Author, EdChange founder Paul Gorski visits UNC Pembroke

Pictured from left to right are Drs. Gerald Neal, Dana Unger, Camille Locklear Goins, Presenter Dr. Paul Gorski, Tiffany M. Locklear, Claudia Nickolson, Leslie A. Locklear, Jeffrey Warren, Gretchen Robinson, and Scott Hicks.

Dr. Paul Gorski, author and founder of the Equity Literacy Institute and EdChange, shared his viewpoints that frame the ideas of poverty during a visit to UNC Pembroke on May 6.

The pragmatic Gorski entitled the professional development after his book “Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap.”

The professional development workshop was held in the UC Annex. Nearly 100 UNCP faculty, staff and other educational leaders from across the service area attended.

Overall, Gorski’s workshop encouraged educators and administrators to engage each other in conversations about equity and justice. Workshop participants were encouraged to discuss and critically review the challenges and barriers that students experiencing poverty may face in the K-12 and university classroom.

Gorski shared various ways attendees could pursue equity by critically reviewing what was in their sphere of influence. Reflecting on their workshop experience, one participant stated, “This will re-focus my attention on how to create solutions within my ability and role as a future administrator by addressing issues that will help all students achieve without being humiliated.” While another participated noted “The conversations were organic and led to thought provoking and direct change methods.”

According to Dr. Camille Goins, “Gorski’s workshop was a great kick off for future campus professional development sessions for faculty and staff.”

Moreover, based on evaluation feedback, participants recommended the information be knitted into Braves Kickoff.

The vision and leadership of the UNCP Teaching and Learning Center (TLC’s) Shared Interest Group for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning along with the support of the Task Force on Teaching Excellence and Social Belonging for Student Success (SBSS), made Gorski’s visit to UNCP possible.

TLC’s mission is to promote the excellence of teaching by generating innovative ideas that foster quality teaching and learning. The purpose of the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning Shared Interest Group is to assess the cultural responsiveness of faculty in hopes of producing a program to increase culturally responsive teaching and learning to improve advising, mentoring and curricula for all UNCP students.

The vision of the cohort has the potential to bring forth positive transformations on the UNCP campus as it relates to understanding our diverse student population. UNCP is one of the most diverse institutions in the UNC system. The cohort is currently working on a study in an effort to continue promoting cultural awareness and developing faculty professional development positioned around serving diverse student needs.