Tyler Roeger, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL), may be one step removed from working directly with ECC students, but through his role in supporting faculty, creating an environment that leads with equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is at the forefront of his work. Roeger is co-chair of ECC’s institutional committee TIDE (Teaching/Learning for Inclusivity Equity Diversity) alongside Liddy Hope, Ph.D., assistant professor of human services. “TIDE is a place where faculty can come to ask questions and have a dialogue, where we can unpack certain practices concerning equity, diversity, and inclusion in the classroom,” said Roeger.
In addition to TIDE, Roeger is an administrative coach for another key institutional committee, Student Success Infrastructure (SSI). He’s currently working on a project with Professor Susan Timm and CETL Presenter Tammy Ray on revising the syllabus provided by Teaching, Learning, and Student Development operations (TLSD) to read with a greater focus on EDI, which includes making changes to some of the traditional language used in syllabi. “We are working on revising areas of language to demonstrate ways students can succeed in the course rather than emphasizing the ways they can fail this course,” said Roeger. This includes making transparent what the purpose of an assignment is, not only a particular class but beyond the classroom, and how it will benefit the student down the road.
“It’s really important to recognize education historically has not supported students equally and equitably. Students have benefited and been harmed based on several different factors,” said Roeger. “We need to recognize removing barriers is not something that is naturally going to happen. We have to proactively be dismantling things or proactively rethinking a lot of what we do.” Roeger is a part of the Accessibility Strategy Team, a group on campus whose goal is to think of broad policy and individual practices for things like purchasing, classroom setup, and the set-up of D2L, ECC’s online management system. Their goal is to improve access to as many students as possible, especially those using assistive technology.
Roeger is also a part the Equity Through the Assessment of Student Learning Initiative led by Manager of Outcomes Assessments Lisa Wiehle, where they’re taking the assessment process of choosing outcomes to learn more about student performance, discuss it, and create interventions with what does and does not work to make equity an explicit lens through each step.
Driving his passion and hard work toward infusing EDI in the classroom and throughout the college is the premise that we accept our students as they come to us, that they are not empty vases waiting to be filled, but the background and experiences they come from are central to how they are taught. “We cannot break somebody down and make them new. If we really want to teach people effectively and support students, we have to work with who they are. Our students come to us with a lot of positive cultural and community experiences that we have the privilege to honor and build upon,” said Roeger.