MESSAGE
FROM THE DEAN
BRUCE JOHNSON
JANUARY 2021
black and white women hugging with end racism sign
Restoring hope and putting it into action
Just two weeks ago, we closed the door on an incomprehensible year that brought about a global pandemic, a monstrous blow to our economy and political systems, and intensified racial inequality.
No sooner had we closed the door on 2020 when the very heart of our democracy came under attack, literally and figuratively, in the first few days of 2021.
Reflecting on the last year and these recent events is painful. These are issues we at the College of Education are particularly passionate about. Social justice is at the forefront of everything we do, so it was especially troubling to witness the way rioters at the United States Capitol were treated on January 6 compared to the way peaceful protesters for Black Lives Matter were treated just six months prior.
The contrast was harsh.
On June 1, 2020, a crowd of similar size gathered outside the White House to protest after the police killing of George Floyd. The diverse and peaceful group called for an end to police brutality and racial inequity. This group was met by an army of federal agents that sent them running with chemical agents and rubber bullets, a glaring example of the incongruent treatment of Black and White people in America.
What can we, as a college, do about these devastating realities?
As a community, it is important to be able to stand together and renew our commitment to resist threats to our democracy. These threats include White supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, and misogyny, among others.
We acknowledge our responsibility as educators to provide recommendations and strategies to address these issues. The four actions described below — some of which are already in process — are an invitation to act together and restore hope in our roles as educators, students, and school community members.
young adult wearing rainbow clothes
Action 1
Diversity Committee and
Diversity Scholarly Speaker Series
The College of Education Diversity Committee was established to create a diversity plan for the college. One committee goal has resulted in the launch of the Diversity Scholarly Speaker Series to address critical issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
To show the promise the College of Education has in being a leader throughout the world in driving conversations about equity in education, the committee has lined up five speakers for 2021. These speakers are experts in working with underserved populations on issues of racism, disability, and higher education (specifically, issues of college access, equity, and college persistence for undocumented Latina/o students and Indigenous college students).
After engaging in these conversations on current research, the committee will help translate the resulting concepts into practical recommendations for action for faculty, staff, students, and our communities.
boy working with online teacher
Action 2
New panel series
We are launching a panel series for a continuing dialogue among teachers, administrators, and scholars on how best to frame the issues we face today for students. The event is free and all are invited! Our first panel in the series is:
Unchartered Waters:
Making Sense of our Role as Educators in Contemporary Times
Tuesday, January 26, at 4 p.m.
PANELISTS
Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies Assistant Professor William Smith
Disability & Psychoeducational Studies Professor Jina Yoon
Educational Policy Studies & Practice Associate Professor Z Nicolazzo
Sunnyside School District Superintendent Steve Holmes
Please register for this free event, and follow the College of Education Facebook page for all the up-to-date details on this new panel.
norma gonzalez
González
Luis Moll headshot
Moll
Action 3
TLS Annual
González-Moll Lecture
This Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural lecture series celebrates the significant contributions of Professors Luis Moll and Norma González to equity in education through their asset-based, funds of knowledge framework.
Sonja Lanehart headshot
This year’s González-Moll Lecture features Professor of Linguistics Sonja Lanehart, a faculty member with both the College of Education and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, as well as a Faculty Fellow in the Graduate College. Her scholarship focuses on language and education in African American communities; language and identity; sociolinguistics and language variation; and African American education from Black feminist and Critical Race Theory perspectives. She is particularly interested in pushing the boundaries of research in sociolinguistics and language variation to be more diverse, inclusive, and intersectional as seen with the significant research advancement presented in The Oxford Handbook of African American Language. She is a staunch advocate for mentoring and sponsoring emerging scholars of color, anti-racism, social justice, equity, and inclusion.
Please follow the College of Education Facebook page for all the up-to-date details on Professor Lanehart’s Spring 2021 González-Moll Lecture.
martin luther king
Action 4
Martin Luther King Social Justice Student Award
In honor of Martin Luther King and the day that celebrates his tireless commitment to end racial segregation on public transport and his fight for racial equality in the United States, we are launching a new award for our students, the Martin Luther King Social Justice Student Award. This honor will recognize a student’s outstanding contributions to promoting social justice in our community and beyond by fostering diversity and social justice in education, competency, and action.