CETL launches student panel series



The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning will host the first panel of a new series called "What Your Students Want You to Know" at noon on Thursday, Nov. 21 in the Center for Multicultural Education.


In conjunction with Native American Heritage Month, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) will inaugurate a series of panel discussions with some of UNI’s Native American students next week. The event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Center for Multicultural Education. 

The panel will be comprised of Indigenous students Arianna Sprague, Trisha Etringer, Samantha Habinck, Tyra Wanatee and Jennifer LeGarde. Questions will be moderated by Angela Waseskuk from UNI’s Department of Art.

This event is the first in the series, “What Your Students Want You to Know,” which will feature different groups of underrepresented student panelists throughout the year. 

According to Jonathan Chenoweth, interim director of CETL, the inspiration to create these panels came from a professional development conference he attended last summer in North Carolina. Several institutions shared that they had been able to allow groups of minority students to speak directly to faculty about their personal experiences.

At UNI, the purpose of these panels is to allow faculty to hear from students directly regarding the issues of diversity, discrimination and inclusivity. Esther Vuong, graduate assistant with CETL, said they aim to “get faculty members who usually don’t come to events to come.”

While their main purpose is to get faculty involved in hearing voices from underrepresented groups of students, the panel discussions will be open to anyone wanting to listen, including community members and students.

Vuong is currently working to develop questions with the first panel that will be delivered by the moderator.

“We want to make sure, first and foremost, that panelists are able to speak to the things that matter most to them,” Vuong said.

The panel series launches soon after UNI’s Racial and Ethnic Coalition (REC) set in motion the social media movement, #UNIisnotanAlly, in response to UNI administration and senior leadership’s failure to prioritize minority issues. 

“We have been asked if this has anything to do with #UNIisnotanAlly,” Chenoweth said. “I think it doesn’t in the sense that it wasn’t a reaction to the movement, but it does in the sense that [I think] the experiences of many underrepresented groups on campus are common experiences.” 

“It is important that we’re hearing them,” he continued, “not just in moments of crisis, but as a part of our community building, from day to day, in the classroom and out.”

In light of Native American Heritage Month, CETL wanted the first panel to feature Indigenous students at UNI to complement other events happening throughout the month. One of the panelists, Trisha Etringer, will also be involved in a Native American dance performance at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the Maucker Union Ballroom A.

The first discussion in the series will take place next Thursday at noon.

“Feel free to grab some lunch and come up,” Chenoweth said. “Don’t feel shy about eating during the panel.”