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The Western

Inclusive Teaching and Pedagogy Virtual Community

Community Co-Chairs
• Austin Barraza, Northeastern University
• Devon Cantwell, University of Utah
• Maria Struble, Western Colorado University

How to Participate:
If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the following form:

How to Support
WPSA is not requiring any fees or membership dues to participate in its Virtual Communities during the 2020-2021 Pilot Program. Many people are volunteering their labor to make that possible, a model that will not be sustainable if we are to continue offering this program on a more permanent basis.

If you would like to support this initiative now and increase its viability for the future, please consider donating to help pay for administrative and IT costs. We especially invite participants who are not currently dues-paying members of WPSA to contribute. We suggest a sliding-scale of $5-$25 as you are able. You may contribute here:

Community Focus
Our community is for all political science instructors who are interested in making their teaching more equitable and inclusive. Throughout this virtual community, we will work on reflecting and developing inclusive teaching mindsets, shifting pedagogical techniques, as well as modifying curriculum and resources.

Intended Participants
Our community is open to all political science instructors, as well as those who anticipate teaching at some point in their careers. This includes instructors at both two and four-year institutions, tenure and non-tenure track instructors, as well as graduate students and postdocs. We welcome those who have experience in inclusive teaching as well as those who are interested in piloting new pedagogical techniques. We seek participation from scholars with diverse backgrounds (Black, Latinx, Native and Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, international scholars, women, LGBTQ+, scholars with disabilities, etc) so that the content and practices of this community reflects the diversity of our participants.

The purpose of our community is to promote inclusive teaching and pedagogy practices within political science. This includes, but is not limited to, adjusting our syllabi, curriculum, pedagogical techniques, classroom activities, and teaching statements to be more inclusive.

A note about us co-chairs: We do not claim to be experts in inclusive teaching or seek to be the sole producers of knowledge in this area. Instead, we see ourselves as facilitators committed to building a platform where we can share inclusive pedagogy techniques, offer feedback to one another, and build shared resources.

Kinds of Events Planned
We will host events twice a month, including more formal peer presentations and professional learning workshops as well as informal roundtable sessions and sub-cohort/cluster meetings (based on specialized topics or shared career stages). We will also hold virtual happy hours/social mixers in order to build community with one another and make this community a space of support outside our normal departments. As a community, we will try to find mutual dates and times that work for our members.

Upcoming Events
Information about upcoming events will be posted here and on the unified Virtual Communities calendar at as events are scheduled. Convert event times to your local time zone at

Taking on the “Possessing Class” by Reimagining Learning with Ian Renga
Date: Monday, Thursday, March 11, 2021 Time: 10:00 – 11:00 AM, PT

Event Details:

We tend to talk a lot about teaching, but how we talk about learning matters more. Our personal theories of learning shape how we teach. And they aren’t neutral – they’re inherently political by signaling how we link power with education (Hand, Penuel, & Gutiérrez, 2012). Freire (1971) understood this when criticizing the “banking concept” of teachers giving and students receiving knowledge. Such a view presumes someone always has “more”, others “less”, thus sustaining the oppressors’ “egoistic pursuit of having as a possessing class” (p. 59). Perhaps we see learning differently, as more social, constructive, or emancipatory. But how do we counter students’ assumptions that we’re “giving” them knowledge or skills? What does this look like in practice? How does it transform our role? To push our thinking on this, we’ll consider the simple but subversive observation that powerful learning happens all the time without teaching (Lave, 1996). What’s more, our teaching risks interfering with such learning. (Yikes!) We’ll also examine other learning metaphors—e.g., learning as participation, learning as transformation—and chat about their radical possibilities in our classrooms.


Contact for Access:

The Inclusive Teaching Virtual Community (ITVC) will e-mail the link for the presentation on February 7th. If you have questions, please e-mail