Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
Center for Leadership, Teaching and Learning (CLTL)

Learning Communities

New Faculty Learning CommunityACID Learning Community  |  Mellon Funded Racial Justice Learning Communities


New Faculty Learning Community Spring activities:

Welcome-back lunch in the test kitchen of the Dining Hall

Date: Friday, Feb. 3, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Inclusive Teaching: Strategies for Promoting Equity in the Classroom

Date:Monday, March 6, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Weller Room (Lib 212)
Description: Book discussion with a focus on implementation

Open-Access Publishing Roundtable

Date: Date TBD, over Zoom
Description: Join members of the Lever Press editorial board in discussing the benefits of open-access publishing.

End-of-Semester Celebration

Date: Friday, May 5, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Description: Gather at the Tang Teaching Museum with administrators and chairs/program directors to celebrate a successful semester.


ACID Learning community

The Center for Leadership, Teaching, and Learning (CLTL) and the Schupf Family IdeaLab (IL) are joining forces to bring you the Academy for Course Innovation and Design (ACID), a semester-long laboratory for unconventional (radical!) course development meant to enhance student accessibility and participatory learning through liberatory and critical hands-on pedagogies. 


  • Identify a course that you would like to design, modify, or restructure, and tell us about what it is and what you want to do. You must commit to attending five meetings throughout the spring semester scheduled for (non-faculty-meeting) Fridays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on the following days:
    • 10 – Co-creating the curriculum
    • March 10 – Critical Pedagogies
    • March 24 – IdeaLab Exploration with Darren Prodger
    • April 3 – Brendan Boyle’s Toy Workshop (optional)
    • April 7 – Collective Study Day
    • May 5 – Show and Tell
  • Compensation will be $500 distributed during the last pay period of the academic year. 

Who is eligible?
All faculty are eligible! If you have already secured funding for developing a course via another mechanism (e.g., the IL-Innovative Pedagogy call), you are still eligible to participate. Indeed, this could be a valuable incubation period to launch that project and an opportunity to work with others contemplating similar or parallel teaching innovations. 

How do I indicate interest?
Please email Beck Krefting ( and Jess Sullivan ( a statement of interest by Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 that includes the course(s) you would like to design or restructure and the kinds of instructional tools and resources that would assist in the process. 

What kinds of courses might you consider designing?
Because we are offering ACID alongside the IdeaLab call for course funding, we are especially seeking applicants working on courses that re-envision major elements of the course (e.g., student-designed courses, gamified courses, collective study courses, classroom-free courses, courses taught in alignment with other learning communities, courses that play with space and time, courses that alter student-professor dynamics). Individuals who would like to create courses or modify existing courses in ways that adopt pedagogical practices aimed at enhancing student accessibility, and/or   that combat structural barriers to equity and inclusion in the classroom, are especially encouraged to apply, whatever the overarching content of their course might be.


Mellon Funded Racial Justice Learning Communities

Three exciting new learning communities (LC) will run this fall in conjunction with the “Africana Studies and the Humanities at Skidmore: Transnational Explorations in Social Justice” grant from the Mellon Foundation. Please review the options below and, if interested, contact the respective facilitator(s) directly by Monday, Jan. 30. Each LC begins the week of Feb. 6 and will have commitments of approximately two hours weekly during the semester. Once again, faculty/staff who participate in a learning community will be compensated $750. Selections will prioritize faculty and staff with direct teaching responsibilities or who are engaged in projects/initiatives that impact diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion efforts on campus. Upon completion of an LC, folks interested in applying knowledges learned in an LC will be invited to be compensated for participating in the Racial Justice Teaching Challenge initiative in a subsequent semester. You are welcome to apply to join a learning community as many times as you wish throughout the duration of the grant. Important note: Staff members, whether exempt or non-exempt, should contact their supervisor prior to applying to join an LC.

Race Dialogue: An Intergroup Relations Immersion
Meeting Time: Thursdays, noon to 2 p.m. (space TBD)
Max Enrollment: 12
Facilitators: Associate Director and Director of Skidmore’s Intergroup Relations Program, Lisa Grady-Willis and Jenni Mueller

Community Description: 
In this learning community, participants will intimately explore racial identity as it impacts inter- and intra-group relations, conflict and social change, as well as discourses surrounding emotionally charged topics like critical race theory and the Black Lives Matter movement. We will delve into issues affecting the academy at-large and Skidmore in particular, such as the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff of color and adjusting to the shifting racial demographics of our student body. Most importantly, participants will use practices of self-reflection and introspection to explore and examine their own perspectives and experiences.

In keeping with the peer-led model used to facilitate IGR’s student dialogue series, colleagues will support and challenge one another to move from the discussion and debate modalities so common in the academy, to an understanding and engagement with dialogue as a structured and intentional approach, both within social justice work and higher education. Participants should emerge from this learning community with both a theoretical underpinning and practical tools to foster inclusive and equitable campus working/learning environments, in addition to ideas for applying dialogue beyond the academy.

Important Note: Given the pedagogy of IGR, particular attention will be given to the racial/ethnic makeup of the group to ensure the potential for intergroup exchange. In addition, time will also be allotted for intragroup caucus work. No one enters the space as a designated learner or teacher due to their racial/ethnic background or experience. Rather, everyone enters as both a learner and a teacher.

To Apply: In 250 words, please detail the course/project you intend to revise or develop for the Racial Justice Teaching Challenge and how you see this learning community intersecting with those goals. This learning community also requires a pre-enrollment form to ascertain demographics and gauge interest/comfort level. Please complete that here.

Please complete the pre-enrollment form and send your responses and directly to and by Monday, January 30th.  

