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Saturday, October 08, 2005 


Prof. McAdams highlights this interesting case of diversity training for TAs at UW.

I'm curious if a grad student TA that I know went through this training and what he thought of it. Get to the comments section.

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I never took the training as it is only "required" if you have prior experience as a TA (1.5 semesters) and are looking for a pay raise. Most hard-science folks (like myself) rarely TA for more two semesters, so they don't bother with the training. I talked with someone who has been through it, though.

My take is that this "gutsy" writer knew she wanted to contribute to the anti social-justice movement that the Badger Herald is practically underwriting, and she went to the Diversity seminar with this in mind.

MOST of the training, I understand, is actually very practical. How do you deal with someone you think is dyslexic or learning disabled? If a student IS diagnosed with LD, what special considerations do they get? What if a student comes to you on the first day and says "I periodically have seizures. Just so you know." What about blind students? Deaf students? This is all considered "diversity."

Yes, there is a racial diversity portion of the seminar. But why not? Race and class basically decide if someone will graduate from here. As long as you have a group of TAs sitting there, why avoid the issue? What if I have a poor student (minority or otherwise) who can't make it to every class because he has to work full-time? How flexible should I be? This isn't always obvious stuff.

The speaker for the racial-diversity part just facilliated some casual discussion and mostly offered anecdotes, as he is an administrator for these issues. Two years ago, for example, a Kohl Center (Badger hockey-rink) personnel director approached him and asked, "We have an opening to drive the Zamboni. But the only applicant is a woman."

"What's the problem," this speaker recalled asking.

"Well... it's a woman. Driving. On ice."

Nicholas Proite
ED Foreign Affairs Correspondent

Since I consider Madison another world, I think your new title is apt. Thanks for the info.

Wait. So, they let learning disabled people into Madison? And I didn't get in? That's a nice hit to the self-esteem.

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