Tag Archives: guest speaker

Unconcious mind affects behavior, holds on to stereotypes

Jean Moule, a professor from Oregon State University, delivers her “Understanding Unconscious Bias and Unintentional Racism” lecture at Linfield, concluding that past stereotypes have engrained temdencies in our unconcious minds that are difficult to get rid of. Kate Straube/Photo editor

In today’s society, most people deny being racist. However, many of us may hold on to stereotypes in our unconsciousness, according to research done by Jean Moule Ph.D., an Oregon State University professor.

Moule, who works in the College of Education at OSU, is the author of “Cultural Competence: A Primer for Educators,” a book that informs teachers on how to educate students from all backgrounds.

She doesn’t want people to hide the cultural biases and stereotypes they hold, but rather to recognize the problem and take steps against their own racist thoughts.

In her March 13 lecture titled “Understanding Unconscious Bias and Unintentional Racism,” Moule taught her audience that while many would believe otherwise, the stereotypes and biases we hear as a member of society affect us, if not consciously than unconsciously.

“Hearing her perspective, it’s interesting that we can feel like we are not biased,” said Diane Allen, a visiting professor from the education department.

Allen plans to use the information she has gathered from Moule’s lecture and book in educating her student-teachers.

“It may become a requirement for a person in any job to be culturally competent,” Allen said.

According to Moule, if a person starts his or her sentence with, “I’m not a racist, but…,” then the rest of the person’s sentence is going to be racist.

“If you hear someone say that, listen real closely,” Moule said.

This is a perfect example of what Moule is trying to prevent: people saying and acting racist without realizing that they are.

Moule claims that she would prefer to work with someone who knows that they have race issues, rather than with an unconscious racist.

“At least you know where they stand,” Moule said.

For those who hold on to cultural biases, the first step is to recognize the problem. The next step is to be a learner and to be curious about other cultures. Then, take steps against one’s own thoughts. Don’t let racist thoughts influence one’s behavior.

Her final piece of advice was to listen when someone brings up race as an issue.

“Oregon is a very white state,” Allen said. “Your background hasn’t prepared you, as much as you’d like to think that you’re open and liberal.”

Moule believes that instead of focusing on treating everybody the same, we need to focus on learning to accept everyone’s differences.

“We should celebrate [cultural] differences and not try to deny that there are differences,” Allen said.

Moule graduated with a degree in art with a minor in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. She moved to Oregon, earning her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of Oregon.

Moule then earned her doctorate in education.

Meghan O’Rourke/
Opinion editor
Meghan O’Rourke can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

Speaker prepares students for future

George D. Kuh, a guest speaker from Indiana University shares a glass of wine while talking to others at the reception following his lecture. He presented a speech on the importance of preparation Sept. 19 in Ice Auditorium. Joel Ray/Photo editor

A guest speaker from Indiana University asked faculty, “What does Linfield want to be known for?” He spoke to faculty members about the importance of student engagement and preparation Monday Sept. 19 in Ice Auditorium.

George D. Kuh began his lecture by discussing the competitiveness of the job market today and what employers are seeking. He said that more than one-third of the U.S. workforce changes jobs annually, and the average worker will have had 10-14 jobs by the age of 38. Employers aren’t just looking for education; they want more. They want an individual who works more effectively with others and has more capacity, he said.

“What we hear from employers is not that they want to know what classes you took. They just want to know how you explain yourself and what you can do,” Kuh said.

Students wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the importance of getting an education. However, he stressed that there is more to an education.

“It’s not about who they are when they start here, but what they do after,” he said.

Kuh’s main point of the evening was that engagement is everything. Institutions should focus on ways to help an individual develop academically and interpersonally. Kuh said engagement goes hand in hand with grades, persistence, satisfaction and desired outcomes. If students are engaged, they’re more likely to stay and finish, he said. Engagement increases the lessons learned in class. Students who are exposed to the world and engaged with peers are most successful.

“It takes a whole campus to educate a student,” Kuh said.

Kuh said in order for Linfield to be more successful in engaging its students, all students should participate in high-impact experiences.

Study abroad programs, internships and service learning courses are all key to a college experience, creating better interactions, exposure to diversity and discovery of relevance through real world experiences.

Kuh said faculty should encourage debates and simulations in class. Professors should teach students how to “reflect on experiences, integrate and see connections and apply all the skills in a real world setting,” he said.

The faculty listened and laughed as Kuh kept the lecture light and interesting. His advice seemed to be taken seriously as faculty considered what they want Linfield to be known for.

“I got a sense that this is a do-able project. Strategic planning for this is possible,” Lex Runciman, professor of English, said.

Despite that the lecture was for faculty, Kuh had some advice for students as well.

“This isn’t a dress rehearsal; you only get to do this one time. You’re only going to get out of this experience what you put into it,” he said. “You’re probably going to learn as much from your peers, working with them, living with them, talking with them as you do from your professors. The habits that you cultivate here are going to be really, really huge in your life. Having said all that, this is going to be the best time of your life. Work hard, and play a little less hard than you work.”

Kelsey Sutton/Copy chief
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.