Presentation Title

“Disagreement in My Community is a Source of Blessing”: Navigating Conflict and Facilitating Growth in Divided Classrooms

Presenter Information

Betsy Barre, Wake Forest University

Location

Howard Performing Arts Center

Start Date

8-18-2022 9:00 AM

End Date

8-18-2022 10:10 AM

Description

Whether we teach political science, music, or biology, we aim to create learning environments that are both effective and inclusive of students with diverse identities, backgrounds, and commitments. Yet, we live and teach in a divided world. Although viewpoint diversity is generally considered a feature of our universities, increasing polarization has made it difficult to educate across these divides.

In this keynote, Dr. Betsy Barre will argue that, despite these difficulties, we should not abandon the promise of productive disagreement in our classrooms. She will help us understand when such disagreement is valuable, when it is not, and what we might do to navigate between the two. She will argue that disagreement is only productive if we have created a climate of inclusion and respect, and that pursuit of the latter need not undermine the benefits of the former.

Biography

Betsy is the Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Religious Ethics from Florida State University, is an affiliate faculty member in Wake Forest’s Department for the Study of Religion, and has taught philosophy and religious studies for over 15 years.

She began her career in traditional faculty roles at Lake Forest College, Marymount Manhattan College, and Rice University. In 2014, she shifted to administrative work when she was appointed Assistant Director of Rice’s newly-established Center for Teaching Excellence. She spent four years in that role, working closely with faculty and wonderful graduate students like Anthony Bosman before she transitioned to Wake Forest.

Over the past eight years, she has led numerous instructional development initiatives, including a $1.5 million peer-to-peer learning program that prepared Wake Forest faculty for a year of online and blended teaching in the summer of 2020. She was the winner of the POD Network’s Innovation Award for her Course Workload Estimator and is regularly consulted for her expertise on teaching and learning in higher education. She has been interviewed by NPR, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and numerous other outlets.

As a comparative ethicist, Betsy’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of moral philosophy, political theory, and the history of religion. Throughout her career she has taught introductory ethics and religion courses; specialized seminars on sexual ethics and the First Amendment; graduate courses on teaching and learning; and, most relevant to her work with us, courses on moral disagreement and democratic deliberation.

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Aug 18th, 9:00 AM Aug 18th, 10:10 AM

“Disagreement in My Community is a Source of Blessing”: Navigating Conflict and Facilitating Growth in Divided Classrooms

Howard Performing Arts Center

Whether we teach political science, music, or biology, we aim to create learning environments that are both effective and inclusive of students with diverse identities, backgrounds, and commitments. Yet, we live and teach in a divided world. Although viewpoint diversity is generally considered a feature of our universities, increasing polarization has made it difficult to educate across these divides.

In this keynote, Dr. Betsy Barre will argue that, despite these difficulties, we should not abandon the promise of productive disagreement in our classrooms. She will help us understand when such disagreement is valuable, when it is not, and what we might do to navigate between the two. She will argue that disagreement is only productive if we have created a climate of inclusion and respect, and that pursuit of the latter need not undermine the benefits of the former.