Kelly Sassi gave a presentation, titled “Walking the Talk: An Interactive Seminar on the Privilege Walk,” for the NDSU Noyce Scholars Program.
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, first authorized under the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 and reauthorized in 2007 under the America COMPETES Act, is a response to the critical need for K-12 teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by encouraging talented STEM students and professionals to pursue teaching careers in elementary and secondary schools.
The program provides funding to institutions of higher education to provide scholarships, stipends and programmatic support to recruit and prepare STEM majors and professionals to become K-12 teachers. Scholarship and stipend recipients are required to complete two years of teaching in a high-need school district for each year of support.
Sassi's presentation was based on an article she published in the July 2008 English Journal based on her dissertation research on pedagogical approaches to Native American/American Indian literatures. In the article, Ebony Thomas, the teacher in Sassi's study, uses a classroom activity called a privilege walk to help her white students understand their white privilege and to highlight the disparities in the classroom. As part of her talk, Sassi involved the Noyce scholars in participating in this activity.
Sassi also presented a paper titled, "The Joint Appointment in English and Education: Deliberately Choosing the Productivity of Liminal Spaces," as part of a panel on liminal spaces with Amy Rupiper-Taggart, assistant professor of English, and graduate students Rebecca Mellem and Katie Gunter at the annual Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference at Michigan State University in Lansing.