Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies Commitment for Equitable Opportunities and Racial Justice

The Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies embraces the multiple dimensions of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the pursuit of excellence in academic, professional, and career advancement.

We, as a College, believe that Black Lives Matter. This assertion does not mean that other lives matter less. Rather, it highlights the systemic racism that runs throughout the country and the many ways in which Black Americans are impacted by policies and practices that promote racial and economic injustice.

We stand firm in that we will not tolerate or accept such action, behavior or attitudes.

Consistent with the vision, mission, and values of the Feinstein College, we condemn the seemingly indiscriminate acts of violence against people of color in America, as well as all systemic institutional and individual racism.

Given the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and other high-profile deaths of Black citizens across the United States, it is important to state explicitly that the Feinstein College supports pursuits of academic, economic, and social justice for Black, Brown, and Indigenous Americans.

In fact, the Feinstein College will continue to advocate for all historically underrepresented and currently marginalized individuals in their professional aspirations and pursuits to become future educational, professional and community leaders who value diversity, equity, and justice. As such, the Feinstein College will:

• Establish a student Diversity and Equity Advisory Council. There are student-led groups and initiatives already forming within the School of Education and School of Professional Studies. As appropriate, we will support these groups and coordinate their efforts at the College-level.

• Seek initiatives that advocate and emphasize equity and access for historically under-represented students as exemplified by the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement Program. MESA is nationally recognized for innovative and effective school-to-university pipeline developments that engage thousands of high school students to excel in college preparatory math and science courses while setting goals to graduate college with math- or science-based degrees and career aspirations.

• Ensure that historically underrepresented individuals are well-represented in every recruited applicant pool when hiring of new staff and faculty.

• Ensure that historically underrepresented individuals have equitable opportunities to serve on every Selection Committee when hiring new staff and faculty.

• Inspire our faculty members to infuse a diversity of appropriate and applicable literature into every course curriculum. This action allows our students to read academic works from renowned, historically underrepresented authors and researchers in every class—across all years of their studies—from a multiplicity of perspectives that will influence critical thinking, diversity of thought, equity of voices, and a disposition of inclusion throughout their university experiences.

• Advocate that faculty utilize at least one class session of every course to discuss critically what is considered “seminal academic knowledge” in the context of that course. Specifically, these class dialogues should explore the identities, privileges, paradigms, and perspectives of those who were the founding thinkers on this literature, what are the majority perspectives within the body of scholarship, and what are the implications. This action is intended to encourage our students to reflect critically upon—and challenge— traditional wisdom rooted in contemporary power structures.

• Pursue invitations to renowned, historically underrepresented authors and researchers who represent a panoply of diverse, equitable, and inclusive expertise and wisdom across multiple disciplines to share their knowledge with our College community.

We acknowledge that we must prioritize equitable and just educational practices in order to live up to the mission of the Feinstein College. We recognize the commitments in this document are just the beginning of our efforts, and pledge to continue to develop dynamic approaches to social justice, as we continue to learn and grow as a community.

We encourage all members of the Feinstein College community to share ideas for action with the Dean’s office.