Learn at Lunch

Held monthly during the academic year, the Learn at Lunch series presents informal seminars on a variety of topics related to inclusion, social justice, and equity. Everyone is welcome to bring their lunch and join the conversation. #InclusiveMSU

The series is sponsored in collaboration with the Academic Advancement Network, the Associate Provost’s Office of Undergraduate Education, the Graduate School, and MSU Libraries. The sessions bring important topics related to inclusive teaching to the campus community, with a focus on presenting best practices and fostering dialogue in an effort to build inclusive communities.

Upcoming Seminars 

Groups and Teams in the Classroom: Maintaining an Inclusive Learning Environment

March 15, 2018
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Main Library, Green Room, Fourth Floor West 

Group and team projects are an important part of students’ growth and development in college. By learning to work with other people, they are practicing skills they need to be effective members of intercultural societies and organizations. Although many instructors use some form of collaborative learning in their classrooms, all instructors can be more proactive in creating, monitoring, and assessing the group process with inclusion, effective citizenship, and cultural understanding in mind. This session will discuss best practices for forming and using groups, managing interpersonal issues within the group, and assessing students’ learning experiences in the group.

Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Assoc. Dean, Research & Faculty Development, Professor, Lyman Briggs College
Adele Denison, Associate Professor, Department of Physiology
Kathleen Hoag, Associate Professor, Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program
Dustin Petty, Academic Advisor, Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program
Jennifer Rivera, Assistant Professor, RCAH and Director, Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program 

Equity and Learning While Abroad: Being Mindful of the Local-Global Dynamics

April 19, 2018
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Main Library, Green Room, Fourth Floor West 

Global and intercultural learning is an essential component of education abroad; however, educators must also attend to intragroup diversity. Creating an inclusive study abroad program is more than having a diverse group of participants; it is about ensuring that the program environment provides all students with equitable learning outcomes. This session will use a case study approach to foster discussion about how inclusion and inclusive teaching interface with education abroad before, during, and after travel.

James M. Lucas, Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
Christine Trinidad, Education Abroad
Eduardo Olivo, Residence Education and Housing Services


Past Seminars

Building Inclusive Classroom Communities: Religion and Political Ideology as Protected Statuses

January 18, 2018
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Main Library, Green Room, Fourth Floor West  

The classroom should be a place that welcomes individuals from all backgrounds, and a place in which students, faculty, and staff can engage in deep, scholarly dialogues about essential questions, grand challenges, and contemporary issues. As instructors seek to foster such environments, the plurality of voices can sometimes lead to conflict and misunderstanding. At times, instructors may question if a comment represents freedom of expression and/or might create a sense of vulnerability amongst some students. This session will provide policy, best practice, and techniques for engaging all students in safe, inclusive classroom communities and conversations.

Being an Ally When You're in the Majority

February 24, 2017
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Akers Hall, Room 133

Moderator: Nicole Namy, Office of International Students and Scholars


  • Jeanne Gazel, Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience (MRULE-ICA)
  • Tome Jeitschko, Department of Economics
  • Naoko Wake, Lyman Briggs College and Department of History

Participants will hear a range of perspectives and experiences from faculty who consistently advocate for those across the margins of difference in their personal and professional lives. They will also have the opportunity to discuss ways in which they can become more active and intentional advocates themselves.

Academic Freedom v Ideology in the Classroom

February 3, 2017
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Erickson Hall, Room 222

Moderator: Eric Freedman, School of Journalism


  • Joe Darden, Geography
  • Amy Derogatis, Religious Studies
  • Jenifer Fenton, Food Science and Human Nutrition

Panelists will provide a range of perspectives on teaching and discussing controversial topics in the classroom, as these relate to faculty vulnerability and the potential for curriculum to become politicized (or viewed as such). Where is the line between academic freedom and ideology? Is there a line? Does that line move? Is it expected to move? Participants will have the opportunity to engage in this timely discussion. 

Facilitating Difficult Dialogues

October 13, 2016
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Natural Sciences, Room 304

Moderator: Jessica Garcia, Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives and Department of Sociology


  • Austin Dorell Jackson, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities
  • Gerald Urquhart, Lyman Briggs College and Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Participants will learn effective strategies for facilitating difficult dialogues on current social and cultural issues in the classroom (e.g. climate change, stem cell research, politics, and racism). Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss ongoing issues in the classroom related to this topic and problem-solve with colleagues.