Tennessee College Offers Professors $3K Stipends to Teach Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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Posted: Jan 03, 2022 10:45 PM
Tennessee College Offers Professors $3K Stipends to Teach Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Source: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The University of Memphis told its professors that they could receive $3,000 stipends for "infusing" diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice into their curricula as part of the university's "Eradicating Systemic Racism and Promoting Social Justice Initiative."

According to an email sent to faculty that was obtained by The Washington Free Beacon, the public university is offering professors a $1,500 stipend after they redesign their curricula, and an additional $1,500 after teaching the new class. But only 15-20 faculty members will be chosen to participate in the initiative, which starts in the spring of 2022.

"The Eradicating Systemic Racism and Promoting Social Justice Initiative at the University of Memphis is offering an opportunity for interested faculty to critically consider methods and approaches to redesign existing courses housed within their departments to better advance the tenets and charge of the University’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice," the email reads. 

"This announcement offers a competitive grant opportunity designed to support faculty who are interested in redesigning and aligning existing course syllabi with the goals established by the workgroup entitled, Infusing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice into Existing Courses/Curriculum," it continues.

The working group described in the email links to a report pushing for the need to "Establish funding to incentivize faculty and instructors to enroll in cultural competency workshops focused on race and racism, designing anti-racist syllabi, and developing skills and appropriate dispositions for facilitating anti-racist classroom discussion."

Professors interested in the program are asked to submit a copy of a class syllabus so it can be redesigned, along with a 500-word "narrative" about their "diversity, equity, and inclusion philosophy" and how the new course will "address disparities" within their subject area.

The school hopes that selected faculty will "serve as Course Design Ambassadors for their home departments, colleges, and centers," according to the email.

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One of the university's faculty members, who wished to remain anonymous over a fear of retribution, told The Free Beacon that he believes the institution is wasting resources on this initiative.

"We've had a hard time retaining good faculty at our salary levels, so anytime you see money being spent on non-student or non-faculty causes, it makes you scratch your head," the professor said. "Could this money be spent on students or retaining quality faculty rather than a progressive agenda that isn't likely supported by the taxpayers or voters of Tennessee?"

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