Remembering September 11th, 2001
As faculty consider how to acknowledge the anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001 in classes, consider that students will show a variety of responses to your initiation. They may be grateful, uncomfortable, or reluctant to participate in such a discussion. A survey conducted at Carnegie Mellon University last fall indicated that most students were grateful when faculty acknowledged the attacks. The survey also showed that faculty wanted to discuss the situation, but many did not know how to do so. Assuming that similar emotions will be evoked by the first anniversary, guidance on preparing an acknowledgement in class is available from a variety of on-line resources which you can review and adapt for your course and your students.
Recommendations for ways to reduce students' discomfort around topics related to September 11 are available on line at http://www.crlt.umich.edu/publinks/tragedydiscussion.html.
Realize that more students are likely to participate in a discussion when you are able to make the topic relevant to the course. Show students how to use the concepts and tools of your field of study to interpret the events through the multiple perspectives of your discipline.
The following links to government offices, organizations, and universities provide resources which may be helpful to you. Please consult colleagues at the Counseling Service and at the Office of Equal Opportunity when a student's emotional response suggests that a referral to professional supports may be helpful.
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2002/02-103.html
National Association of School Psychologists:
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: http://www.carnegieendowment.org/
Resources from Universities:
U of Michigan: http://www.crlt.umich.edu/publinks/tragedydiscussion.html
University of Virginia: http://www.virginia.edu/911/