“Dr. Barton's leadership, passion, and thoughtfulness to the individual needs of our students led to the creation of a unique, individually-tailored leadership program for young women. This program has not only aided students’ development but has already stimulated institutional change. Through her teaching and mentorship, our girls learned to become change agents committed to the cause of gender equity.”
- Otis Douce, Director of Cultural Competency, The Hun School of Princeton
“I attended one of Nimisha’s thought-provoking faculty workshops and was so impressed that I immediately asked her to design a training session for our novice instructors and graduate students. The highly interactive session that she offered was extremely engaging and informative.
She raised important issues and gave many practical strategies to all members of the audience, including those of us who have long experience in the classroom! The conversation has kept going, long after the workshop was over, thanks to Nimisha’s remarkable skills.”
- Dr. Christine Sagnier, Director of the French Language Program, Department of French and Italian, Princeton University
“ Nimisha Barton is an inspirational and transformative change agent in the space of diversity, equity, inclusion, and wellbeing. She brings to bear deep knowledge of historical structures, current issues, and best practices that she engagingly adapts to diverse institutional settings and audiences, from high school students to senior faculty and academic administrators.
A charismatic leader and open-hearted listener, Nimisha brings joy, compassion, experience, and vision to helping others establish pathways toward awareness, growth, and progress. ”
- Dr. Christy Pichichero, Associate Professor of French and History and Graduate Advisor of French, George Mason University
These skill-building workshops help participants “decode the hidden curriculum” required when studying at or working within educational institutions.
They range from academic skill-building sessions and inclusive leadership modules for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students to workshops exploring identity, privilege, and power for students, staff, and faculty.
They are a representative, though not exhaustive, list of interactive curricular and co-curricular events that I have designed and facilitated for a variety of student and faculty audiences.
I am happy to recreate a below workshop or to combine aspects of different workshops.
Building Self-Confidence, Practicing Self-Compassion
Although we once believed that building self-esteem was the only way to improve self-confidence, research now suggests that practicing self-compassion serves as a healthier means of increasing adolescent confidence. In this workshop, students learn strategies for developing self-compassion, consider how they can extend compassion to others in their daily lives, and generate a script for positive, nurturing self-talk.
Handling Stress, Anxiety, and Toxic Self-Criticism
In this workshop, students learn tools for dealing with setbacks, managing destructive feelings, and thwarting cultural messages about women’s “effortless perfection” that may lead to toxic self-criticism. By instead learning how to “fail well,” students develop strategies for emotional resilience that strengthen their capacity for personal growth.
Speak Up! Deference, Obedience, and Authority in the Classroom
As early as high school, adolescent girls begin to academically outperform their male peers, yet may also experience difficulty reconciling gendered expectations about women’s proper behavior in the classroom. In order to effectively respond to implicit gendered expectations, students learn best practices for communicating confidently, managing conflict, and setting boundaries.
How to “Win” At Being a College Student
You’re in college to get good grades and nab a great job after graduation, right? Wrong! College provides you with important but often overlooked opportunities to get to know peers, faculty, and staff who will play a crucial role in your life. In this workshop, participants will consider their needs as college students, learn best practices for relationship-building, and start building an extensive network of personal, professional, and academic mentors to help them over the next four years.
Black Lives Matter. #metoo. Title IX. Recent events on college campuses and throughout our country force us to reflect on the nature of power and hierarchy. What do you do when a system, an institution, or an individual robs you of your power? How can you, how should you, react in those situations, especially when the power imbalance is not tipped in your favor? Workshop participants will learn how to navigate challenging situations as well as when, how, and why to use key University resources in the process.
Cultural Competence versus Cultural Humility
While for many years the attainment of “cultural competence” was seen as desirable, today, many suggest that “cultural humility” may be a more worthwhile goal. Workshop participants will explore the concept of cultural humility and learn best practices for demonstrating cultural humility in their own lives.
Navigating and Managing Advising Relationships
In graduate school, your relationship with your advisor is key to shaping your professional future. Workshop participants will learn how to set realistic expectations for the advising relationship, how to troubleshoot awkward moments, and most importantly how to assemble a broad academic and professional advising “team” to rely on throughout their graduate career.
Academic Conferences 101
Attending and presenting at academic conferences is an important part of your professionalization, but departments rarely discuss the unknowns: how many are you supposed to go to? when should you start? how do you know which conferences to go to and what should you do when you get there? Come learn more about the goals and purposes of conference-going, how to identify the most useful academic conferences in your field, and best practices for preparing and attending conferences.
