Thoughts on Equity

As a queer, immigrant, woman of color, my commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusivity is deeply rooted in my personal experiences and is reflected in my teaching philosophy and throughout my research. To decolonize my own ways of knowing and being, I constantly question the heteronormative processes that structure lives, actions, language, power and knowledge. By doing so, I attempt to create learning spaces that are inclusive of different voices, identities, ideas, and people.

Although the terms diversity, equity, and inclusivity are often discussed in education and other disciplines, their true meaning is often left ambiguous. These terms are often tied to capitalist issues that sustain economic competitiveness of industries rather than being discussed as issues of justice and fairness that exclude the voices of women and people of color from history and achievement. It is important to me as an educator and researcher to listen to what people say, their silences and the contextual meanings behind them by providing everyone the agency to tell their histories. Similarly, institutions and organizations too need to include voices of the marginalized, listen to the diversity of their perspectives, and understand their ways of learning, knowing, and doing.

I practice what I preach in my research and teaching. In my research, I attempt to question the normative exclusionary way of approaching equity and diversity in computer science education at the undergraduate level by understanding the experiences of first-generation, students and women of color and intentions of teachers to adapt socially and culturally responsive pedagogies. I problematize how educational technologists perceive the issues of equity, diversity, and inclusivity in the design and development of educational coding and programming software. Through my research, I urge policymakers and practitioners to consider transnational experiences, perspectives, and struggles of women and people of color globally.

In my teaching, I attempt to make my students aware of their own privilege; their cultural ways of being, knowing, and doing; and their own identities that are deeply tied to their communities. Without centering my own perspective or politics, I serve as a mentor for younger students in their first encounters with higher education, particularly understanding those whose families have limited or no experience with academia. I recognize that my position as a teacher and scholar should not overshadow that of my students; in my student-centered approach to education, I am a co-collaborator with my students, letting my individuality become a constituent part of the diversity of the classroom. I deploy my privilege and power as an educator to amplify my students’ voices and experiences and to advocate for their success.

As a scholar-teacher-researcher, I address the gendered, racial, and sexual injustices and inequities in STEM fields and relinquish my own power to give students the agency to do the same. Bringing together the nuances of intersectional feminist works and culturally responsive teaching, I continually reflect on my own power and privilege. For these reasons, I seek to continually add to the on-going conversations on and commitment to issues of equity, diversity, and inclusivity within and across institutional boundaries.