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

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 sponsors 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 about concerns such as perceived inequities, biases, and microaggressions that impact our campus community.

This academic year, the College has invited speakers whose expertise encompasses a unique set of topics. Speakers were chosen based on feedback from last year's attendees. The lectures provide action oriented strategies for concrete institutional change. Attendees walk away with new ideas on how to support each other as a campus community while also working towards healing in the face of injustice. Each of the distinguished scholars will deliver a lecture that is open to the campus community at the Illini Union. Also, there are a number of ways to access the lecture series via a video of each speaker's talk featured on this website, or a podcast interview of the speaker followed by a blog, which are made available by the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL).

Upcoming Speakers

Livestream our Lectures at

Dr. Na'ilah Suad Nasir

Na'ilah Suad Nasir

Spencer Foundation Presentation and Panel Discussion

April 22, 2019
2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
2 Education Building

Dr. Na'ilah Suad Nasir, President of the Spencer Foundation, will give a presentation followed by a panel discussion with Illinois faculty regarding funding and research on race and inequality in education. During Dr. Nasir’s presentation we will learn more about how her vision for the Spencer Foundation reflects and supports research in this area. Scholars who do research explicitly on race and inequality still struggle to find sources of funding for their research, especially funding that enables them to examine these issues longitudinally. Also, beyond just considering diversity and inclusion in the type of research the foundation will fund, we will learn more about how Dr. Nasir’s vision for diversity and inclusion will also be reflected in the organizational structures, culture, and opportunities at the Spencer Foundation. 

Panel Facilitator:
Arcasia James-Gallaway, doctoral candidate, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership

Dr. Gabrielle Allen, Associate Dean for Research, College of Education
Dr. Antoinette Burton, Director, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities
Dr. Christopher Span, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, College of Education
Dr. William Trent, Moderator, College of Education Executive Committee and Director, Center for Education in Small Urban Communities, College of Education

Sponsored by the College of Education and the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Education (DEME) Committee.



Estela Mara Bensimon

Estela Mara Bensimon

Reclaiming the Racial Justice Meaning of Equity

April 25, 2019
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
314B Illini Union

Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon, professor of Higher Education in Rossier School of Education and Director of the Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California.

Equity, once viewed suspiciously as racially divisive and associated with the activism of social justice movements that academic purists disdain as "advocacy" work, is now being enthusiastically embraced within the academic scene. But does this embrace of equity signify an embrace of its critical and anti-racist foundations? Or does the proliferation of this term instead represent the appropriation and dilution of equity?

"Equity", however, is much more than a word to be sprinkled into educational discourse like one might sprinkle salt to give seasoning to a bland meal. To meaningfully and intelligently talk about equity and equity-mindedness, we must be clear that it is whiteness-not the achievement gap-that produces and sustains racial inequality in higher education. The authentic exercise of equity and equity-mindedness requires explicit attention to structural inequality and institutionalized racism and demands system-changing responses.

Sponsored by the College of Education, the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL), and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.