum of 30 Brown courses and completion of a Concentration
  2. Fulfillment of The Writing Requirement (https://www.brown.edu/academics/college/degree/curriculum/writing-requirement  
  3. 8 semesters of full-time University enrollment
    (https://www.brown.edu/academics/college/degree/ 


We urge the University to require the first WRIT course carry DIAP designation. With WRIT-DIAP designated courses across disciplines ranging from Science Technology and Society to Africana Studies to Sociology to Religious Studies to Music this addendum to the requirement supports the spirit of choice and free inquiry promoted by the Open Curriculum. Individual departments such as Classical Studies have already instituted DIAP requirements. It is time change happens University-wide. 


Over the past several years, there have been several motions to require a DIAP course for graduation.


According to the University website, when President Christina Paxson was formulating her 2016 Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), "there was discussion around the Diverse Perspectives in Liberal Learning (DPLL) requirement and whether this could be made a graduation requirement.” The DPLL designation is now known as DIAP. (https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/institutional-diversity/pathways


In 2017, Randi Richardson ‘20 wrote a Brown Daily Herald column urging the university to institute a DIAP requirement. (https://www.browndailyherald.com/2017/11/16/richardson-20-brown-require-diap-courses/ 


In 2018, Undergraduate Council of Students Chair of Wellness Shivani Nishar (‘20) and Undergraduate Council of Students Chair of Academic Affairs Mar Weiss (‘20) asked the Deans of the College to incorporate a DIAP course into the graduation requirements. 


Curricular change is overdue. As the Black Lives Matter Movement stirs a nationwide reckoning, we urge the University to act. Requiring a WRIT-DIAP course for graduation is a simple and actionable first step to “confront the entrenched forces that have prevented progress, equity and justice,” and bring about the “real and meaningful change” Christina Paxson committed The University to in her June 15th email on “Brown’s actions to address racial injustice.” In her email, President Paxson invited community voices.

Please listen to our voice now. The Open Curriculum must address Diversity and Inclusion to truly open students’ minds. #OpenCurriculumOpenMinds