President’s Teaching and Innovation Award: Dr. Tadashi Dozono

At the 2023 President’s Convocation, Assistant Professor of Education, Tadashi Dozono, was awarded the President’s Award for Teaching and Innovation. The Teaching and Learning Innovations team has been proud to partner with Dr. Dozono on the Equity Inquiry Project, for which he was aptly recognized, and we are excited to continue our celebration of him through the publication of his award speech, which he generously shared with us. Congratulations, Dr. Dozono, and thank you for all you do! 

Watch Tadashi’s Speech

Read Tadashi’s Speech

Thank you so much for this award, President Yao. I am deeply honored.

I greatly appreciate how this award not only reflects teaching and innovation on campus, but the collaborative nature of our campus, as so many of the individuals and programs that have been highlighted through this award are the result of wonderful collaborations between departments and colleagues, faculty, and staff.

Our campus efforts toward equity depend on these collaborations across campus entities. Equity is only achievable when faculty and staff, and students work together and listen to each other to decrease equity gaps across campus.

Over the last two years, I have had the honor of working on the Equity Inquiry Project, a collaboration between SASEI (and the support of Dr. Michelle Hasendonckx and Dr. Monica Ocampo) and Teaching and Learning Innovations, through the Channel Your Success HSI grant.  The Equity Inquiry Project is the result of several years of collaboration with Dr. Lorna Gonzalez, Director of Digital Learning, who brought me on as a partner in developing and piloting this program.

The Equity Inquiry Project is one part of CI’s Channel Your Success HSI grant to close equity gaps across campus. This program aims to both cultivate a broader faculty culture of improving curriculum and pedagogy through data and research and to support individual faculty members in closing one aspect of the DFW equity gap in one of their courses.

Basically, over one semester, we help faculty tap into what research and inquiry might look like in any of our fields, and apply that general process to our teaching, to figure out how to best support our students. Each participant figures out their problem of practice based on what aspect of their curriculum or teaching they want to tweak to better serve students. Once participants develop their inquiry question, they develop a plan to collect data about what impact their change has on students.

Through this process, we hope to cultivate a broader campus culture that aims to not only support our students in achieving their learning goals, but helps faculty figure out better ways to serve our students. We help faculty distinguish between prevention and intervention strategies, to consider obstacles to student success that they can prevent from happening through their course design, as well as intervention strategies when obstacles arise for students mid-semester.

We also encourage faculty to think about changes to both their curriculum and pedagogy. In this sense, curriculum refers to the path we design for students, through readings and assignments, basically the syllabus and course materials. Pedagogy refers to how we enact that curriculum in practice, the activities we use in class to help students learn, as well as how we interact with students in and out of the classroom, be it office hours, email communication, feedback on student work, or granting students extensions.

This work also helps to cultivate a certain humility amongst faculty, to recognize that although many might consider us experts, we are also still learning how to teach better, and we make mistakes. Just as we might want our students to learn from their mistakes, how can we as faculty learn to recognize how we all participate in creating and upholding obstacles for student success, and how might we all continually work towards supporting students to achieve their learning goals?

I appreciate the push from many of my colleagues here who emphasize that recognition as a Hispanic serving institution is not enough, but we must all strive to really serve our student population better. This requires cultivating and honing our listening practices. Just as we push our students to continually improve their reading and writing skills, as educators we must continually improve our listening skills, taking time to observe our students’ strengths that might go unrecognized in academia, and attend to our students’ needs for overcoming obstacles.

Thank you.

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