A Catholic college in Pennsylvania is sharply defining its mission.
Villanova University has issued a new guide for faculty and staff, and the instruction includes a section on gender inclusion.
The directive notes a recent major change:
Beginning in Spring, 2022, Villanova made it possible for all faculty, staff, and students to enter chosen first name and personal pronouns into [the administrative system]. Chosen first name and personal pronoun will now appear on class lists and other university communications.
Moving on to moral management:
This guide introduces Villanova faculty and staff to best practices for being gender-inclusive in our work spaces, laboratories, and classrooms — especially for those who identify within transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, and/or gender-questioning communities.
The handbook hopes to address important questions:
- How can we cultivate gender-inclusive teaching and work environments?
- How can we invite full participation from people of all genders and respond to the harmful effects of gender stereotyping or misgendering?
We’ve reached an unprecedented place in society. Until very recently, no one had a “gender.” There was sex, and that was all; how one presented or perceived oneself was category-free. But suddenly, all of society seems to have voted: There shall now be an extra column of identity.
It would be as if everyone was told they must choose a geometric shape: Are you a dodecahedron? If you’re a rhombus, let us know. All triangles should make it clear whether they’re scalene, equilateral, or isosceles.
Instead, we’ve been given “gender.” And Villanova’s ready to adapt.
Staff, state your shapes:
Normalize an inclusive approach to gender by modeling one yourself.
Be intentional about how you introduce yourself and address others. This includes using gender-inclusive language like “everyone,” “people,” or “folks” rather than gender binary language like “ladies and gentlemen.” It’s also helpful to model using people’s pronouns and to state your own pronouns when you introduce yourself, including in your syllabus and email signature.
Employees are also told to “add a Gender Inclusion statement to [any] syllabus or new employee orientation materials.”
Consider a syllabus statement that provides students with a definition of gender inclusivity and guidance on the use of pronouns and non-sexist language in the classroom. If possible, take the time to explain your reasons for incorporating gender-inclusive strategies into your teaching.
In Villanova’s view, the new category is critically academic:
Gender inclusivity is crucial within our diversity mission to “commit ourselves to cultivating an academic environment marked by genuine curiosity about different perspectives, ardent receptivity to knowledge generated through intercultural connections and a genuine sensitivity to the variety of human experiences marked by domestic and global differences.”
It’s an especially curious evolution for a religious school. But faith is fervently finding its way to wokeness:
What’s the general aim of a modern Catholic college? Villanova makes one vital element clear:
Remind yourself and others that gender inclusivity is fundamental to Villanova’s mission.
Given that fact, perhaps the school will update its science and history departments:
Scientific American: The Racist Myth of Binary Sex Wasn’t Invented ‘Til Nearly 1800https://t.co/p7Wd4yHSBO
— Alex Parker (@alexparker1984) August 28, 2022
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