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April 28, 2011 Volume 32, No. 29

Meet the Kempers: Etti Naveh-Benjamin


Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences

Etti Naveh-Benjamin’s message to students is clear: “Care about people, understand their struggles and their stories, and you will live a richer life.”

For almost nine years, she has taught diversity-related courses in German and Russian studies and in psychological sciences. The classes are interactive and center on open, brave dialogue as students explore issues such as race, social class, sexual orientation and gender identity, language and ethnicity.

Creating a safe space in which every member is valued can make a difference, she says. “I encourage students to speak to people from other cultures and to immerse themselves in experiences that will take them out of their comfort zone and will teach them what it means to be different and to be treated differently on a daily basis.”

Naveh-Benjamin’s students write personal journals and papers in which they reflect on their progression. “I hope that through my teaching and advising, students will be aware of their own strength and potential as learners, thinkers and advocates for the less privileged,” she says.

Students say that Naveh-Benjamin’s classes are some of their most important learning experiences.  “I feel that after the course, I am a better person and the world is a better place,” one student says.

Naveh-Benjamin is director of the MU Multicultural Certificate, a personalized course of study hat serves more than 650 students campuswide. Students earn the certificate along with their undergraduate degree upon completion of certificate requirements.

Naveh-Benjamin has received the Purple Chalk Teaching Award, Robert S. Daniel Excellence in Teaching Award and Excellence in Education Award.

She received a bachelor’s degree in 1980 and a master’s degree in 1981 from Eastern Michigan University.