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By Esther Kingston-Mann

This choice of essays written by means of non-traditional college on non-traditional scholars files a posh and difficult means of pedagogical transformation.

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Indeed, my own turning point in this journey owed something to the university’s support for teachers—specifically to the seminars Coming Out and Leading Out 27 sponsored by the Center for the Improvement of Teaching. When I participated in the seminar of spring 1995, I made coming out in the classroom my particular objective. Week by week, I could clarify out loud how this had become a moral and pedagogical commitment for me, and I could share the classroom outcomes with friendly colleagues. Since then, I have managed to come out in all my classes; the question is only when and how.

At the same time, it is important to recall that our pedagogical powers and expertise, while real, are not infinite. We can never be sure that we will understand, predict, or deal effectively with every problem that arises. This is not as depressing an admission as it might seem. As in other areas of learning, pedagogical advances are seldom linear. If faculty—like students—recognize that difficulties are not a sign of incompetence, it may become easier for them to learn. Faculty socialized to see themselves as all-purpose authorities frequently find the challenge of learning through mistakes and misjudgments more difficult than do our students, who are inescapably aware that they are supposed to be learners.

The foregoing definition constitutes the core of UMass/Boston’s diversity curriculum requirement. See page 10 in this volume and notes 20 and 21 below. 15. 90, University of California at Los Angeles, summer 1990, photocopy). 16. The Center for the Improvement of Teaching was the creation of literature professors Francis Hart and James Broderick. After the initial Ford grant expired, the university supported a modest range of center activities. In 1991, under CIT director Esther Kingston-Mann, UMass/Boston received a second, urban-commuter university grant that supported diversity-focused faculty development seminars for ten faculty per semester.

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