Teaching and Learning for Liberation : Winter Roundtable 2022

Last updated: Wednesday 2/16/2022 @ 5:25am
Lead presenter: Dr. Katherine Lee
Co-presenters: Henry Fan, Jeff Anderson

This is a companion blog post for our talk Teaching and Learning for Liberation Through Community Building and Interdisciplinary Collaboration that our team gave on Friday 2/25/2022 from 11:00AM – 12:00PM EST as part of the Columbia University’s Teaching College 39th Annual Winter Roundtable Conference.

As is stated on the Winter Roundtable homepage, “the Winter Roundtable is the longest running continuing professional education program in the United States devoted solely to cultural issues in psychology, education, and social work.” This year’s Winter Roundtable conference is titled “Collective Action & Liberation in Psychology and Education, is a call to students, scholars, professionals, and activists to come together as we chart a path forward toward our collective liberation.”

In this blog post, we share all resources we generated for this talk as well as other resources that might be helpful for participants who want to return to these ideas after the talk ends. Enjoy.


How do we build interdisciplinary, collaborative learning spaces that center BIPOC students’ experiences and challenge dominant racial power structures? We will discuss how to use ethnic studies pedagogies to promote student empowerment, engagement, and community accountability. Participants will co-create a live document that can be used as an ongoing resource.

Presentation Documents

Below is the Google Document that all participants co-generated together during this presentation.

Teaching and Learning for Liberation Google Doc

Presentation Description

This roundtable orients participants to engage in writing and discourse about liberatory teaching and learning practices within the neoliberal university by centering collective learning, community building, and interdisciplinary collaboration (Fujino et al., 2018). Undergraduate education, particularly at large public colleges and universities, commonly features lecture-based instruction, high-stakes exams, and mandatory letter grades. The environments that result from these policy choices often foster competition among students and limit the ways students bring their complex lives and multidimensional learning experiences into their formal education. These approaches, particularly in STEM education, disproportionately impact BIPOC and first-generation college students, who, despite their ongoing and vested interest in higher education, often change majors (Whitcomb et al., 2021), drop out of college altogether, or internalize the deficit perceptions (Castro, 2014) that efficiency-based pedagogies promote about their ability to learn, belong, and thrive (Gutierrez, 2018; Rainey et al, 2019). 

Bringing together students-leaders, staff, faculty, researchers, and practitioners, we discuss pedagogical approaches in higher education that challenge these efficiency and deficit models by building collaborative spaces in classes that center the lives, experiences, interests, needs, stories, and visions of each student. The facilitators start our discussion by sharing how we incorporate ethnic studies pedagogies along with learning-centered frameworks into our work with students to create alternative educational experiences that promote student empowerment, civic engagement, and accountability to community. Among the questions we hope to discuss with participants include: 

  • How do these forms of collective learning and community building challenge dominant racial and power structures in education that disproportionately harm BIPOC college students? 
  • How might this work encourage interdisciplinary collaborations that better support BIPOC / first generation students and their educators?
  • What work do we need to do to shift our andragogies (as instructors), our forms of mentorship (as instructors and staff), and our approaches to learning (as students and instructors) to create collective learning spaces that reflect and support students’ interests and forms of knowledge production?
  • How do we position students to learn from and teach one another in order to recognize that collaboration and community solidarity is vital for addressing urgent issues in education and society?

All roundtable participants will co-create a live document as we engage in this dialogue and collective thinking. We provide a link to this document on an online support website for this roundtable discussion so that participants can return to this resource on an ongoing basis.


  1. Fujino, D.C., Gomez, J. D., Lezra, E., Lipsitz, G., Mitchell, J. & Fonseca, J. (2018). A transformative pedagogy for a decolonial world. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 40(2), 69-95. https://doi.org/10.1080/10714413.2018.1442080.
  2. Whitcomb, K.M., Cwik, S. & Singh, C. (2021). Underrepresented minority students receive lower grades and have higher rates of attrition across STEM disciplines: A sign of inequity? International Journal of Science education 43(7), 1054-1089. https://doi.org/10.1177/23328584211059823
  3. Castro, E.L. (2014). “Underprepared” and “at-risk”: Disrupting deficit discourses in undergraduate STEM recruitment and retention programming. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice 51(4), 407-419. https://doi.org/10.1515/jsarp-2014-0041
  4. Gutierrez, R. & Boston, M. (2018). Why we need to rehumanize mathematics. Annual Perspectives in Mathematics Education: Rehumanizing mathematics for students who are Black, Latinx, and Indigenous. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
  5. Rainey, K., Dancy, M., Mickelson, R., Stearns, E., & Moller, S. (2019). A descriptive study of race and gender differences in how instructional style and perceived professor care influence decisions to major in STEM. International Journal of STEM Education 6(6), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-019-0159-2
  6. Tintiangco-Cubales, A., Kohli, R., Sacramento, J. et al. Toward an Ethnic Studies Pedagogy: Implications for K-12 Schools from the Research. Urban Rev 47, 104–125 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-014-0280-y

Diversity Statement

Participants in this roundtable engage in discussions that challenge the dominant racial power structures in education and education andragogy that disproportionately harm BIPOC students, especially in STEM education. Participants will write and discuss methods for building collective and collaborative learning spaces in higher education that center the lives, stories, experiences, interests, and visions of BIPOC students. We uncover the conditions to teach with cultural capital at the forefront of the instruction, so that we may generate joy for ourselves and more of our students.  

Main Theme

Collective learning and community-building in higher education


  • interdisciplinary collaboration for joy and learning
  • student-led learning and teaching
  • shifting instructor andragogy, mentorship, and learning approaches
  • racial power structures in education

Learning Outcomes

  1. Participants will be able to reference a research-based, learner-centered definition of learning.
  2. Participants will be able to identify multiple dimensions of significant learning.
  3. Each participant will develop at least one action-oriented goal for a change they can make to their current practice(s) to support richer relationships, deeper dialogue, and enhanced collaboration.


Rate the following statement on a scale of do not agree to strongly agree:

  • Based on the contents of the roundtable, I am able to describe a research-based, learner-centered definition of learning.
  • Based on the contents of the roundtable, I am able to describe at least two dimensions of significant learning.
  • Based on the contents of the roundtable, I am able to develop and employ at least one action-oriented change I can make to my current practice(s) to support richer relationships, deeper dialogue, and enhanced collaboration between students. 

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