August 19, 2020

Inclusiveness in Our Classrooms

Room: WIDT 007


We will present our changes in response to the current times of accelerated change and the varying impacts on our diverse students. Increased technology has opened options to expand the worldview presented in our classrooms by Zooming with Indigenous scholars, South African desert botanists, and transgendered professors. A recognition that the community will be healthier when sick students stay home has resulted in increased flexibility with attendance and assignment due dates. We embrace extended assignment dates, modifying due dates, recording classes, and allowing for dropped assignments. We meet our students where they are as members of their culture, humans in their community, parents, caregivers, employees and help them in juggling the multitudes of complexities in their lives There is still a need for understanding of various cultural traditions and not knowing the details of family emergencies including the predictability of the event or ceremony. We intentionality use Indigenous place names, diverse textbook authors, and discuss multiple worldviews when introducing concepts. Our labs have been modified for increased engagement for students navigating disparate cultural and educational expectations. We seek suggestions of methods for balance and productive acknowledgement of atrocities and repatriation actions of Land Grant Universities on marginalized identities. We will analyze methods to increase flexibility without decreasing rigor in our classrooms to be inclusive to our diverse student populations and incorporate cultural awareness. Our collaboration developed through an ETE Learning Circle.

*Participants will develop knowledge and tools for embracing diverse worldviews and students in their classrooms. 

Lisa GabbertSpencer Spotted Elk

Professional Practice Instructor - Medical Lab Technician

Spencer was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Navitt and Maxcene Spotted Elk. Spencer is the 6th child of 6. Spencer family comes from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe Located in Lame Deer Montana. Spencer grew up in Blanding, Utah where his dad taught on the Navajo Nation, his dad wanting to give back to the Native American People. Spencer was married in 2007 to Michelle Diane Keith and has 4 kids, 3 boys and 1 girl. Spencer and Michelle actively participate in Native American Lore. Wanting their kids to know what it means to come from the Chief's society. as well as what it means to be Navajo. Spencer is an active member of the American Society for Clinical Pathology and currently helps at the local hospital due to the shortage in the area.

Sunshine Brosi

Lisa Gabbert

Associate Professor

Sunshine is from rural Eastern Kentucky and is the middle child in a family of seven. She is particularly interested in STEM education and increasing diversity within natural resource fields. She has a passion for increasing educational opportunities for students often left behind due to their backgrounds and access to technology in rural locations.

Marilyn Cuch

Lisa Gabbert

Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Secondary Education

Marilyn Cuch is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership. Marilyn is located at the USU-Uintah Basin Campus in Roosevelt. Her teaching and academic interests focus on secondary science education, curriculum development and instruction, culturally relevant teacher preparation, and Indigenous Leadership in Higher Education. Marilyn is a member of the Hunkpapa Lakota, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, of North and South Dakota.

Gustavo Ovando-Montejo

Lisa Gabbert

Assistant Professor - Environmental Science

Gustavo Ovando-Montejo is an Assistant Professor at the USU Blanding campus where he teaches in environmental studies and geography. He has experience implementing innovative and engaging teaching approaches especially for online courses. He also has a specific emphasis mentoring students with tribal backgrounds as well as implementing outreach opportunities for local Tribes. An expert in Geographic Information Systems, his research is in human-environmental systems with an additional focus on land use issues affecting Indigenous rights and ecosystem services and mentors students from the Navajo Nation.


Julie Stevens

Lisa Gabbert

Clinical Assistant Professor

Julie Stevens, MSW, LCSW, is a clinical assistant professor for the Social Work department in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Following my MSW I worked in clinical practice in Millard County, UT for nearly 4 years. I worked with individuals, families, and groups in therapy to address mental health and addiction concerns. One of my specialties is working with children from a neuroscience perspective. I participated on a committee to implement Utah’sIntergenerational Poverty Initiative for Millard County. I also worked with crisis intervention for the 6-county area in the Emergency Rooms. I joined the faculty at USU in 2022 for the Ephraim Campus. Undergraduate courses taught: Intro to Social Work and Field Practicum.