Respond to post 1-4
1.Do higher educational professionals give students, especially minorities, opportunities to have their voices heard? Provide examples from your personal experience to support your answer.
I am a community college administrator so I am not sure how much opportunity minority students are given to have their voices heard in the classroom. However, I do know that our students are given an opportunity to have their voices heard through the Student Government Association. The SGA association at my college advocates for student issues and presents students perspectives to campus administration and faculty using different communication avenues. This association provides a forum for free and open discussion of matters affecting students at our college and promotes the general welfare of the student body by improving campus life through the creation of student services. The SGA bylaws ensure that membership is extended to all and that no students are denied membership on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, etc. I think that one of the many added benefits of this association is that it builds responsible stewardship of college students’ matters, as well as, a sense of ownership and increased decision making power that contributes to a better campus for current and future students. I have come to the realization that students nowadays are socially engaged and they welcome the opportunity to have their opinions taken into account in varied subjects related to campus life. My department for example, frequently relies on SGA members to communicate with the student population about participating in focus groups to gather feedback on technology related projects. Not only do students like to participate in our technology tests which help us build buy-in but they also become our best marketing and communication efforts by promoting technology utilization among the rest of the student population. I think that as higher educational professionals we need to create more opportunities and welcome increased dialogue between students, faculty, and administrators because those engagements regardless of the topic result in win-win situations.
2 In my opinion it depends on the situation. Every university is different and the campus culture plays a huge role in rather students feel they can voice their opinions or not. There are multiple ways in which professionals give this opportunity, one being Student Government. Student government meets usually meet weekly or bi-weekly and discuss issues around campus. This is way for any student who has concerns or would like to speak on a specific topic an opportunity to do so and raise awareness.
Clubs and organizations also allows for students to come together and discuss interests or issues that they would like to focus on. Faculty and Staff sponsor these organizations and assist them with their overall mission. However, not all organizations or clubs are designed to voice an opinion or raise awareness. Tarleton’s Diversity and Inclusion does a wonderful job at ensuring that voices for all students, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
An example of Tarleton giving their students an opportunity to voice their opinion was when students held a silent protest in front of the Barry B. Thompson student center. Tarleton did not sponsor the event but did allow students to protest and many faculty/staff members joined.
3. Do higher educational professionals give students, especially minorities, opportunities to have their voices heard? Provide examples from your personal experience to support your answer.
Based on my experience, I think it all depends on most likely where you choose to go to school. I think at some institutions there are some efforts from the higher educational professionals to provide students, especially those who minority the ability to express themselves and have their voices heard and then there are some institutions where more work needs to be done to allow individuals that opportunity. In addition, I think a lot of it also depends on how well advertised these spaces are. For example, when I transferred to a much larger institution that was quite diverse for it’s size, I was not initially made aware of all of the available resources that I could take advantage of to ensure my voice was heard. And in fact at times, when there were certain events showcasing like organizations that I could get involved in, it was overwhelming and me being shy I was often to afraid to take that extra step to get started. Therefore I think it’s important for students coming in to connect with individuals who provides them with a list of opportunities where they feel that they can develop themselves and have their voices heard and let the student go from there.
4.Quaye (2005) describes ways in which higher education officials and institutions do not provide the opportunity for students’ voices to be heard. He describes a hegemonic culture that discourages and dismisses alternative viewpoints, faculty who encourage passivity from students, and a lack of diverse, inclusive faculty (Quaye, 2005). In my experience, college administration provides opportunities, or at least has the desire to provide opportunities, for students to have their voices heard. The institution I currently work for includes students on numerous committees, regularly hosts listening sessions specifically for students, surveys students, and supports student organizations, including Men of Color and the Hispanic Students Association. However, based upon the results of multiple student surveys, many faculty members do not seem to provide this opportunity. As Quaye (2005) discusses, education often socializes students into believing that the teacher’s perspective and thoughts are the most important, because they are the authority figure in the classroom setting, which leads to students fearing to voice a challenging thought or opinion. Many students at my institution describe this scenario in a variety of ways, including some retaliation or fear of retaliation, discouragement of discussion, and passive aggressive comments or actions by faculty. Additionally, the administration at my institution has made diversity and inclusion a high priority, forming task forces to focus on different aspects of this, including hiring practices. This has met with some resistance and backlash from faculty and staff. As Quaye (2005) states, “an increasingly multiracial and multiethnic American democracy demands that a more diverse group of scholars educate students and support them in developing their voices with respect to their cultural backgrounds” (p. 294-295). Students need to see themselves reflected in higher education to feel comfortable enough in expressing their views. In my experience, there is some desire to provide students with the opportunity for expressing their views, but this desire does not extend campus wide