Providing meaningful scholarship for the future of Illinois

The College of Education engages faculty and students with leading senior scholars in different fields of educational scholarship

2016-2017 Dean's Diversity Lecture Series

The College of Education provides rich opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to hear from internationally renowned scholars who address important issues of diversity. To broaden these efforts, the College is sponsoring the Dean's Diversity Lecture Series, which encourages ongoing introspection on timely issues of equity and diversity. These talks offer a space for productive dialogue for the university community about concerns such as perceived inequities, biases, and microaggressions that impact the climate.

This academic year, the College has invited seven speakers whose expertise encompasses a diverse set of topics. Each of the distinguished scholars will deliver a lecture that will be open to the campus community at the Illini Union. They will also conduct fireside chats with students and faculty members of the College. These chats will give participants an opportunity to discuss ways in which the College can take real action toward advancing equity and inclusion, especially as they pertain to workplace wellness.

Co-sponsors for the series are the Office of the Provost and the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL).

Spring 2017

Tuesday, Feb. 7
Lecture at noon; Krannert Art Museum, Room 62
3 p.m. fireside chat for students, faculty, and staff in Room 16 of the Education Building

Michelle EspinoDr. Michelle Espino
Assistant Professor of Higher Education; University of Maryland, College Park

Michelle Espino's research centers on understanding community contexts and institutional responses associated with educational achievement and outcomes along the academic life course for racial/ethnic minorities.

Drawing from critical race methodologies and Chicana feminism, Dr. Espino will discuss the slow advancement of Latina/o students, administrators, and faculty along an educational pipeline that is rooted in historical and current inequities. She will emphasize the critical nature of research that co-constructs and co-interprets the realities experienced by participants and the researcher at particular moments in time and across familial, community, and educational contexts. Dr. Espino will discuss the responsibility of offering scholarly work with care and respect; attending to power dynamics as interviewer, narrator, and subject; and weaving together participants’ lived experiences and her own in order to transform traditional paradigms and practices that hinder Latina/o educational attainment.

Tuesday, Feb. 14
Lecture at noon; Illini Union, Room 104
3 p.m. fireside chat for College of Education students, faculty, and staff in Room 16 of the Education building

Lori Patton DavisDr. Lori Patton Davis
Professor in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Indiana University

Dr. Patton Davis's research focuses on African-Americans in higher education, critical race theory in postsecondary contexts, and college student development.

Illini Union lecture
"Hidden in Plain Sight: The Black Women's Blueprint for Institutional Transformation in Higher Education"

Given the current socio-political climate in the U.S. and on college campuses, a number of questions have emerged regarding the role of higher education in addressing oppression and systemic inequities. Concerns about the capacity of higher education institutions to engage in substantive change are among the most critical issues facing institutional leaders, faculty, and students. In this presentation, Dr. Patton Davis will argue that efforts to address societal inequities and those situated in higher education might be best implemented by examining black women’s work and contributions. Dr. Patton Davis will offer concrete examples of the strategies black women have enacted toward change, and she will provide an explanation regarding the seeming reluctance to acknowledge black women’s labor despite the benefits gained by numerous populations. Dr. Patton will discuss the overwhelming invisibility of black women’s contributions, as well as the need for a more intersectional approach to institutional transformation that is grounded in the traditions, intellect, and work of black women.

Thursday, April 13
Lecture at noon; Illini Union, Room 104
3 p.m. fireside chat with College of Education faculty and staff in Room 16 of the Education building

Pamela EddyDr. Pamela Eddy
Professor in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership, College of William and Mary

Dr. Eddy's research interests include community college leadership and development, organizational change and educational partnerships, gender roles in higher education, and faculty development.