Classism, Identities, and Allyship
Today, graduate students reflect a broad range of class, income, race, gender, and other identities that enrich our community. Yet, oftentimes misunderstandings about these identities impact how we respond. How can you react before, during, and after a difficult moment? Where can you or your peers seek resources and support? This interactive workshop helps graduate participants develop a working toolkit to navigate relationships in diverse academic and professional environments, such as departments, graduate programs, and the scholarly community at large. It provides information about useful campus resources, recommendations for immediate solutions, and suggestions for becoming more effective allies.
Engaging First-Generation, Low-Income, and Underrepresented Students in the Classroom
Over the last 15 years, successful college access efforts across the nation have dramatically changed the undergraduate student body. To better serve first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students over the course of their undergraduate career, colleges and universities have recently amplified efforts to provide them with financial resources, co-curricular programming, and other supports to help them succeed. But how do we also ensure that the classroom - a space where students of all backgrounds converge – remains a genuinely welcoming and inclusive environment? How do we navigate between the seemingly irreconcilable demands for academic freedom, on the one hand, and for safe spaces, trigger warnings, and guards against microaggressions, on the other? This workshop offers faculty from all disciplines ideas for ensuring equality of opportunity in the classroom for all students.
Creating Inclusive STEM Classrooms
While colleges and universities currently accept more first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority students than ever before, STEM curricula have yet to adapt to the changing demographics of today’s college classrooms. Dr. Barton discusses best practices for revamping introductory STEM courses, introduces participants to pedagogical techniques that better engage students and decrease attrition in the STEM fields, and invites participants to help think through what more can and should be done.
Mentorship, Teaching, and Identity/ies
While female and minority faculty members often take on the majority of mentorship in a given department, student evaluations disproportionately skew against them. How do identity-based assumptions on the part of students complicate both mentorship and teaching? How might faculty identity/ies shape their classroom choices in ways that are illegible to colleagues? This workshop cultivates a supportive community for female faculty of color interested in exploring how identity shapes the classroom experience for themselves and their students. Faculty will leave with research-driven best practices to help them feel more empowered and valued as a teacher, mentor, and scholar
Best practices for designing, developing, and implementing diversity initiatives for undergraduate and graduate students in colleges and universities
Recruitment and retention efforts geared towards students from underrepresented backgrounds in undergraduate and graduate programs
Conversations about how to create an inclusive campus climate and how to navigate identity-based conflict in higher education contexts
Creating inclusive classrooms through curricular diversity, inclusive pedagogy, and teaching excellence
Women’s identity development, leadership training, and campus engagement
Navigating graduate school and post-PhD professional life
Gender, class, race, colonial, and migration scholarship
“The Niceties: In Conversation,” McCarter Theater, Princeton, NJ, 26 January 2019.
“Rethinking the “Paris” Course: A Roundtable,”Western Society of French History, Portland, ME, 3 November 2018.
“Teaching Research and Writing: Inclusive Practices for All Disciplines,” St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, 31 October 2018.
“Doing Diversity: Is it Ever Done?” for Engaging Learners in the 21st Century, Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, NJ, 22 August 2018.
“Best Practices for FLI Summer Bridge Programs,” First-Generation Low-Income Administrative Working Group, 16 March 2018.
“From Access to Success: How to Create a Four-Year Scholars Program on Your College Campus,” Stanford FLI Conference, Stanford, CA, 3 March 2018.
“Demystifying Classism, Identities, and Allyship in Graduate School,” The Graduate School, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 21 February 2018.
“Failure to Launch? How to Prepare FLI Students for Post-Graduate Success,”Ivy Plus FGLI Administrator Conference, Princeton, NJ, 19 February 2018.
“Addressing Structural Racism in French History and French Historical Studies,” Conference Plenary Roundtable, Western Society of French History, Reno, NV, 4 November 2017.
“Engaging First-Generation, Low-Income Students in the Classroom,” New Faculty Institute, McGraw Center, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 26 September 2017; Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 27 February 2018; Department of Romance Languages, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 4 May 2018.
“Improving College Access and Success,”for Class of ’62, 55th Reunions Panel Discussion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 10 June 2017.
“Navigating Post-Ph.D. Professions,” The Graduate School and Career Services Center, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, November 2015.
“She has an extraordinary gift for inspiring both open, constructive discussion and personal introspection. I was hugely impressed by her ability to tackle often fraught subjects in a way that put her audience at ease and conveyed practical, effective strategies for dealing with the most pressing challenges facing teachers today."
- Dr. J.P. Daughton, Associate Professor of History and Co-Director of Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars Postdoctoral Program, Stanford University