Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion Blog

Honoring Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month has been recognized since 1949 in the United States. The awareness month started off as a week that was launched by the founder, Clifford W. Beers, of Mental Health America. The organization and awareness month aim to destigmatize mental illnesses and raise awareness on suicide, while drawing attention to psychological disorders and the communities that they affect nationwide.

Inclusive Teaching Doesn't Mean Including Everyone

Because if we aim to include “everyone” we’re overlooking the very lives and dynamics that make inclusive pedagogies not just necessary but meaningful and rewarding. Aiming to include “everyone” is an equivalent of the ever-popular “I-don’t-see-color” when talking about race.

Women's History Month

March is upon us which means it is Women's History Month. While women’s accomplishments are important every day, this month is dedicated to commemorating vital role of women in American history. Women’s History Month started as Women’s History Week in 1982 after Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28. Over the next five years following this initial commemoration, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions that designated a week in March as Women’s History Week.

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Dr. Wendell Gunn is important to the history of UNA as he was the first Black student to integrate the University in 1963 (at that time we were known as Florence State College). While Gunn’s legacy is significant, we still have much to learn about the history of Black faculty integration at the University. This is not that far removed from today and faculty diversity is still at the forefront of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education across the nation.

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Inclusive teaching refers to “pedagogy that strives to serve the needs of all students regardless of background or identity, and support their engagement with the subject material” (Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, 2020). This involves intentionality and a focus on creating a learning environment where all students are treated equitably by having access to course materials and opportunities to succeed.

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Civic engagement or civic participation is vital for a democracy to survive and thrive. Civic engagement involves collective action to address issues of public concern, working to make a difference in civic life within a community, and developing the knowledge and skills to make a difference.

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LGBTQ+ History Month was created in 1994 by a high school history teacher in Missouri named Rodney Wilson (GLAAD.org). According to the Library of Congress, a resolution was passed in 1995 by the General Assembly of the National Education Association to include LGBT History Month within a list of commemorative months.

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We are heading into our second year as a center on campus and thought that our first blog of the semester should introduce or reintroduce you all to the Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion, located on the 1st floor of Rice Hall.

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James Baldwin once said, “History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary,” he continued, “the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.

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There is an ever-increasing need for these civic values in our democratic society, particularly in a nation with many differing social, cultural, economic, and political backgrounds, and where historically some citizens have been privileged at the expense of others. We approach our teaching through this lens and believe that teachers have a profound responsibility in preparing children to be socially-just individuals.

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The Collaborative Special Education program prepares undergraduate and graduate students to work in general and special education settings with children and young adults who have varying ranges of exceptionalities.

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Alternative Breaks are what you get when you mix social justice, meaningful action, and opportunity with a group of college students.

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In 2016, we approached Limestone Correctional Facility, a large maximum-security prison that holds approximately 2200 men, to see whether UNA could help to meet the facility’s educational needs as outlined in a local news article.

UNA students participating in the Disability Support Services Panel Discussion last year alongside Dr. Graham Sisson, Jeremy Martin, and President Kitts.

Students living with disabilities are enrolling in postsecondary institutions at an increasing rate. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that during the 2015-2016 academic year, 19% of college undergraduate and 11.9% of postbaccalaureate students reported having a disability.