Illini Union lecture
"Developing and Retaining Leadership Talent: Fostering Advancement for Diverse Faculty and Staff"

This session will focus on the portrait of today’s college leaders, which shows that top positions remain stubbornly filled by white males and suggests strategies for rethinking constructions of leadership ideals. Despite leadership development programs targeting women and diverse leaders, these populations have not obtained equity in leadership ranks. New visions of leadership require questioning who can be considered for leadership and where leadership occurs.  Development of mid-level leaders and changing norms of who gets access to leadership development can provide leverage for change. Questioning underlying assumptions about leadership is required for true change to occur, however, and both individuals and institutions can contribute to building the new models of leadership. Institutional policy can help create a climate that fosters more diverse leadership and addresses structural issues that remain as barriers. Colleges and universities need to tap into the talent of all potential leaders.

Fall 2016

Friday, Dec. 2
Lecture at 1 p.m., Illini Union, Illini Room C
Fireside Chat (for College of Education faculty & staff) at 3 p.m., 242 Education  

Dafina-Lazarus StewartDr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart
Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Bowling Green State University

Dr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart is a scholar, educator, and activist focused on empowering and imagining futures that sustain and cultivate learning, growth, and success of marginalized groups in the U.S. higher education institutions.

Illini Union lecture
"Minding the Gap: The Distance Between Compositional Diversity and Institutional Transformation"
During the last three academic years, colleges and universities nationwide have been in the news as student demands from racially minoritized students, particularly black students and their accomplices, have gone viral via social media. The current generation of student activism by black students is calling for direct actions, tangible outcomes, and greater institutional accountability for creating and sustaining campus environments that are more diverse and inclusive. Incidents of racial microaggressions against minoritized faculty, staff, and students continue despite pledges to increase the numbers of faculty, staff, and students of color; sizeable commitment of dollars; and notable gains in the racial and ethnic diversity of certain parts of campus. In this public lecture, Dr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart will call attention to the gap between focusing attention on compositional diversity and actually doing the work necessary to foment and sustain institutional transformation toward greater racial justice.

College fireside chat lecture
Dr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart wrote in a blog post that became viral a love letter to minoritized faculty members in colleges and universities. She shared cautions, encouragement, and blessings gained at the beginning of zir 16th year of teaching, research, and service in the academy. Ze's ultimate message was to affirm the camaraderie of minoritized faculty, urging others to "create a life that can transport [them] beyond" the dysfunction of the academy. In this intimate conversation held at the College of Education, Dr. Stewart will talk further about love and critical hope as imperatives to reaching wholeness in the academy.

Thursday, Dec. 1
Lecture at 1 p.m., Illini Union, Room 210
Fireside Chat (for College of Education graduate students) at 3 p.m., 242 Education

Dian SquireDr. Dian Squire
Visiting Assistant Professor, Iowa State University

Dr. Squire's research focuses on issues of diversity, equity, and justice in higher education. He focuses on access to graduate education and the experiences of diverse graduate students.

Lecture and chat focus
In a neoliberal era with heightened racial tension, universities must examine the ways they include communities of color and fundamentally reshape their organizations to support the holistic learning and development of the growing diversity on campuses. In the wake of material instances of white supremacy, it is no longer enough to provide statements of support, minor policy changes, or conduct another campus climate survey. The evidence is clear: U.S. colleges and universities are built upon historical roots of racism and white supremacist normativity, which needs to change. Through the exploration of three frameworks, Dr. Dian Squire will help students, faculty, and staff work toward racial justice. Attendees will leave with the knowledge to reframe the way they examine current institutional organizations as shaped by their white supremacist histories and discover more in the way of international graduate admissions infused with neoracist and neoliberal action. By exploring the formation of universities and providing two contemporary manifestations of whiteness, one can more easily name and deconstruct oppressive systems to reconstruct just and liberating opportunities.

Future Talks

April 18 - Stephen John Quaye, Miami University 
Noon campus lecture at Illini Union, Room 210
3 p.m. fireside chat with students, faculty, and staff at 16 Education  
Strategies for students and faculty to engage in dialogue about difficult issues related to privilege, oppression, and power

May 3 - Linda Tillman, University of North Carolina
Noon campus lecture at Illini Union, Room 210
3 p.m. fireside chat with faculty and staff at 242 Education  
Mentoring of early career and faculty of color and culturally appropriate research approaches