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Washington, D.C. 20057

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Phone: (202) 687.6400



Seeking Real Curricular Change in the Service of Racial Justice

The events over the past few months have prompted deep reconsideration of what procedures and practices within the university might unintentionally contribute to racial injustices. One observation that many faculty are making focuses on the curricula that were shaped many decades ago. Some have observed that the content and perspectives of courses and curricula omit diverse perspectives and contributions within fields.

With the support of the Baker Trust for Transformational Learning, the Provost Office will soon launch a new program to assist departments and programs in revising their curricula to address these issues. The mission of the Baker Trust is to fund long-term educational change at Georgetown that is responsive to contemporary educational needs.

The Baker Trust will fund support for coordination, implementation, and evaluation. There will be targeted, transformative funding in the form of unit-level grants for analysis, development, and implementation of transformative curricular revisions. The initiative will be coordinated through the Red House, where faculty/staff leadership will serve as conveners and architects of the cycles of support.

This new initiative builds on earlier work. In fall 2019 and spring 2020, the Enhancing and Transforming the Core (ETC) initiative (in partnership with the Main Campus Core Curriculum Committee and the College) commissioned an array of individual and small-cohort curricular projects to transform the ways that Georgetown delivers its shared Core Curriculum. Under the broad frame of initiatives to address structural racism, this program would be significantly expanded and scaled to support schools, departments and faculty, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, in examining ways to address issues of structural racism and (in)justice.
This new initiative seeks to develop a sustained 3-year process to engage undergraduate and graduate faculty and programs in curricular revisions that promote ways of knowing, thinking, and responding to structural racism and systemic injustice.

In order to scale effectively and meaningfully, our emphasis will be on making direct grants to academic units rather than to individual faculty members, in order to foster programmatic and sustainable change. Academic units may include programs, departments, schools, or other curricular configurations (e.g., a Center or Institute with substantial focus on core curriculum development).

We will prioritize projects that develop transferable models and support multiple programs:

  • At the undergraduate level, these curricular revisions will focus on the shared “Core Curriculum” (Theology, Philosophy, Science, Humanities, Writing, Diversity) as well as the “School-based cores.”
  • At the graduate level, curricular revisions will focus on examining and redesigning pipeline, mentoring and academic support processes, coursework and experiential and career support programs, through the lens of equitable and inclusive practices.

The initial funding cycles would take place over 3 years. Unit-level grants would range from $25,000 to $50,000 per unit. Total commitment of resources for the Initiative would be at least $500,000 over three years.

This will be guided by a cross-campus Steering Committee of faculty and relevant staff representatives from each of the respective schools (including both undergraduate and graduate representation) and members of the relevant Deans’ offices. This Committee will help to develop the criteria for funding proposals, evaluate their feasibility, and assess their potential impacts on the curriculum. Interested units will submit proposals to the Steering Committee.

There is much to be done; we’re hopeful that the Baker Trust support will permit Georgetown to more quickly and wisely conduct some of this work.

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Office of the ProvostBox 571014 650 ICC37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057Phone: (202) 687.6400Fax: (202)

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