In-Class Engagement and Trinity College Professors: The Student of Color Experience


Trinity College has provided students with various classroom experiences that have allowed them to excel in further understanding of the world. These courses have given students the chance to not only connect and engage with the material, but they’ve also been at the forefront for students to use this knowledge to transform the communities around them. However, this is not an experience that is always the same for students of color here at the college. Here at a predominantly-white institution (PWI), students of color live their day-to-day lives often one a few in their classes. They are in spaces that challenge the ways that their identity can be recognized and acknowledged in relation “to which college students of color feel like they belong to the community on their respective campuses” (Hussain and Jones 64). Classrooms aren’t just physical spaces, for they are spaces that are engrained in how people can learn within a community of supportive peers and educators; nevertheless, it must be considered just how much students of color can learn and engage in these spaces with professors who don’t truly grasp their perspective in connection to their identities. In this paper, I aim to learn more about this to answer the following questions: What are Trinity College students of color’s experiences with professors of various racial identities? How do they assert that their experiences are related to their descriptions of in-class engagement? In writing this paper, I interviewed eight Trinity College junior and senior students of color, asking questions geared toward learning more about their individual engagement in their classes and how their identity coincides with how they perceive the racial identities of their Trinity professors. This helped me to come to the argument that students of color at Trinity feel that while some White professors have strongly established inclusive classroom spaces and relationships with students of color, other White professors are negligent of their identity and how they’re creating an inclusive classroom space; this causes differing styles of in-class engagement for students of color. It’s also argued that these varying experiences are due to the content being taught and how professors of various racial identities uphold culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP)

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Last time updated on 24/01/2024

This paper was published in Trinity College.

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