FIIT Faculty Forum 2019-20

FIIT brings together a cross-disciplinary network of faculty to explore promising practices around diversity and inclusiveness in the undergraduate classroom.

FIIT 2019-20 cohort standing on the sky bridge in the MU Student Center. Photo with lots of natural light, MIZ pennant hanging in the background.

The 2019-20 Faculty Institute for Inclusive Teaching (FIIT) cohort was unable to deliver presentations in person from the past academic year, but their dedication shines through in the creation of this virtual FIIT Forum! Faculty share their experiences and outcomes with practical takeaways that can be applied to your own teaching.

Opening remarks and an introduction follow from program head Elisa Glick, who is an Associate Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies and a Faculty Fellow with the Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity.

You can learn more on the FIIT website or contact Dr. Elisa Glick at

Jordan Booker

Jordan A. Booker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. His training is in developmental psychology and his research focuses on topics of emotional, character, and identity development from late childhood to early adulthood. His research methods often focus on the role of family influences and socialization, as well as the importance of the life story in aspects of development and adjustment.

Jasmine Chievous

Jasmine Chievous is an Academic Advisor at the Missouri School of Journalism. Jasmine’s project for FIIT focused on developing bridge courses (SSC 1150/1151) to aid pre-journalism and academically at-risk students. The purpose of the course is to help students navigate obstacles of mental health, time management, a sense of belonging, and to help students develop better skill sets to succeed in their programs.

Chievous Mission presentation slide: Develop bridge courses to aid pre-journalism and academically at-risk students. Includes SSC 1150 and 1151 descriptions. Accessible PDF link included.

Download the full PDF

Alice Dade

Alice K. Dade, Associate Professor of Flute, initiates an annual new repertoire project with works written by composers who identify as a person of color, LGBTQ+, and female. On a larger scale, these pieces will be submitted to a state-wide competition for high school musicians. Additionally, the MU Flute Studio will present the new repertoire as part of their annual Mizzou Flute Fest.

Claire Horisk

Claire Horisk is an Associate Professor of Philosophy. She developed a new graduate seminar on the concept of oppression and the metaphysics of race and gender. One of her goals was to educate graduate students in the methods of FIIT, so that they too would bring diversity training into the classroom.

Ilyana Karthas

Ilyana Karthas is an Associate Professor of History in the Department of History. Her work with FIIT was in HIST 1510/1510H: History of Modern Europe. Her presentation focuses on the importance of setting the classroom climate at the onset of the term. It highlights the effectiveness of the tools that she learned from the FIIT Workshop (e.g. LARA Method) and the ways in which they proved critical when moving to remote teaching. Karthas also saw the benefits of diversifying course content, incorporating discussion boards, fostering trust, being approachable, and revealing her commitment to student success.

Cassandra Kearney

Cassandra “Casi” Kearney is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Communication. For her FIIT course revision, she made substantive revisions to her COMM 1200H course. Her presentation covers: (a) The three goals she set out to accomplish in her action plan; (b) a focused dive into Goal 2, her informative speech revision, and student outcomes; and (c) the practical takeaways for her class and teaching moving forward.

Wilson Majee

Wilson Majee is an associate professor in the Health Sciences and Public Health departments. As a 2019-20 FIIT fellow, Wilson developed an action plan to learn and implement activities that a) facilitate effective and fulfilling teaching and learning experiences with all students and b) demonstrate his commitment to their success and sensitivity to social, cultural differences and class dynamics. Some of the action steps he was able to implement include: diversity statement and links to student resources as part of the syllabus, developing and discussing students’ expectations (of the instructor and of students by the instructor), and transfer of knowledge gained in FIIT to the classroom by assigning healthcare relevant diversity and inclusion work to students.

Patricia Quackenbush

Patricia “PQ” Quackenbush is an instructor in the School of Natural Resources. Her focus was revamping SOIL 2100: Introductory to Soil Science. This is a large enrollment course (about 150 students) that serves a variety of majors and class years in school. The focus of her presentation examines the use of surveys, community-building, and more in-class activities to create a more inclusive environment to promote learning in a course that is normally considered “dry” or “boring.” Using more invested information from students, creating self-identified groups, and use of non-traditional materials for the discipline has provided a richer, more inclusive learning environment, fostering better relationships and understanding between the students and between the students and the instructor.

Lauren Ray

Lauren Ray is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Early Childhood Education. As the coordinator for ECE, she teaches the same cohort of students across multiple semesters. Her action plan did not address a specific course but rather focused on working with a cohort across multiple semesters in different courses. In this presentation, she describes her goals for community building and uncovering hidden cultural conflicts. She shares ongoing practices that she is engaging in as a result of my work with the FIIT, including developing community norms, identity caucuses, book clubs, and community partnerships. Her biggest takeaway, and the concept she wants to share most with others, is that community building is a rigorous practice.

