The mission of EPIC Inclusive Gatherings is to provide an open space for educators to learn about issues of inclusivity and their related best pedagogical practices.
Jimena N. Rodríguez is an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, whose interest in inclusive classrooms stems from her efforts to continue expanding her pedagogical and educational toolset with the purpose of abolishing any kind of biases educators might unconsciously possess regarding notions of undocumented students, gender, immigration, etc. Jimena is devoted to empowering first-generation students by providing them with the confidence needed to solidify their own sense of belonging to all spaces of their society. She is also one of the Faculty Advisors of 1st Gen Latinx Community, a student organization that gathers Latinx first generation undergraduates from all disciplines and backgrounds. She teaches graduate seminars as well as undergraduate classes in her own research area: Latin-American colonial text, particularly Sixteen and Seventeenth Century Chronicles; Narratives of Exploration; Sea Travel Narratives; and Colonial Studies. She won the Lya Kostakowsky Hispanic American Essay Award and was a Nominee for the UCLA Chancellor’s Awards for Postdoctoral Research. She has co-edited four volumes of collected essays in Colonial Literature and Culture and published Conexiones Trasatlánticas: Viajes medievales y crónicas de la Conquista en América in 2010 and Escribir desde el océano. La navegación de Hernando de Alarcón y otras retóricas del andar por el Nuevo Mundo in 2018.
Dr. Carla Suhr focuses her academic work on the interaction between culture, language, and cognition as a way to improve cross-cultural communication. She has worked in the field of Spanish linguistics and experiential learning for the past 14 years at organizations such as Universidad Complutense de Madrid and University of New Haven. She currently teaches Spanish and Service-learning in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UCLA, from which she emphasizes the positive learning outcomes attained from connecting students with the community. Her teaching aims at helping each student reach their highest potential by using an inclusive pedagogy. To her, inclusivity in the classrooms is only possible when we embrace diversity and we create a thriving teaching-learning environment fostered and powered by the individual color that educators and their students bring into the classroom. The scope of her research examines the many categories that shape our identity in specific linguistic communities and the conceptualization processes that occur in the formation of meaning. Her most recent article on the topic is Language and Cognition in the Construction of Emotive Stereotypes.
Stephen “Kip” Tobin
Stephen Tobin is an Assistant Adjunct Professor at UCLA whose interest in inclusive classrooms stems from wanting to reach all students in all classes he teaches, without exception. He constantly strives to improve deeper learning by widening participation to include every student in every class, enhancing the diversity of thought and perspectives that circulate, and promoting empathy in others. His ultimate goal is to help shape strong, critical-thinking citizens that put forth well-reasoned, evidence-based arguments. He teaches Spanish conversation and composition to non-native students and heritage speakers, as well as courses in his own research area: Mexican fantastic and science fiction cultural production. He has taught courses on science fiction and posthumanism at UCLA, such as the survey course Spanish American Science Fiction and Posthumanism from the Periphery: Robots, Cyborgs and Clones in Latin American Culture. He is currently working on the manuscript to his first book, Specular Fictions: Vision, Technology and Subjectivity from Mexican Science Fiction 1993-2008, which argues that science fiction literature has become a unique discursive space through which authors critique contemporary visual regimes within Mexico.
Maite Zubiaurre (mentor)
Maite Zubiaurre has a degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She is Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Humanities Division, and Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Department of Germanic Languages. Her scholarly interests and publications are in the fields of cultural studies, urban studies, and gender studies. Maite Zubiaurre is also a visual artist, and signs her collages and tile art as “Filomena Cruz.”