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Dunbar Initiative

Faculty Development

The Dunbar Faculty Development Cohort provides stipends to faculty who participate in a three-day intensive workshop about Paul Laurence Dunbar and later create or revise a course to integrate Dunbar-related material into their teaching. 

Interdisciplinary connections are strongly encouraged; previous cohorts have included faculty from computer science, history, theater, English and others.

For more information, email the project team.

Example of a course:

CPS - computer course with re-creation of Dunbar’s office

Further Information:

The University will introduce digital humanities tools and methods of inquiry to students and educators as a means of broadening engagement with material culture. The initiative will also develop new experiential learning opportunities that make use of rich collection of Dunbar material objects and artifacts that are currently hard to discover and/or consult. Some learning opportunities will be linked to places in Dayton that are associated with his life and works. New experiential learning opportunities will bring together students, scholars, and community members in projects that have importance for the community and which contribute new and original scholarship.

A signature project initiative is a virtual Dunbar Library and Archive, which will serve as a platform for bringing together sources, artifacts, and scholarship on Dunbar, and which will involve students, scholars, and community members in all levels of design, implementation, and use.

Spring 2022 Dunbar Faculty Development Cohort

Michelle Hayford is an associate professor of theater and the director of the Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology program. She has a doctorate in performance studies from Northwestern University. Her original creative scholarship combines her passions of creating live plays and utilizing the craft of theater as a necessary response to community and civic engagement.

Misty Thomas-Trout is an assistant professor in graphic design at the University of Dayton. She holds a bachelor’s in visual communication design from the University of Dayton and a master’s in graphic design from Ohio University. She writes, “As a maker and contributor to the visual culture, I endeavor to create work that encourages positive social change and emphasizes the value in human connection and relationships. As an educator, I utilize design thinking to emphasize the awareness of the role of the individual within their community and as citizens of the world.”

2021 Dunbar Faculty Development Cohort

Darden is an associate professor in the Department of Art and Design and is the area coordinator for art education. She is developing a course, tentatively titled, Art Integration in Education, in which pre-service educators from all disciplines and grade bands can explore ways to develop meaningful, critical art integration approaches toward social justice.

The work and life of Paul Laurence Dunbar becomes springboard, content and bridge to foster curriculum pathways through which the arts is co-equal with subject specific content.


David is an assistant professor in the Department of English. His goal is to develop a course, tentatively titled "How to Travel as an Antiracist," for the Race and Ethnic Studies Program.

The syllabus will draw from Paul Laurence Dunbar's work, including his own travel writing, and support students as they think critically about the travail necessary to travel responsibly both in and outside Dayton, Ohio.


Suki is a professor in the Department of Art and Design. Her goal is to create Dunbar poetry book art, incorporating various East Asian book binding techniques including the Chinese ancient bookbinding technique called dragon scale binding.

The course will explore Dunbar’s writings, poetry and stories. Students will research the life and legacy of Dunbar as they learn diverse East Asian book binding techniques. Students’ final book arts will reflect their own visual interpretations of Dunbar’s life, legacy and his artistic vision.

Tam plans to revise the course CPS 149: Creative Media Applications to focus on the life of Paul Laurence Dunbar in Dayton. This course is a multidisciplinary, project-driven learning process course that encourages students to develop problem solving and teamwork skills while fostering creativity and logic. 

Teresa is a lecturer in the Department of English. Her work entails revision of a section of English 100 as an inquiry into Dunbar's poetry and his role in Dayton history. Students will be asked to explore archives to create questions and pursue research to create written work for a range of University and Dayton community audiences.

Vanessa is a clinical faculty member in the Department of Teacher Education. She will revise social studies methods curriculum to include inquiry-based investigations of primary sources to build content knowledge about the life and legacy of Paul Laurence Dunbar.

She expects that experiences with primary sources in class will serve to inspire and support use of primary sources with other classrooms as a best social studies practice.