Profile photo of Gregory O'Dea, Ph.D.
Gregory O'Dea, Ph.D.
The Importance of Diversity in the Curriculum
UC Foundation Professor of English, UTC
Dr. Gregory O'Dea is UC Foundation Professor of English, specializing in British literature and postcolonial studies. He is also Co-Director and Scholar in Residence for medical humanities programs sponsored by the American College of Physicians. Dr. O'Dea has been named Outstanding Professor by UTC's Student Government Association, University Outstanding Advisor, and Outstanding Teacher by The University of Tennessee national Alumni Association. The Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Physicians honored him with the Clifton R. Cleveland medical Humanities Award for outstanding contributions to humanism in medicine, and the national organization of the ACP has named him the Nicholas E. Davies Scholar for his outstanding scholarly activities in history, literature, philosophy, ethics, and contributions to humanism in medicine.

The Importance of Diversity in the Curriculum (Co-Presented with Dr. Linda Frost)

More and more institutions of higher education are developing general education requirements and models that include, if not feature, diversity as one of their primary categories. Certainly one of the goals of general education is to institute a sense of citizenship and community responsibility in each student that will positively influence them well beyond graduation; indeed, research has demonstrated the positive effect on students of incorporating intercultural sensitivity and diversity engagement as part of general education. This session will first and foremost argue that if we want to meet our universities’ strategic goals of embracing diversity or inclusion, then we must bring these concepts and practices into our university-wide undergraduate classrooms; moreover, these should be required core courses for all undergraduates. But how best can we do this? If these are discrete courses, what should they look like? How do we define what meets a “diversity” or “inclusion” general education requirement and what doesn’t? What outcomes are we trying to achieve when we make diversity a requirement? What outcomes should we be trying to achieve? Utilizing our audience’s own experiences and understandings as well as sample activities, we will work to articulate and reconsider where and how to include inclusion in our general education curricula.