As the featured guest during Guttman’s Fall II Assessment Days, author of Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy and faculty at Georgia State University Dr. Gholdy Muhammad led an interactive workshop virtually for our instructional staff. Having presented the HILL Pedagogy – Histories, Identities, Literacies, Liberation – to the entire Guttman community in a previous virtual event, Dr. Muhammad’s session delved deeper into her framework’s overarching goals of Academic Success, Cultural Competence, and Sociopolitical Consciousness, which encompass the skill-building that students obtain and practice in class; their personal and social identities and backgrounds, in conversation with those of others; and the knowledge they gain from lived experiences outside of the classroom. In the workshop, Guttman faculty participated in revising an existing or new assignment according to the more granular criteria Dr. Mohammad has elaborated: advancing Identity, Skills, Intellect, Criticality, and Joy. The activity was designed for faculty to intentionally reflect on their higher-stakes written course assignments and directly incorporate effective, equitable, and affirming premises. This effort demonstrates and furthers the work of First-Year Experience (FYE) and English faculty to “decolonize” the curriculum, under the leadership of Assistant Professor of English and Area Coordinator for Writing Dr. Meghan Gilbert-Hickey and FYE Program Coordinator and Professor of English Dr. Dan Collins. The College’s institutional investment in student-centered, culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy, and best practices focused on equity is well-documented within the digital Center for Practice, Technology, and Innovation (CPTI).
Dr. Muhammad is Associate Professor of Language and Literacy at Georgia State University as well as Director of the GSU Urban Literacy Collaborative and Clinic. She strives to shape the national conversation on educating youth who have been underserved, working with teachers and young people across the United States and South Africa on best practices in culturally responsive instruction. Dr. Muhammad has also served as a school board president and continues to work collaboratively with local schools in the Atlanta area. She is the recipient of multiple awards from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and other established institutions, such as being named the 2018 University of Illinois at Chicago Researcher of the Year and awarded a $750,000 grant U.S. Department of Education grant to study culturally and historically responsive literacy in STEM classrooms. Her book, Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy, was released in 2020. Dr. Muhammad’s research interests are in the social and historical foundations of literacy development, writing practices among Black communities, and examining the ways that the roles of literacy can be reconceptualized in classrooms today. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Research in the Teaching of English, Urban Education, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, and Written Communication.