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Teach ON! Covered Issues of Equity and Justice Surrounding COVID-19

In the spirit of the “Inclusion Starts with Me Teach In” that was offered in the winter quarters of 2018, 2019 and 2020, the College of Liberal Arts hosted a virtual “Teach ON!” during the spring 2020 quarter. The 2020 Teach ON! was a series of both prerecorded and real-time virtual lectures devoted to issues of equity and justice surrounding COVID-19. 

The pandemic has magnified structural inequities — as well as strengths — that exist in our diverse communities, and the Teach ON! organizers recognized the need for scholars to speak to the complexity of the coronavirus response and its intersections with issues of race, class and equity.

Faculty across campus were encouraged to use the lectures along with other curated resources in their courses. Presenters covered topics such as anti-Asian racism, self and community care, global responses, health care disparities, the redeployment of survival strategies for marginalized communities, issues of equity in a pandemic, fear and privilege, the social toll of social distancing, and laboring in the time of coronavirus. 

The Teach ON! was offered in the same spirit as the Teach In, says Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti, CLA associate dean for diversity and curriculum. “It’s a way for faculty, staff and administrators to model how we can engage in intellectual discourse around issues of social justice, particularly in times of great social need.”

Nearly 600 attendees including students, staff and faculty logged into the live events, and even more accessed the provided learning material throughout the quarter.

Ruha Benjamin, professor of African American studies at Princeton University, gave a keynote presentation to conclude the series on June 4. Benjamin studies the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine; race and citizenship; and knowledge and power. More than 250 people logged in to watch her talk titled “Race to the Future? Reimagining the Default Settings of Technology and Society.”


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