Christian P. L. West

Display Date
October 1, 2020
Biography Paragraphs
Christian West
Christian West

Christian is a third-year PhD student in the Curry School of Education and Human Development. His dissertation research is focused on the role of higher education's historical relationship with slavery and its relationship to racial climate for students of color. Christian also serves as the Chair of UVA’s Graduate and Professional Council for 2019-2020.

Christian participated in the PhD Plus Foundations series and the Teaching module. As a PhD Plus Liaison, he connects the university-wide PhD Plus program to students in the Curry School, with additional focus on professional development in teaching. Christian recently developed and delivered a PhD Plus workshop on identifying and leveraging students’ community cultural wealth in the classroom, guided by his mentor Adriana Streifer, Assistant Director and Assistant Professor at the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. Through Christian’s collaboration with the Curry School’s Education Council, PhD Plus programs are now included in monthly school-wide newsletters.


Q: Why did you apply for the PhD Plus Liaisons Program?

A: As students increasingly consider ways their PhD experience is relevant for careers outside of academia, expanding the way PhD programs prepare students for a wide variety of careers is of critical importance. I wanted to be sure my peers and I have the necessary skills to pursue jobs in all areas of interest.


Q: What are you doing as a PhD Plus Liaison in the context of your department and “Teaching” area of focus?

A: As a part of the Teaching-focus group, I'm developing a series of teaching workshops on inclusive pedagogy- an equity-focused approach to teaching that considers how the various backgrounds students bring to the classroom can be an asset to the learning process.


Q: What professional skills are you developing as a PhD Plus Liaison?

A: In my short time as a liaison, I have already thought more critically about how I communicate my research to non-academic audiences, use skills in data literacy to better inform my approaches to research, and met some awesome fellow PhD students who are expanding my interdisciplinary knowledge.


About PhD Plus Liaisons Program

The primary role of the PhD Plus Liaisons is to bring the professional training provided by the broader program into specific disciplinary/departmental contexts and to communicate the needs of specific departments and disciplines back to the broader program. Liaisons communicate with students and faculty in their home departments about their peers' professional development needs, helping to gather departmental feedback to be used for the development and improvement of the program and conferring with liaisons in other departments across the University of Virginia. In addition to supporting their fellow graduate students and informing the continued evolution of the PhD Plus Program, Liaisons themselves benefit from sustained access to training, mentorship, and support in a professional focus of their choosing.


Over the following months, PhD+ Liaison highlights will provide an opportunity to get to know the Liaisons for Academic Year 2019-2020. Learn more about these PhD student leaders, why they decided to participate in PhD Plus Liaisons program, their professional development goals, and how they are collaborating with the PhD Plus program and their departments.

We will open the Call for 2020-2021 Applications for the Liaisons Program in Spring 2020.

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