Perception on DEI

Doing my master's degree at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, was for me, a black man, challenging. I became aware of systematic racism and the challenges faced by a non -majority group. I often struggle to participate in group discussions because I am the only black person in the class. I felt intimidated, and more importantly, I thought that the instructors could do more to accommodate the diversity in the class population. As a result, I was determined to ensure that no one ever feels the same way while learning.

I have lived in 5 different countries and travelled to more than 21 countries across four continents. During those periods, I realized that humans are diverse; we learn differently. We have different cultures, religions, and beliefs, and sometimes our ability to assimilate and comprehend information differs. My experience with a diverse population also taught me the challenges and opportunities of managing a multiethnic classroom. Therefore, it is imperative to create a learning environment where everyone feels comfortable and welcomed.

My thinking about diversity has influenced my teaching and research in the past few years. I often employ teaching methods that focus on different learning styles that can accommodate different learning abilities. For example, I frequently used the "flipped" lectures approach while teaching at the University of Saskatchewan. I created weekly videos and self–paced materials through the university course management system to help working students or families.

When I was teaching in Nigeria, I introduced a cultural effect into the Engineering curriculum. We would study different tribes in Nigeria and how their background influenced their career choices, especially in Engineering. The underrepresented groups, especially the female students, we're encouraged to pursue an Engineering degree. At the beginning of each class, I would share pictures of notable female engineers and ask my students to state their achievements and contribution to society. This strategy improved the participation and engagement of female students in my class.

At the University of Saskatchewan, diversity and inclusive education are essential. The University has the mandate to provide high–quality education to all learners regardless of their race, sexual orientation, disability, or religious beliefs. Therefore, it was easy to incorporate diversity into my curriculum. I also participated in several workshops related to Indigenization and Indigenous. I am hoping to integrate the lesson from those workshops in my classroom. I believe that diversity is an integral part of academic excellence. Therefore I strive to understand the role it plays in the lives of my students.

During my Ph.D. studies, I was a member of campus groups focused on diversity, equity, climate, and inclusion in my four years. I facilitated several STEM-related workshops for under-served groups in Saskatoon. I organized the Let's Talk Science and Science Rendezvous with a record number of participants. More importantly, I created STEM programs that promote diversity in Science and Engineering among high school students.