Blackness in Mexican-American and Chicano Communities
Meeting Time: Tuesdays, 3 to 5 p.m. (space TBD)
Max Enrollment: 12
Facilitators: Bernardo Ramirez Rios, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology; Adrian Bautista, Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs; and Carlos Navarro, Director, Office of Leadership Activities

Community Description: 
In 2011, Arizona passed legislation banning Ethnic Studies curricula. Alternatively, beginning in 2021, California passed legislation requiring Ethnic Studies curricula for high-school graduation and the baccalaureate degree within the California State University system. This Learning Community (LC) intends to use the interdisciplinary inquiry of Ethnic Studies as a foundation to facilitate discourses on Blackness and racial ideologies within the ethnic frameworks of Mexican-American and Chicano communities. The LC intends to use Blackness as a focal point to discuss the Mexican-American and Chicano experience and integrate the broad discussion into Black Studies. We will use popular culture (art, music, sports, dance, etc.) to critically examine the intersections of Blackness and Mexicanismo/Chicanismo. The curriculum will include a guest speaker whose work focuses on issues of Blackness, ethnicity, indigeneity, and the modern intersections between Blackness and citizenship in Mexico and the U.S. The learning objectives for the LC focus primarily on the history, knowledge, identity, and experience of Blackness within Mexican-American and Chicano communities. Participants in this LC will explore the following:

  • Analyze and articulate concepts such as race and racism, racialization, ethnicity, ethnocentrism, eurocentrism, white supremacy, liberation, decolonization, sovereignty, imperialism, settler colonialism, and anti-racism.
  • Explore the intersectional knowledge systems within Black and Brown communities and their contributions to intellectual and lived experiences.
  • Intentionally deconstruct Blackness within the Mexican-American and Chicano communities to understand how it relates to current structural issues (transnational politics, immigration, settler-colonialism, multiculturalism, etc.).
  • Examine the discourse of “cancel culture” as it relates to notions of authenticity and Blackness/Mexicanismo/Chicanismo, particularly looking at dynamics on college campuses and in Black/Latinx entertainment and digital practices.
  • Describe how structural barriers shape “marginalized masculinities” (e.g., legal status, religions, class) in Black and Mexican-American/Chicano cultural settings and how it manifests in popular culture and other contexts.

Participants will actively engage with anti-racist, anti-colonial matters, and the practices and movements in African American and Latinx communities that promote a just and equitable society. This community will establish the importance of shared knowledge and will embrace and use collective wisdom to assist faculty with the Racial Justice Teaching Challenge (RJTC) and support staff in projects that support student services.

To Apply: In 250 words, please detail the course/project you intend to revise or develop for the Racial Justice Teaching Challenge and how you see this learning community intersecting with those goals.

Please send your responses directly to,, and by Monday, Jan. 30.

‘Based on My Experience’: Transgressing the Barriers of Race, Gender, and Class in Higher Education with Black Feminist Pedagogy
Meeting Time: Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m. (Zoom)
Max Enrollment: 12
Facilitator: Tammy Owens, Assistant Professor, American Studies

Community Description:
Have you ever had an uncomfortable or awkward moment in the office, classroom, dining hall, library, or elsewhere on campus that you think may have been related to race, gender, and/or class? Do you struggle to be your full self for fear of enacting bias or possibly experiencing bias from others in the future? Do you want to find new ways to communicate with others in the workplace that are grounded in honest and thoughtful communication while also respecting each other’s differences? We deserve to work in environments in which the aforementioned questions are never relevant. However, higher education is filled with spaces that engender unequal power relations that are oftentimes unfairly associated with aspects of one’s identity (e.g., age, race, class, gender, level of education completed, etc.). To develop methods for better communication and self-actualization, participants will be active members of a community that uses Black Feminist Pedagogy (BFP). Barbara Omolade writes, “Black Feminist Pedagogy aims to develop a mindset of intellectual inclusion and expansion that stands in contradiction to the Western intellectual tradition of exclusivity and chauvinism.” BFP recognizes the importance of both drawing upon personal experiences and intentionally creating moments that encourage community members to be fully human within learning environments in which unequal power distributions are the norm. Hence, a small liberal arts college environment is ideal for one to learn and apply BFP in their work environments to transgress biases, move beyond microaggressions, and develop strategies for wellness.

Each week, participants will work together to learn how to use Black Feminist Pedagogy in their respective duties across campus. During the first couple of meetings, participants will work to build an engaged and reciprocal learning community according to the community guidelines that the group will create together. Each assignment will be tailored to the discipline, work area, or interests of the participants. A flipped classroom method will be utilized. Thus, all assignments will be completed during the meeting time. Meeting activities will consist of, but not be limited to, journaling, performances/monologues, open community discussions, small discussion sessions with partners, short readings, and reviewing media selections. Participants will explore published experiences of people who have dealt with myriad forms of bias in their educational communities. Participants will reflect on these stories and use BFP to create responses in which they will be able to intentionally offer support to colleagues and students who may experience similar biases. Participants will also be encouraged to create spaces in which they can both share their hard experiences on campus as well as commit to discovering their own strategies for wellness at Skidmore College.

To Apply: In 250 words, please detail the course/project you intend to revise or develop for the Racial Justice Teaching Challenge and how you see this learning community intersecting with those goals.

Please send your responses directly to by Monday, Jan. 30.

In closing, if you have any questions about the learning communities, please direct them to the facilitators associated with them. We look forward to sharing more opportunities to get involved in racial justice initiatives associated with this funding stream. As always, thank you for your continued support!

Beck Krefting, Professor in American Studies and Director of CLTL

Winston Grady-Willis, Professor and Director of Black Studies