Actualizing Accountability: Teaching for Critical Engagement

Dr. Nicole Martin

In recent years, shifting student demographics, along with rising political discord, have been met by university administrative bodies with a call to transform the classroom into a safe space. Yet, there is a dangerous assumption hidden within the commitment to appreciate diverse student perspectives through the rhetoric of "safety". Embedded within the language is the presumption that there are no competing interests – that conditions of safety are the same across identity and experience. The result of this miscalculation is a classroom community ill-equipped to respond to conflict that arises out of divergent ways of living, believing, and knowing.  Or, as is too-often the case, this bend toward safe space replicates the discriminatory practices its advocates seek to unhinge. 

As such, if the idea of “safe space” is limited in its efficacy, what should instructors committed to just and equitable pedagogy seek to enact instead?  

This interactive working-group session takes up this question by inviting participants to consider how accountability in the classroom works as alternative to "safe space." Attendees will be led through exploratory exercises to develop tools and strategies for creating a classroom where students are held responsible for their actions, and can enact a radical critical engagement with course content and their peers.

The session is divided into two 2-hour segments with a 1.5-hour break in the middle for dinner (on your own); participants are expected to be in attendance for the entirety of our meeting time.

Lattie F. Coor Hall, Room 186
Tempe Campus

3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Session one
5:00 p.m. Dinner break (on your own)
6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Session two

Register Here

Lattie F. Coor Hall, Room 186