Robin Rotman

Robin Rotman is an Assistant Professor in the School of Natural Resources, and she revised Class revised Natural Resource Policy and Administration (NatR4353/7353) pursuant to her action plan. She had three goals for the action plan: (1) revise the syllabus and class policies to enhance inclusivity, (2) engage students in class discussion surrounding natural resource identities, and (3) assign readings from authors with a diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints. With support from FIIT, her former students, and her undergraduate assistant Jordyn McFadden, Rotman was able to achieve these goals even though the semester was disrupted by COVID-19.

Travis Shaffer

Travis Shaffer is an artist and educator in Columbia, Mo., where he is an Assistant Professor in the School of Visual Studies. As a member of the 2019-20 FIIT cohort, Shaffer revised Beginning Photography (ARTPH_VS_2600) to emphasize both the production and reception of photographs from a personal, subjective, and intersectional point-of-view.

Penny Smith-Paris

Penny Smith-Parris is an Associate Teaching professor in the Department of English. In this presentation, she explains the changes made to the curriculum of Intermediate Composition (English 2100) to create a more inclusive learning environment in the composition classroom. Focus was given to language diversity, as well as to the relationship between language and power, in order to highlight the ways in which notions of “Standard English” and “academic” writing elide difference and erase minority voices.  She discusses the methodology, as well as some preliminary outcomes and overall realizations made.

Kellie Stanfield

Kellie Stanfield is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism, and an executive producer at KOMU-TV. She teaches the introductory broadcast journalism course for radio-television journalism students. Kellie developed lessons and assignments designed to promote inclusion and equity in reporting, particularly as they relate to story location. Kellie’s original plan was for students to use a database to map out where their reporting occurred for the semester, analyze patterns in location, consider what that means for the audience, and articulate how they could deliberately change their reporting habits to have more representative and inclusive stories. While COVID-19 changed some of how the plan was put into practice, she was able to execute a similar idea which will have comparable outcomes.

Roberta Tabanelli

Roberta Tabanelli is an Associate Professor of Italian in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and affiliate faculty of both Film Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies. Her project for FIIT concerned ITAL 3450–Transnational and Migrant Cinema. She proposed this permanent course last year after teaching it as a topic course, and it has been approved for DI designation. Since the content of a course on migration is strongly diverse, she directed her overall inclusive revisions toward the classroom — intended as the students as well as her teaching. In her presentation, she outlines her goals of (1) fostering inclusion/taking into consideration student diverse identity by assessing “media literacy” and (2) establishing brave spaces.

Ryan Thomas

Ryan J. Thomas is an Associate Professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. Most of his teaching is at the graduate level. His main struggle has been facilitating inclusive class discussion, which can be dominated by a narrow band of voices (e.g., white, male, U.S. students). This stems in part from his general lack of confidence and skill in discussion facilitation. In his Media Ethics and Qualitative Research Methods courses, he wanted to embed strategies to have broader and more inclusive discussions. He also wanted to expand the scope of his course content, ensuring that readings and topics address a broader range of perspectives and contexts.


“This program has been one of the best series I’ve been a part of in professional development and pedagogy. It has been inspiring to see so much dedication to quality teaching and mentoring with peers in other units and the support from the program’s leadership was phenomenal.”

Jordan A. Booker, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences

“The FIIT program offered me vital tools to cultivate an inclusive, safe classroom environment built on trust and respect.  It also provided me with a community of faculty whose commitment to student success in the classroom was motivational and inspiring.”

Ilyana Karthas, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History & Affiliate Faculty of Women’s and Gender Studies
Recipient of the Maxine Shutz Award for Distinguished Teaching

“One of the key functions of FIIT is to build a community of teachers who strive to make their classrooms more inclusive. Being part of FIIT’s first cohort and then a member of the Advisory Council has let me see and be part of truly transformative networks on our campus.”

Martha Kelly
Associate Professor, German & Russian Studies

“FIIT gave me the opportunity to open my eyes to my teaching shortcomings in regards to diversity & inclusion. It made me realize that my idea of “welcoming, kind and approachable” as a teacher was missing something very important: the perspective of people different than me. Thank you so much, FIIT leadership!”

Mauro Palmero
Assistant Teaching Professor, Hospitality Management

“Being a part of FIIT allowed me to explore ideas and issues surrounding inclusivity in the classroom, on campus, and in interactions with my colleagues. Learning from and interacting with other faculty members in my cohort provided me more insight into how courses are taught across campus, allowed me the freedom to engage in difficult conversation, and gave me the encouragement to be bold in pursuing ways to make my teaching more inclusive in ways I hadn’t considered before.”

Patricia M. Quackenbush, M.S.
Instructor, Soil and Environmental Sciences
Doctoral student, Soil Science
School of Natural Resources

“FIIT has been a wonderful experience, providing me with generous support and excellent resources.  In FIIT I have learned how to incorporate inclusive teaching strategies that will benefit my students, and I have forged long lasting professional relationships with my peers across the university.”

Penny Smith-Parris
Associate Teaching Professor
Online English 1000 Coordinator
Department of English