Courageous Conversations has people talking

In a classroom on the Cartersville campus, teachers talked about how to deal with controversial topics. They brainstormed on how to handle name-calling and also how to teach difficult subjects like race, prejudice, sex and violence.

This was part of the theme of the Oct. 19 event, “Can I Say That? Hot Button Issues in the Classroom” which invited professors to discuss all those issues and more.

Nancy Applegate, professor of English, speaks at Cartersville campus. Photo by Erin Baugh.

The main speaker at the event was Nancy Applegate, professor of English on the Floyd campus. She delivered a Powerpoint presentation giving discussion topics to the audience. “It’s an attempt to discuss issues of diversity,” said Applegate.

Several professors shared stories of bias, and asked how they could have handled it better. They repeatedly expressed how important this kind of feedback was from fellow faculty and staff.

One of the conversation topics was on the generational gap. Some professors expressed concerns that they were misunderstanding students and students were misunderstanding them because of a language difference. They invited the students in the room to talk about how this might affect the way lessons are understood.

Another topic was bullying. The faculty stated that it was becoming a serious problem in the classroom and discussed how it might be mediated if it arises in classroom discussion. Some told stories of bullying happening in their own classrooms.

This meeting was part of the Courageous Conversations series of events. Hosted by the Diversity Initiative, a part of the Office of Academic and student Affairs, these events are into their second year. Though not the only event hosted, it is the most visible. The Diversity Initiative also helps out with groups such as Brother2Brother.

“We work on and off with student groups,” said Jesse Bishop, assistant professor of English at the Cartersville campus and the director of the Diversity Initiative. “We hope to be more involved with them as time goes on.”

Students are encouraged to come to the Courageous Conversations on their own campuses. The Nov. 10 event at the Cartersville campus called “(Mis)labeling & (Mis)understanding.” There will be another event Nov. 29 at 12:30 p.m. at the Douglasville campus called “Come Let Us Reason Together.”