Race in the classroom: Faculty to focus course content on the current moment

10th July 2020

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–IU Southeast faculty are strengthening their classroom focus on race for Fall 2020.

Reflecting the immediacy and urgency of events and conversations transforming life in Kentuckiana and the United States, a number of instructors have committed to devoting one-third or more of their course content to race.

In some cases, this means adding information to existing course content that already incorporated race. In others, it means restructuring curriculum to bring the issue of race to the forefront.

The list of courses pledged to explore race issues includes the following:

Communication Studies

CMCL-C202 Media in the Global Context

Criminal Justice and Criminology

CJUS-P100 Introduction to Criminal Justice

COAS-S104 First Year Seminar

CJUS-P303 Corrections

CJUS-P335 Race, Gender, and Inequality in Criminal Justice

CJUS-P444 Victimization

CJUS-P470 Senior Seminar

CJUS-P501 Proseminar: Criminal Justice 1


EDUC-M 300 – Teaching in Pluralistic Society

EDUC-H 520 – Education and Social Issues


ENG-L230 Introduction to Science Fiction

Fine Arts

FINA-A451 The Art of the South Pacific 

FINA-A402 The Art of Native North America

FINA-A362 Art of Japan

FINA-A343 American Art as “Race and Identity in American Art” (Spring 2021)


HIST-A381 Civil Rights Era in the United States

HIST-H104 Europe: Napoleon to the Present

HIST-H101 The World in the 20th Century

Political Science

POLS-T390 Theories of Power

POLS-Y404, Political Issues in Public Personnel Management


PSY-P 305: Psychology and Cultures


SOC-S163 Social Problems

SOC-S344 Sociology of Childhood

SOC-S419 Social Movements & Collective Action

SOC-R463 Inequality and Society

Social Sciences

SSCI-S103 Bystander Intervention


THTR-T271 Theatre History II


HON-H306 Questions of Social Justice

(It is worth noting that the course list is expected to grow, making it a good idea to keep checking the IU Southeast website for updates as we move through the 2020-21 academic year.)

Webpages listing course offerings dealing with race will be located on the homepages of academic schools, as well as on the diversity homepage. To recognize students who have joined this important conversation, the Office of the Registrar is adding a class attribute called “Diversity Appreciation: Focus on Race” that will be part of a student’s record.

The attributes will also give students the ability to search by attribute in both the Student Center and the iGPS system when selecting courses.

In addition, many courses that do not devote fully one-third of course content to issues of race may still address those issues in some way.

“Through exploration we cultivate understanding, appreciation, and empathy for a human experience unlike our own,” said Jim Hesselman, dean of the School of Arts and Letters, which addresses multi-cultural and multi-ethnic concerns in ways that transcend the current moment.

It is hoped that these changes to curriculum will not only inspire conversations about race, but also recognize the ongoing efforts of members of the IU Southeast community in this area.

“At a moment in time when so many people are hoping that we can move forward as a country toward greater racial equality, it is more important than ever to understand how race shapes our selves, our communities, our institutions, and the wider world,” said Dr. Gregory Kordsmeier, interim dean of the School of Social Sciences. “So many of our students and alumni are already hard at work at making the world a better place, and we want to give them tools to succeed.”

Homepage photo by Unrated Studio, Pixabay.

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