Online liberal arts summer course on bias starts May 13

April 25, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Students at any Penn State campus interested in the ways in which bias impedes relationships, work culture, and equity within institutions and across U.S. society can register for a special-topics course this summer, titled LA 197 Interrogating Bias. This three-credit, fully online course will provide students with an opportunity to closely examine bias in themselves, others and society, through reflective journaling and listening to podcasts featuring experts on topics such as school segregation, weight bias, and perceptions about aging.

Shannon Telenko, the course author and instructor, developed the course in consultation with several constituents in the College of the Liberal Arts and in particular the Office of Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship.

“Inclusion is a top priority for the college,” said Kevin Conaway, director of the Office of Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship. “We want all students to not only feel safe but feel welcome in the Penn State community. Dr. Telenko is using mindfulness tools through interactive and engaging course design, meeting students at the places where they consume information — podcasts and social media.”

“It’s one thing to say that we all have bias as humans — which we do — and another to then say, ‘I’m going to do something about that bias,’” explained Telenko. “This course will be an opportunity to move from recognition to action. One of the ways to eliminate bias in ourselves is through mindful reflection and observations about ourselves and those around us. When we do this, we are better equipped to then confront and deal with the larger, systemic inequities in American society.”

The 12-week course will be offered online May 13 through Aug. 8. Students will be provided with readings and required to purchase a notebook or journal in which they record their thoughts and observations. The final assignments will include peer advising around what to do about bias when we see it, as well as an open letter that students will have the option of sharing through the course’s Instagram account (@interrogatingbias).

Students can register for the course through LionPath (course number 9126). Enrollment will be limited to 25 students.

To learn more or ask questions about the course, contact Telenko at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 21, 2019