Kirsten Helmer headshot

Kirsten Helmer

301J Goodell Building

Kirsten Helmer

Director of Programming for Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity and Lecturer

Kirsten Helmer is Director of Programming for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity and Lecturer with CTL. Kirsten holds a Doctorate in Education from the department of Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies; a Master’s Degree in Bilingual/English as a Second Language/Multicultural Education; a Social Justice Education Graduate Certificate in Teaching for Diversity; and a Certificate as Educational Specialist (Ed. S.) from the College of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In addition, she also received a Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from the department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst and has a degree as a Diplom-Betriebswirt (Business Administration) from the Berufsakademie Mannheim, Germany.

In her role for the Center for Teaching and Learning, Kirsten is developing and overseeing CTL’s programming for intercultural teaching and faculty development with a focus on inclusive course and syllabus design, inclusive and culturally responsive teaching and assessment practices, universal design for learning, antioppressive and contemplative pedagogies, intercultural competence, and facilitating difficult dialogues. Kirsten coordinates a seminar series on diversity and teaching and offers workshops for faculty and graduate teaching assistants. She designed and facilitates the TIDE Ambassador (Teaching for Inclusiveness, Diversity, & Equity) program, a year-long faculty fellowship. Kirsten is available for one-on-one and group/departmental consultations focused on course design, curriculum development, assessment methods, and teaching strategies related to multicultural education, antioppressive pedagogies, intercultural competence, inclusive and culturally responsive teaching, and facilitating difficult dialogues. She also conducts midterm assessments. 

Kirsten has taught courses on multicultural education, anti-racism, intergroup dialogue, queering the curriculum, exploring gender and sexuality diversity, multicultural children’s literature, and German language in face-to-face and online settings at both UMass Amherst and Mount Holyoke College.

Her dissertation titled "Reading Queerly in the High School Classroom: Exploring a Gay and Lesbian Literature Course" can be accessed through:

Further publications include:

Helmer, K. (2016). Queer literacies: A multidimensional approach to reading LGBTQI-themed literature. In D. Linville & D. L. Carlson (Eds.). Beyond Borders: Queer Eros and Ethos (Ethics) in LGBTQ Young Adult Literature.

Helmer, K. (2016). Reading queer counternarratives in the high school literature classroom: possibilities and challenges. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Special Edition: Queering LGBT-Themed Literature with Teachers and Students. Guest editors: Mollie Blackburn, Caroline Clark, & Wayne Martino.

Helmer, K. (2015). “Everyone needs a class like this”: High school students’ perspectives on taking a Gay and Lesbian Literature course. The Educational Forum, Special Issue: Sexuality, Gender, Identity and Education, 79(4). DOI: 10.1080/00131725.2015.1068421

Helmer, K. (2015). Gay and Lesbian Literature disrupting the heteronormative space of the high school English class. Sex Education, Special Issue: Sexuality and Gender in the Everyday Spaces of Schooling. DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2015.1042574

Helmer, K. (2014). Disruptive practices: Enacting critical pedagogy through meditation, community building and explorative spaces in a graduate course for pre-service teachers. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 49(2), 33-40.