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How Do We Respond?

As educators we are constantly confronted with opportunities to respond to questions that facilitate student learning, encourage colleagues in the expansion of intellectual inquiry, and provide administration opportunities to enhance academic operations. Yet how do we respond when students feel alienated by textbooks assigned as required course materials?

Recently students were offended and questioned why a textbook was selected as a course required text when physical assessment content was presented from a monist perspective, instead of culturally inclusive pluralistic perspectives. At that moment we were given an opportunity to respond to their questions. We could placate their comments, rationalize the author’s intent, or take action. At the School of Nursing we choose to take action.

During the next four months a letter to the editor of the text was drafted, revised, revised, and revised. Once the letter was finalized those in position of authority within the School of Nursing signed it. Our next action was to provide faculty and students the opportunity to voluntarily support the letter with their signatures. We also provided the group of students who raised the issue frequent updates regarding our response to their concerns. By the end of October 2008 the letter was mailed to the editor of the text, and prior to the end of the semester the editor responded favorably to our suggestions.

This experience has provided the School of Nursing community opportunities to dialogue about exclusion through textbooks, selection of texts, curriculum and teaching strategies that are inclusive, and becomes part of our journey for creating an inclusive environment.

Sally Ellis Fletcher, MSN, NP
School of Nursing

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