Instructors' Role in Fostering a More Inclusive Learning Environment

Dr. Soledad Garcia-King

Dr. Soledad Garcia-King is a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Colombia as a Secondary English Teacher Trainer. Before joining the Peace Corps, she was Director of Teaching and Learning Center at the University of New Mexico Valencia Campus. She had also taught Spanish and Heritage Spanish in higher education and was a bilingual teacher in primary education. Diversity, social justice and multicultural education is her passion and the focus of her teaching.

Professor Heather Sweetser

Professor Heather Sweetser is the 2022 Language Teacher of the Year, American Council on Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, she joined the Army in 1998 and learned Arabic at the Defense Language Institute, becoming an Arabic interpreter. Experiences with languages in the U.S. Government inspired her to become a language instructor focusing on intercultural competence as a core part of language fluency. Heather received her M.A. in Arabic at Ohio State in 2012. She currently teaches beginning through advanced Arabic at The University of New Mexico, and is one of the co-creators of the website.

Dr. Amir Hedayati

Dr. Amir Hedayati is Assistant Professor at the Organization, Information & Learning Sciences at the University of New Mexico. His research seeks to answer the question of how we can improve ethical decision-making among professionals through understanding their ethical judgment processes. He is also interested in how we can cultivate educational environments to develop professionals who are inclusive in their practice. Hedayati received his Ph.D. in Human Resource Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At UNM, he teaches multiple courses, including Program Evaluation, Ethics and Diversity Training in the Workplace, and Theory and Practice of Organizational Learning.

Dr. Julia Wai-Yin So

Dr. Julia Wai-Yin So is Associate Professor of Sociology at UNM-Valencia Campus and a consultant on diversity & inclusion strategies. A native of Hong Kong, she lived in Japan and Ecuador before migrating to the U.S. in 1980. Prior to joining UNM-Valencia, Julia was Director of Rising Star Scholarship--a nationally recognized $30-million privately funded scholarship program—at the Dallas College in Texas. Julia graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Arlington and received her Ph.D. in Public Policy and Political Economy from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her accolades include the 2006 National Institutional Excellence Award from the National Organization of Chinese-Americans, a 2007 Distinguished Alumna of the Tarrant County College, and Teacher of the Year at UNM-Valencia Campus in 2018.