P691G – Graduate Student Professional Development Seminar

Week 8 – Thinking about some potentially challenging situations arising from the salience of some aspects of the instructor’s identity


  • Explicitly describe different aspects of the instructor’s identity
  • Explain how various aspects of identity may impact how students interact with participants in their roles as TAs.
  • Develop plans for dealing with such situations.


  • Instructors’ Own Cultural and Social Backgrounds based upon the worksheet developed by Kirsten Helmer of TEFD


  • Whiteboard Work – Four groups of students each with a real-life case showing an example of bias where the instructor’s identity was salient.
    • Identify which biases were present
    • Think about good ways to handle them

Hopefully, by thinking about these things in advance, students will be better prepared when they actually occur. Students report out at end.

Social and Cultural Background, Kirsten Helmer, Institute for Teaching Excellence & Faculty Development, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2017; Adapted from Fallon and Brown, Teaching Inclusively in Higher Education