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Unit Contributions to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion 6560

Academic Years: 
Romance Languages
1. Faculty: 

The nature of our subjects, hiring policies, and pedagogical practices shape RL as a diverse, multicultural, and plurilingual academic unit. We carry out research and instruction in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish language and culture. The largest language, literature, and culture department in the American Northwest, we are faculty members of different national origins who are nationally and internationally distinguished for teaching and pedagogy, plus students pursuing minors, majors, master’s degrees, and PhDs in the four languages. RL sponsors and supports activities such as lectures, film festivals, study abroad programs, international conferences, and community events. The department acknowledges our own diversity of educational and cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, races, gender–identities, social class, and sexualities as a positive richness, and we bring this attitude into classrooms and interaction with students.

Hiring practices: Before every search for TTF or NTTF faculty, every member of the search committee participates in implicit bias training. Clear instructions are given to committee members and to the faculty as a whole regarding current practices on diversity, equity, and inclusion during the process of the search. We take an innovative approach to defining fields of expertise for faculty hires, and seek to publicize faculty searches widely. As an example, our newly opened position in Spanish linguistics reflects the emphasis we are placing on social justice as a core principle of our programs. 

3. Graduate Programs: 

In addition to the fields of study undertaken by our graduate students, which include Latin American/Caribbean, African, and Chicano Studies, RL recruits graduate students of color from the US and abroad. Current or recent graduate students and GEs hail from Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, France, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Romania, Spain, UK, and the US.

For graduate students teaching in the basic language programs, the Director of Language Instruction works with new GEs every year in RL 608, a course that includes training on working with diverse learners. We prepare GEs to work with learning accommodations, non-traditional status, and other variables. The level/language supervisors spend additional time on this in weekly practicum meetings.

4. Undergraduate Programs: 

Our curricula have been revised over the past few years to include a stronger emphasis on topics such as Spanish in the US and the Francophone world. The general tendency is to “decenter” the content away from the traditional centers of colonial power and raise students’ awareness of peoples and cultures that have traditionally been marginalized in university language/culture study.

The Spanish Heritage Language Program (SHL) is an initiative of the UO Department of Romance Languages to meet the needs of the changing population of our university. The SHL Program is designed specifically for Spanish heritage language learners, students who have a personal, familial, or community connection to Spanish. It is comprised of a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels taught by a diverse cross-section of University of Oregon faculty.

Our Italian program promotes inclusion by encouraging Latinx students to take intensive first-year Italian and continue in the program. We have developed a new course, “The Italian-American Experience,” to attract Italian-Americans as Heritage Learners.

Our program in French is developing its course offerings to increase students’ knowledge of Francophone Africa and the Caribbean, including study abroad programs in Morocco and Senegal.

All of our advising is in the spirit of diversity, equity and inclusion. All students are welcome in our office, and advisors work with each individual student to develop an effective graduation plan and to connect them to resources on campus (CMAE, TLC, Career Center, AEC, GEO, Counseling Center, various student associations). Our Head Undergraduate Advisors also facilitate dissemination of information to department colleagues on best advising practices and on opportunities for our students. Advisors attend workshops and sessions on campus to remain current on needs of and opportunities for our diverse population. CMAE, TRIO, the Career Center all rely on us to inform our students of their programs, and will also enlist us to help them reach out to students.

In collaboration with the Accessible Education Center, we include relevant accommodations information on syllabi.

Study abroad and exchanges: RL works with the Office of International Affairs to maintain and develop our program abroad, ensure economic accessibility of programs, reciprocate exchanges with our partner universities abroad, and accommodate visiting international students.

5. Outreach and Partnerships: 

Romance Languages’ Spanish Heritage Language Program (SHL) engages in a number of different forms of outreach to connect Oregon Latinx students with the UO and with Spanish language education at the UO.

Faculty serve on the Dreamers Working Group Steering Committee. An appointed group, the Dreamers Steering Committee works collaboratively with the UO community and DREAMer Allies to ensure that our campus is: inclusive, friendly and supportive to students, faculty, and staff irrespective of their immigration status, country of origin or ethnicity.

Tarea Time is an initiative of the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence (CMAE), originally developed by the SHL director and coordinated by Karla Pérez-Young, which focuses on mentoring by guiding students from all backgrounds in the utilization of all resources available regarding financial aid, scholarships, internships, career development, professionalization, and ultimately academic success. Tarea Time meets once a week, form 3:00pm to 5:00pm (weeks 2-10).

Faculty and students participate with RUYC (Raza Unida Youth Conference) and with the Latinx student organization MEChA in volunteer, training, and community presentation activities.

The Latino Strategy group (LSG) includes faculty from the RL/SHL program with representatives from around UO campus including CMAE, Mills International Center, Advising, Housing, Visit Programs, Ethnomusicology, Admissions, Oregon Folklife Network, Theatre Arts.

RL sponsors initiatives and cultural events on campus and beyond, to bring students and faculty into participation with the Latinx community. We collaborate with the JSMA, the Knight Library, and others to extend awareness of and access to the cultural and archival materials, such as Guatemalan and Mexican textiles in the JSMA permanent collection or PCUN archives at the library.

Advisors organize the Fall Opportunities Fair for all RL students. We include tablers from the TRIO and TLC, the Career Center, PLE, Teach for America, and Peace Corps. These programs and offices are interested in connecting with our diverse population of students.

We recruit at all UO IntroDucktion, orientation and WOW events throughout the year.

Faculty organize and present numerous workshops each year, on topics such as National Spanglish Day, Empowering Heritage Students, and strengthening student support networks.

6. Other: 

RL hosted the third national symposium on Spanish as a Heritage Language (“Multilingualism, Diversity, Translanguaging”), held February 18 to 20, 2015.

1. University Service: 

The RL Office Manager serves as Treasurer of the Latinx Strategy Group.
She was a member of the "Faculty and Staff of Color" group that later morphed into CODAC. She recently cycled off from serving on the FAC for four years. RL staff serves regularly on search committees for OA and Classified positions across campus.

2. Departmental Contributions: 

In addition to the office manager, the department has two office staff members. Both are UO graduates, one with a BA in Anthropology, the other with a degree in International Studies and a minor in conflict resolution.  Both are proactive in assuring students and faculty from underrepresented groups are well served and made to feel welcome in the office. The entire staff (OA and Classified) are aware of the university's mission to diversify the student and faculty population and endeavor to meet the goal through their level of service and clear communication in all situations.