Reclaiming the Racial Justice Meaning of Equity

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

Dr. Bensimon explained how 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. 


 Spencer Foundation Presentation and Panel Discussion

Dr. Na'ilah Suad NasirDr. Na'ilah Suad Nasir, President of the Spencer Foundation.

In this series, Dr. Nasir gave a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Illinois faculty, regarding funding and research on race and inequality in education. Dr. Nasir also explained how her vision for diversity and inclusion will be reflected in the Spencer Foundation organizational structures, culture, and opportunities.


Toward a Renewed Consciousness for Justice: Racial Justice or Racial "Just Us" Among Asian Americans

OiYan PoonDr. OiYan Poon, Assistant Professor of Higher Education Leadership and Director of the Race & Intersectional Studies for Educational Equity (RISE) Center at Colorado State University

In this series, Dr. Poon identified and described the ideological divisions between notions of racial justice and racial "just us." She explained how the current attacks on affirmative action offer an opportunity for Asian Americans, and others, to develop a renewed and transformative consciousness for racial justice.


Culturally Responsive School Leadership

IMG_6264Dr. Muhammad Khalifa, Robert Beck Endowed Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

This presentation focused on how school leaders can effectively serve minoritized students. Dr. Khalifa demonstrated how leaders can engage students, parents, teachers, and communities in ways that positively impact learning by honoring indigenous heritages and local cultural practices.


To be Unapologetically 'Ungoogley': Why STEM Diversity Fails Women of Color

Kimberly Scott

Dr. Kimberly Scott, Associate Professor of Social Transformation in the College of Liberal Arts at Arizona State University

This talk offered a systemic approach that applies intersectionality as a methodology, particularly for efforts aiming to engage underrepresented girls and women in STEM. Dr. Scott discussed and presented examples of how counting the number of bodies in a STEM space falls short of creating a just system, drawing on her experiences teaching in a special-needs district, working in a rehabilitation center for female prostitutes and slaves, and collaborating with others to lead the nationally recognized, girl-centered STEM program COMPUGIRLS.


Listening to the Voices of Equity: Towards Diversity in Recruitment and Retention

Cynthia DillardDr. Cynthia B. Dillard, Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education and Department Head, Department of Educational Theory and Practice at University of Georgia

This talk and panel discussion focused on equity as a way to increase and sustain diversity within education and as a mandate for research. With Cynthia B. Dillard moderating the event, panelists Arielle Brown, Michael Diaz, Georgina Lozano, and Tori Susberry generously shared their stories and insights.


Undocumented to Hyperdocumented: The Power of Documentation

Aurora ChangDra. Aurora Chang, Assistant Professor in School of Education at Loyola University Chicago

Scholar Aurora Chang related lessons she learned during her transition from an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala to a "hyperdocumented" (her term) academic in the U.S. Through the sharing of stories from her life and the lives of her students, Chang revealed how "undocumented intelligence" and hyperdocumentation are, in her view, the foundation upon which undocumented students' critical hope is built and their powerful narratives told. 


Wedge Politics: The Current Transgender Backlash and its Effects in Educational Settings

Dr. Z NicolazzoDr. Z Nicolazzo, Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies & Practice, University of Arizona

During the Dean's Diversity presentation, Dr. Nicolazzo discussed how the use of the transgender community to further wedge politics is built upon misogyny, racism, and sexism. The talk delved into how this political strategy impacts transgender people in K-12 and higher education, and it explored ideas for furthering transformational thinking and practice. Dr. Nicolazzo is the co-author of Trans* in College: Transgender Students' Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion.


Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant

jose-angel_online6c7a743980b76a29a33dff05008a8698José Ángel N.
Speaker José Ángel N. is the author of Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented  Immigrant, which was published by University of Illinois Press in 2014. The timely book is a compelling memoir about José Ángel's quest to build a new life in the U.S. With bravery and honesty, he details the constraints, deceptions, and humiliations that characterize alien life within the shadows of society.


During his Dean's Diversity presentation, José Ángel N. talked about how having access to higher education has served as a counterbalance to the challenges of living as an undocumented immigrant. He focused on how our shared humanity unites us, despite the current political climate.


