I feel that by attending the KI, I now have the tools and confidence to begin to move our College to the next level with respect to inclusion, diversity, and privilege issues. We can move beyond the typical book read/discussion and provide intentional professional development opportunities, invite expert speakers and make these issues an integral part of how our College operates, including how to embed social justice activities into the curriculum across several core courses.
The Knapsack Institute was one of the most transformational and impactful professional experiences of my life and it has effectively ignited a passion for social justice work that has illustrated to me the course of my future, both personally and in my teaching. I am grateful I was given the opportunity to attend such a powerful conference, and feel thankful for the inspiration, excitement, purpose, and focus I feel after emerging from my three days in Colorado Springs.
Educational, moving, enlightening. I feel much better prepared now to have these discussions in my classroom with the tools to work towards a constructive and impactful result.
The summer has been hectic with two classes, two doctoral research assistants, and an independent study on Social Justice in Higher Education...I think that the materials and learning from the Institute have already born some fruit. My independent study doc student is developing a handbook for our TAs and the Center for Teaching Excellence on campus that will provide suggestions and resources for integrating social justice issues into curricula....The Knapsack Institute was a wonderful chance to learn from lots of great people working on personal and professional growth. I felt more confident in dealing with issues and have enjoyed continuing to read as I work with my doctoral student. We are going to plan a presentation for an on-campus Teaching Conference as another product of our collaborative work.
Really great opportunity on transforming curriculum as many of our schools are trying to get into teaching issues of a diverse student population with a faculty that often has a univariate approach to pedagogy. This is a wonderful Institute with small focused groups and lots of small group work where you get the entire focus of the faculty. They have tremendous post-assessment feedback from clients as well. I learned a ton!
It was such a privilege to be a part of the Institute. There are several things I am working on as a result of my experience at the Knapsack Institute. At this point, we haven't directly changed curriculum or outreach, which is my ultimate goal. However, three other wider community initiatives have come about; one addresses bringing this remarkable education to the various community diversity teams; another is a new "committee of color" formed through our Cultural office to address the lack of difference in the people who speak for the arts movement in our community and lastly I have been asked to sit on a advisory panel which provides leadership training, opportunities for leadership and life skills education to African American, Latino, Asian and Native American high school students. The Knapsack Institute was the impetus for a wider conversation in our community.
I am so grateful for the influence that all of have had on my life and future perspectives on becoming a professor!...We've decided to use the film we viewed, "Traces of the Trade," to facilitate "whiteness" discussions with the UNM community...Also, we are planning a first annual "Whiteness Symposium" in the Spring, where graduate students can informally present their research to the UNM community. We thought this would be a good idea so that way the university sees the interdisciplinary work that students are doing around issues of privilege and oppression...I am so excited to be a part of this. For the longest time I was the one who would say "Someone should be doing something about this!" Now, I am actually part of the change that needs to happen. Thanks to all of you for your inspiration!
I attended last year and it is a great experience. I encourage anyone considering applying to do so as you will have no regrets and meet some great people and receive incredible resources for your use in classes.
Especially valuable was the matrix for framing privilege and oppression. The model helped me recognize my own paths of privilege and provides a useful paradigm to raise students' awareness. I left the Knapsack Institute with lots of activities I can use, lists of films, copies of syllabae, ways to "transform" my courses, and ways to manage resistance. The leaders are insightful, personable, and responsive to questions and concerns. Colorado Springs is a beautiful setting!
The three intensive days at the Institute empowered me with a fuller understanding of issues related to diversity and inclusion, which has resulted in a matured self awareness about my own position in relation to privilege and oppression. The KI experience has boosted my confidence to more competently facilitate discussions and activities related to the issues in my classes. The experience equipped me with resources and activities for use in the classroom and to further my own education. The depth and breadth of the content presented at the KI left me with the impression that participants could benefit whether they were new to the subject or had been working with the issues for decades.
In this Institute we all have so many opportunities to learn-not only from the presenters, but from each other and we are learning about ourselves. I think this is enormously valuable in our journeys of making a difference in the world around our social justice work!