Introducing Becca Ciancanelli, Director of Inclusive Teaching Practices
What drew you to DU and the OTL?
For 16 years, I taught chemistry in a multicultural academic community at CU Boulder. I offered small lecture sections of first-year courses to low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students. I learned to ground myself in equity-minded thinking, taking responsibility for providing a classroom space in which all students could thrive. As I was helping to launch the new Center for Teaching & Learning last year, a colleague of mine shared the OTL Inclusive Teaching Practices (ITP) website with me. The philosophy and wisdom behind the creation of the ITP modules resonated with me, and I reached out to the former ITP Director and Assessment Director to hear more about their work. I was inspired by the collaborative nature of the OTL team, and it sounded like they also had fun along the way! When the ITP Director position opened up last fall, I saw an opportunity to continue developing this deep and complex approach to inclusive teaching. I am enjoying the transition to the OTL team, which is truly fun and collaborative as promised! Though I grew up in Colorado, I haven’t explored Denver. Feel free to email me to share suggestions for coffee shops and restaurants nearby.
In your role, how can you support faculty in relation to their career growth and development? How can they connect with you?
I strive to be culturally responsive, and I recognize that developing those skills requires a lifelong journey of listening to student and faculty stories. Through 1:1 consultations, workshops, and faculty learning communities, faculty can count on me to listen deeply and help brainstorm creative inclusive teaching practices. Together, we will build trusting relationships and community spaces with students, where they feel empowered to bring their lived experience to their learning process and are encouraged to co-create knowledge with peers and faculty. We will explore ideas to increase transparency of expectations and expand access for all students to classroom materials and learning opportunities.
What do you like to do when you aren’t supporting inclusive teaching (i.e. for fun!)?
I am an avid baker! If you come to the Equity Workshops starting on March 14th, you can try my latest scone or muffin recipe. I was an exchange student in Italy many years ago, so I also enjoy sharing ideas about authentic Italian cooking. Music has always been in my life; I have performed in afro-pop bands for the last few years. I am currently learning how to play jazz piano, which is reminding me how we all procrastinate when it comes to practice. Lastly, I spend most of my non-working hours with my two kids, partner and sweet, mixed breed (and therefore mixed personality!) dog, Calliope.