Cultivating the Gifts and Talents of Faculty of Color

Linda TillmanDr. Linda Tillman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Professor Emerita of Educational Leadership, School of Education

Dr. Tillman is a nationally recognized scholar and leader in higher education. Her research and scholarship focuses on school leadership, the education of all children in K-12 education, and culturally appropriate approaches to investigations.

Racial equity continues to be an important topic in the landscape of higher education. A key aspect of it is the role of higher education administrators in recognizing and facilitating a diverse campus that promotes and supports its faculty so that they can make contributions to students, the campus, and society. Thus, higher education administrators should be committed to cultivating the talents of all faculty, particularly those of color who often encounter challenges in the realms of recruitment, promotion, and tenure. This lecture focused on some of the challenges faced by faculty of color, particularly in predominantly white institutions, and strategies for cultivating the gifts and talents of these scholars.

Watch the video of Tillman's talk.


Scholar Activism and Self-Care in an Era of #BlackLivesMatter

Stephen John QuayeDr. Stephen John Quaye
Associate Professor in Student Affairs in Higher Education Program, Miami University

Dr. Quaye's research and teaching focus on how to enable undergraduate and graduate students to engage in difficult issues such as oppression. He also pursues how storytelling is used as an educational tool to foster reflection and learning across differences.

Since 2014, public student activism has been on the rise. Black Lives Matter activists have used protesting, teach-ins, and meetings to call attention to racism on campus and in society. What's often missing from the conversations about activism, however, is how scholars engage in it. What is their role and how do they practice self-care alongside the onslaught of media attention to black people being killed? Dr. Quaye made a case in this lecture for scholar activism and discussed how scholars blend their activist identities with their scholarship. Additionally, he explored the possibilities and challenges of scholar activism and strategies for practicing self-care in the midst of activism.

Watch the video of Quaye's talk.


Fostering Advancement for Diverse Faculty and Staff

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.

This session focused 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.

Watch the video of Eddy's talk.


The Black Woman's Blueprint for Institutional Transformation in Higher Education

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.

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 argued 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 offered concrete examples of the strategies black women have enacted toward change, and she provided an explanation regarding the seeming reluctance to acknowledge black women’s labor despite the benefits gained by numerous populations. Finally, Dr. Patton discussed 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.

Watch the video of Patton Davis's talk.


Understanding Latina/o Educational Pathways from the Perspectives of Scholar and Subject of Inquiry

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 discussed the slow advancement of Latina/o students, administrators, and faculty along an educational pipeline that is rooted in historical and current inequities. She emphasized 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 also discussed 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.

Watch the video of Espino's talk.


The Distance Between Compositional Diversity and Institutional Transformation

Dr. 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.

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 lecture, Dr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart called 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. Stewart 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 talked further about love and critical hope as imperatives to reaching wholeness in the academy.

Watch the video of Stewart's talk. 


A Discussion on Plantation Politics, Neoracism, and Critical Race Tempered Radicalism 

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. 

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 helped students, faculty, and staff work toward racial justice. Attendees of this lecture left with the knowledge to reframe the way they examine current institutional organizations as shaped by their white supremacist histories and discovered 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.

Watch the video of Squire's talk.


Disentangling Continuous and Discrete Structure Within Data

Dr. Doug Steinley of the University of Missouri - ColumbiaDr. Doug Steinley
Professor of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri - Columbia

Dr. Steinley's talk focused on general strategies for extracting class structure and factor structure when fitting models to data. Demonstrations were given on a data set of Internet habits of college students. 


Presenting Findings from an Experimental Evaluation of Job Corps

Dr. Peter Z. Schochet, senior fellow and economist at Mathematica, PrincetonDr. Peter Z. Schochet
Senior Fellow and Senior at Mathematica, Princeton

Dr. Schochet presented findings from an experimental evaluation of Job Corps, the nation's largest education and training program for disadvantaged youths ages 16 to 24. The study used data collected during nine years on a nationwide sample of 15,400 treatments and controls. 


Studying and Designing Alternative Infrastructures for Learning

Dr. Reed Stevens, professor of learning sciences, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern UniversityDr. Reed Stevens
Professor of Learning Sciences, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University

Dr. Stevens' research program has spanned two decades. His work has taken place in K-12 classrooms, museums, homes, and preschools. His presentation drew on insights from field studies that looked into the possibilities of designing new tools that offer alternatives to traditional school infrastructures.