UofL's Dr. Susan Longerbeam
UofL's Dr. Susan Longerbeam

College students at the University of Louisville reflect culturally diverse populations and bring with them differing worldviews, values and beliefs. Teaching and learning effectively across cultures can be challenging for faculty and students. Dr. Susan Longerbeam hopes to address this challenge through her research, scholarship, and practices with colleagues.

Longerbeam joined UofL as associate professor in Counseling and Human Development this fall. She brought with her a deep commitment to students and an interest in using research around culture to encourage student success.

For the past six years, Longerbeam has been working with Dr. Alicia Chávez of the University of New Mexico to explore the topic of teaching and learning across cultural strengths. The pair has published two books and numerous articles on the subject, and they will deliver the closing keynote presentation at the annual Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education conference in Louisville on November 13.

"Teaching Across Cultural Strengths," by Susan Longerbeam and Alicia Chavez.
“Teaching Across Cultural Strengths,” by Susan Longerbeam and Alicia Chavez.

“In higher education we’ve done a lot of work about students, but we have not often turned the lens back on ourselves. When we do that, what we discover is our own cultural origins influence how we teach and how students experience us,” said Longerbeam.

An interactive workshop exclusively for UofL faculty and staff will be held on November 14 from 2-4 p.m. The workshop, “Teaching and Learning Across Cultural Strengths,” will introduce a model of cultural frameworks in teaching and learning with many applications across disciplines.

Longerbeam and Chávez will share examples from their work to demonstrate how developing a greater understanding of cultural values, beliefs, assumptions and behaviors can impact student success.

“Our program helps faculty meet students in their own cultural norms,” Longerbeam explained. “It is more rewarding for us as faculty when we can reach students and support them in their success.”

Interested faculty can learn more about the workshop and register at the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning website.