The components of the application that I find most interesting to approach are the “applicants ability to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds” and “the applicants likelihood of using the diversity of the human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship.” As a student of history, exploring the nuances of the human experience is essentially a part of my job description. Additionally, my time as high school special education teacher in an inner-city community in Charlotte, North Carolina, taught me the importance of differentiation to meet the needs of specific student populations. However, with no collegiate teaching experience, I am interested to know what differentiated instruction looks like at the university level.
Also, considering this week’s prompt, I am interested in knowing what these application components would look like for PhD students in the sciences. If I were reading the file of a student of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, etc., I would be curious to know how the diversity of the human experience fits in with the work that they are doing. As a non-expert with (very) limited knowledge of the sciences, I would certainly want to get an understanding of the project, but it seems equally important to know how the applicant has and will engage underrepresented populations through the scholarship. Considering these components, I would look for examples of differentiated pedagogical practices for students of diverse backgrounds, investment in summer STEM programs for rising freshman students from underrepresented populations, and (or) commitment to the retention of students from underrepresented populations through mentoring and academic programming. While many applicants will have limited teaching experience, explaining prior involvement in such programs or the value of such programs to the academy as a whole may be useful in showing how your goals fit the funder’s mission.