Decolonizing the University: Translating Theory Into Practice

Date: Monday, October 25, 2021
Start: 7:30am EDT / 12:30pm UK / 7:30 pm Ningbo
End: 11:45am EDT / 4:45pm UK / 11:45pm Ningbo

All times below are in EDT. Follow the hyperlink to find local time. This workshop is invitation only. Please email global@uconn.edu if you misplaced the registration link.

The University of Connecticut's Office of Global Affairs and University of Nottingham will be hosting a workshop, building on conversations from three-part virtual series entitled, “Is the University Colonial? Critical Conversations on Its Past, Present, and Future” that took place in academic year 2020-2021. Please visit the series page to view recordings and resources.

During this workshop scholars and practitioners from UConn, UoN and global partners discussed institutional objectives, shared best practices and ideas on how to develop toolkits and action plans for decolonization in higher education. The workshop was discussion based and included breakout sessions to facilitate the exchange of ideas and perspectives.

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WORKSHOP PROGRAM

7:30 AM - WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS (5 min)

Michael Bradford, Vice Provost for Faculty, Staff & Student Development and Professor Dramatic Arts, University of Connecticut, USA

7:35 AM - SESSION 1: GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES ON DECOLONIZATION (50 min)

In this session, we will discuss what decolonization theories mean and how translating these theories into practices may vary in different global contexts. Participants will share experiences from their university’s perspectives. These presentations will aim to 1) diagnose the problem(s); 2) deconstruct our understanding of what the issues are by identifying the causes and effects of those issues; and 3) gain an understanding of how we got here. This exercise in diagnostic reporting will help us identify the greatest challenges and threats in our respective universities as well as national and global political, social and economic contexts.
Speakers:
Eliana Amaral, Professor of Obstetrics, University of Campinas, Brazil
Naziema Jappie, Deputy Dean, Center for Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Clem Marshall, Professor, Division of Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought, European Graduate School, Switzerland
Zulfa Sakhiyya, Research Fellow, Asia Research Centre, Universitas Indonesia and Lecturer,  Universitas Negeri Semarang, Indonesia
Saran Stewart, Associate Professor of Higher Education Administration & Director of Global Education at the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, USA
Discussant:
Helen Williams
, Associate Professor of Politics, University of Nottingham, UK

8:25 AM - BREAKOUT SESSIONS (20 min)

During the breakout sessions, participants will discuss and reflect on the reports given in Session 1 and think through possible objectives to bring forth as discussion items in Session 2.

--- 5 MINUTE BREAK ---

8:50 AM - SESSION 2: THE PURSUIT OF DECOLONIZATION (40 min)

During this session we will attempt to identify what objectives we are seeking to meet in the pursuit of decolonizing the university. Breakout facilitators will have 5 minutes to provide a synthesis of their groups discussion. Discussants will guide the group in a conversation to identify immediate and long-term needs at their respective institutions.
Discussants:
Lewis Gordon, Professor & Department Head of Philosophy, University of Connecticut
Onyeka Nubia, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society Teaching at University of Nottingham (UK); Visiting Research Fellow at Edge Hill University and University of Huddersfield

9:30 AM - SESSION 3: GLOBAL BEST PRACTICES (55 min)

Speakers will share tools and practices already being implemented at their institutions, the successes, challenges and resulting adaptations, with the aim of identifying best practices. Understanding that many ideas of decolonization have not originated within institutions, and we may identify best practices that have originated both inside and outside institutions of higher education. These best practices should evaluate whether mainstreaming is as important as creating exemplars and/or whether both requirements can be equally incorporated simultaneously.
Speakers:
Garrick Cooper, Senior Lecturer in Maori & Indigenous Studies, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Yewande Lewis-Fokum, Lecturer in English Language & Literacy and Teacher Training & Development, School of Education, University of West Indies, Jamaica
Rozena Maart, Professor and Director of the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Inaya Rakhmani, Director, Asia Research Centre, Universitas Indonesia
Mary Tupan-Wenno, Executive Director, ECHO Center for Diversity Policy, The Hague, The Netherlands
DiscussantRobert Mokaya, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity, University of Nottingham,UK

10:25 AM - BREAKOUT SESSIONS (15 min)

During the breakout sessions, participants will discuss and reflect on the objectives and global best practices discussed in Sessions 2 and 3, and think through possible tools and assessments to bring forth as discussion items in Session 4.

--- 5 MINUTE BREAK ---

10:45 AM - SESSION 4: BUILDING A TOOLKIT FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (35 min)

The aim of this session will be to conceive a means of assessment, tools, and a set of questions that institutions can use for evaluating needs, identifying problems, and effectively decolonizing the university at a systemic level down to the classroom, which includes, but is not limited to, the curriculum (e.g. pedagogy and assessment), academic spaces (e.g. policy, structures), and knowledge. Additionally, tools and processes should consider the vulnerability of changemakers and devise ways to reduce that vulnerability. As decolonization is an on-going living process, participants will be asked to identify how to embed this process in academic and institutional infrastructure for consistent application in the future.
Discussants:
Maria Arruda, Head of Researcher Development, Researcher Academy; Chair of the Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network, University of Nottingham (UK)
Jane Gordon, Professor of Political Science, University of Connecticut

11:20 AM CLOSING DISCUSSION: CHARTING A PATH FORWARD (40 min)

Discussants:
Sarah Speight, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Education and the Student Experience, University of Nottingham
Franklin Tuitt, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, University of Connecticut

Note: A follow up workshop will be held in February 2022 Workshop. Each participating institution will be expected to hold stakeholder engagement meetings on their campus to discuss ideas, tools, practices that came out of discussions during the October workshop, before February 2022.  In February, participants will reconvene to discuss the path forward and create action-oriented strategies and discuss a timeline for implementation. Institutions will need to plan for monitoring, evaluation and adaptive management of implementation to ensure that policies, process, practices are not only embedded in the academic and institutional infrastructure, but are consistently and continually applied, reviewed and revised to meet objectives in perpetuum.

Organizing Committee

Zahra Ali, Director of Global Partnerships & Outreach, Office of Global Affairs, University of Connecticut

Maria Arruda, Research Development Manager (UKRI), Office of Research Strategy & Development; Chair of the Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network, University of Nottingham (UK)

Michael Bradford, Vice Provost for Faculty, Staff & Student Development and Professor Dramatic Arts, University of Connecticut

Jane Gordon, Professor of Political Science, University of Connecticut

Lewis Gordon, Professor & Department Head of Philosophy, University of Connecticut

Sandy Grande, Professor of Political Science, University of Connecticut

Christian Mueller, Associate Professor in Modern European and International History, University of Nottingham (Ningbo)

Onyeka Nubia, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society Teaching at University of Nottingham (UK); Visiting Research Fellow at Edge Hill University and University of Huddersfield

David Ouchterlonie, Associate Director, Global Engagement, University of Nottingham (UK)

Saran Stewart, Associate Professor of Higher Education Administration & Director of Global Education for the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut

Candace Veecock, Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics / ELT Director of Teaching, University of Nottingham (Ningbo)