Celebrating Indigenous Peoples

Native American statue

As we celebrate Native American Heritage Month, I want to share the following resources with the campus community. Let’s learn the different ways we can decolonize our institutions and communities.

Why Aren’t There More Native American Restaurants

When you think of North American cuisine, do Indigenous foods come to mind? Chef Sean Sherman serves up an essential history lesson that explains the absence of Native American culinary traditions across the continent.

The Intergenerational Wisdom Woven Into Indigenous Stories

The way we behave politically, socially, economically and ecologically isn’t working, says community organizer and activist Tai Simpson. Sharing the creation myth of her Nez Perce tribe, she advocates for a return to the “old ways” guided by Indigenous wisdom that emphasize balance, community and the importance of intergenerational storytelling in order to protect what’s sacred.

UCO Land Acknowledgement Website
This site contains resources and information to advance your understanding of Native cultures and how we can prevent their erasure.

What is Equity Mindedness?

A primary function of the Office of Inclusive Community is to promote the use of equity-mindedness throughout all facets of higher education and workplace policies, practices, procedures, curriculum, norms, etc. We want all of our faculty and staff to view their work through an equity-mindset in order to advance diversity and inclusion. So what is . . .  read more

March 18, 2021 – Remembering and Reflecting on the Tulsa Race Massacre

Black and White Picture of Former Black Wall Street

Guest Speaker: Dene Roseburr-Olotu, Director of Diversity & Inclusion
Date: March 18, 2021 | Time: 2-3 p.m.
Zoom ID: 985 5957 2092 | Passcode: 013615
Zoom Link: https://uco.zoom.us/j/98559572092?pwd=UC9lVGlQYmdzMTdnU1pkYkxkRFdqZz09

Please register in the Learning Center and complete a critical reflection within a week following the event if you wish to receive credit for the Continuous Cultural Competence initiative.

According to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, after World War I, Tulsa, Oklahoma – more specifically Greenwood, Tulsa – became nationally recognized for its thriving and affluent African American community (Greenwood). This prosperous community, including extremely successful business districts and residential areas, were known as Black Wall Street. However, on May 31, 1921 everything changed. The University of Central Oklahoma will commemorate the 100th year anniversary of what has become known as the Tulsa Race Massacre Monday, March 29th – Friday, April 2nd. In this session, as a lead up to the university’s commemoration week, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will explore the historical context of this event in greater detail.

Feb. 4, 2021 – Career Paths at UCO

Person standing on road at the top of an arrow painted on the pavement

Join the UCO Young Professionals as guest speaker David Herd, Director of Talent Acquisition and Compensation, talks through ways you can work with your supervisor to cross train, how development plans work, how you can review benchmark positions to get an idea of skills required for certain positions, and other tips for building your career.

Date: February 4, 2021
Time: 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Location: Please email Jakey Dobbs (jdobbs5@uco.edu) for the Zoom link and passcode

Transforming Students into Self-Directed Learners

I recently had the opportunity to read “Self-Directed Learning: A Guide for Students and Teachers”, by Malcolm Knowles. It was a quick and easy read that reminds us both as learners and instructors the need for learner-centered design. One of the best ways to encourage transformation in a learner is to put them at the center of their own learning. As a lifelong learner and a grad student, I find it most transformative when I am allowed a role in the learning that takes place in the classroom or online environment. I want a say in what is taught as well as the activities used during instruction. I am confident in my ability to direct my learning.

Knowles suggests in his book many practical tools to create an environment in which the learner is the focus. One of the tools is the learning contract, a negotiation between faculty and learner where the learner articulates their desired learning objectives, evidence of learning, and means of assessing that evidence. The faculty is there to guide the process and provide a framework in which the learner can develop learning objectives. Many courses call for learning objectives developed by the faculty to meet specific standards; this does not mean that some learning objectives cannot be contributed by the learner in addition to those faculty-set objectives.

“It is a tragic fact that most of us only know how to be taught; we haven’t learned how to learn” (Knowles, 1975, p 14).

Self-directed learning is a skill that all learners must acquire. With technology constantly changing and information rapidly increasing, the ability to direct one’s own learning must be a priority. An incoming freshman may not yet be ready to take on the role of self-directed learner, but you can teach them how. Faculty must first teach their learners how to learn, and then empower them with the tools necessary to become self-directed learners. As your learners become self-directed, they will transform into lifelong learners who maintain the capacity to stay relevant in an ever-changing world.

Try experimenting with a learning contract in one of your courses. Allow your learners to be part of deciding what and how they will learn. Below is a sample learning contract template you might wish to use.

For more resources on self-directed learning, join one of CETTL’s 21st Century Pedagogy Institute book discussion groups: “Creating Self-Regulated Learners: Strategies to Strengthen Students’ Self-Awareness and Learning Skills” by Linda B. Nilson, and “Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses” by L. Dee Fink. Check out the Pedagogy Institute calendar and sign up for one of these book discussion groups at: https://sites.uco.edu/academic-affairs/cettl/cettl-events/21CPI.asp



Knowles, M. S. (1975). Self-Directed learning: A guide for students and teachers. Chicago, IL: Follett Publishing Company.