Arcadia’s LOVE Pilot Program Launches

October 28, 2020 Caitlin Burns

Over 50 faculty, staff, and students gathered on Oct. 9 to launch the newest Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring (CTLM) project: Living Our Values Experience (LOVE) Pilot Program.

The LOVE Pilot Program will serve as a much-needed space for Arcadia students to explore issues of identity, racism, and systemic discrimination, and to examine their own role within society as change agents. The program is built upon the learning goals of the Pluralism course (a requirement in the curriculum pre-dating AUC), the current Global Connections and Crossing Boundaries aspects of the AUC Curriculum, and emerging tenets of JEDI work in the context of anti-black racism initiatives on campus. The hope is that this work will address anti-racism on campus and in the wider community for students, staff, and faculty and provide opportunities to develop future curricular initiatives on campus. 

“There’s so much going on at the University, and this is the cornerstone of the curriculum,” said Dr. Jeff Rutenbeck, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “This is a big moment of breaking new ground at Arcadia. What you do here will change the face of the University.”

Led by Faculty Director for CTLM and Professor of Education Dr. Ellen Skilton and CTLM Graduate Student Fellow and International Peace and Conflict Resolution graduate student Monica Anna Day ’20M, the program engages in critical conversation about the lived values and culture of a University community that is unafraid to look at racist ideas and practices, and how to acquire tools for dismantling a system built on injustice.

Following the introduction from Dr. Rutenbeck and Dr. Skilton, two performances were held during the launch: one from Stephen Tyson ’13, adjunct professor of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies and performing artist, and English major Daijah Patton ’22. Tyson, who performs under the name Ellect, shared a spoken word performance called “Black Lives Matter,” while Patton performed “Until We Meet Again,” which were both written in response to their own lived experiences.

“I’m free to have my voice,” said Tyson in the performance. “I’m going to move the crowd.”

Members met with their affinity group facilitation teams of three—made up of two faculty/staff members and one student—to introduce themselves and decide on a meeting schedule. These facilitating teams will meet with small groups of graduate and undergraduate students throughout the fall semester to address the dynamics of personal, interpersonal, institutional, and societal change with an emphasis on engagement on campus and in the world as anti-racists using the Teach-in topics as catalysts for conversations, as well as promote experiential learning. This semester, there are eight affinity groups organized according to students’ racial identities. In the spring semester, groups will be reconfigured as mixed-race groups with an emphasis on planning for specific anti-racist actions on and off campus. 

The LOVE Pilot Program is hosting three Teach-In events this semester that are open to the whole campus community:

  • Thursday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.: “An Arcadia Call to Action: How can we be better anti-racists?” will follow-up to Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s Common Read event will feature Dr. Doreen Loury, director of Pan-African Studies and assistant professor of Sociology; Jessie Guinn, assistant dean of STEM at The College of Global Studies; and Dr. Jennifer Riggan, professor of Historical and Political Studies.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.: “Bias/Microaggressions/Racial Abuse: How can we do better/heal?” with speakers Dr. Favian Guertin-Martin, associate professor of Criminal Justice and director of the Criminal Justice Program; Lauren Reid, assistant professor of Counseling; and Dr. Prash Naidu, assistant professor of Historical and Political Studies.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 2: “Working for Racial Justice at Arcadia: What are we doing; what more can we do?” will feature student members of CTLM/Just Act Ensemble.

For more information on the LOVE Pilot Program, contact LOVEpilot@arcadia.edu.

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