College of Education > About > College News & Features > 2020-2021 Diversity Equity and Inclusion Report
June 1, 2021 /
Posted in: Advancing Antiracism /
This report details the activities, events, conversations and meetings that have taken place in the 2020-2021 year in the College of Education as we challenge systemic racism and dismantle white supremacy. Guided by our Vincentian mission and the need to take action, the College of Education embarked on a year-long journey to build a culture supporting diversity, equity and inclusion while engaging as many of the stakeholders and constituents in conversation and in action. This stakeholder group included faculty, administration, staff, students, community and university partners. All existing structures, labels and titles became irrelevant as the college, person to person, human being to human being, grappled with the racist events occurring nationally and locally.
Following informal discussions in the wake of George Floyd's killing, the initial step in the process was to develop a written response that captured our beliefs, our college mission, our commitment and our pledge of what could must be done, the
Statement of Support and Commitment. In this statement, the College of Education committed to the following actions:
Thus the charge was outlined and our work could begin. As a result, to meet these goals, a variety of action steps took place, some concurrently and for different audiences, all equal in importance, impact and resources committed to them.
Four groups emerged from this call to action. These groups formed into working groups and committees, each with a set of goals and objectives and plans for continuing the anti-racism work beyond this academic year.
Advancing Antiracism, Inclusion and Equity Organizers (AAEIO) , a group created by Dr. Hilary Conklin in conjunction with COE faculty and staff joined by DePaul University colleagues Ann Russo, Director of The Women’s Center, and Mycall Riley, LGBTQA Resources Center Coordinator. This group created events and facilitated discussions regarding systemic racism with the COE.
Supporting Students with Antiracism Group, created by faculty member Dr. Amy Feiker-Hollenbeck and staff member, Alyssa Hepker along with a number of faculty and staff members in the COE, focused on work with students in the college to address antiracism. This group meets monthly and over the past year they organized and hosted the fall forum, compiled and shared resources for students needing support during the pandemic, compiled and shared student feedback from a variety of student events with the college, created a video in outreach to students of color, created a student climate survey, and organized the subgroup “Curricular Conversations and Tools”.
Curricular Conversations and Tools Group, led by Dr. Chris Worthman, supports faculty and staff in addressing curricular and pedagogical issues, as well as student issues related to DEI. Actions include a survey to all faculty, summer training and planning for next year center with a focus on fostering inclusive learning environments, incorporating diverse, perspectives and voices in the curriculum, workshop to strengthen course and explore instructional practices and strategies and plan activities for next year’s full COE meetings.
Coordinating Council created by Dean Zionts and organized by Erin Rice and Barbara Rieckhoff that consists of faculty, staff, and student members that meet periodically to help to coordinate and consolidate all of the DEI events and activities within the college, help publicize them, and generate reports on college DEI activities.
Anti-Racism Discussions for the COE Faculty and Staff took place at college level faculty meetings. College wide anti-racism discussions engaging all COE faculty and staff were held throughout the entire academic year from June 2020 through May 2021. Beginning last June with open discussions of recent events at that time, faculty and staff came together to determine how to make positive change. White affinity group discussions were held to create a safe space for white faculty to broaden their understanding and identify ways to support colleagues of color. Monthly COE Anti-racism meetings were held throughout the academic year with facilitation by DePaul colleagues, Mycall Riley and Ann Russo. The long standing partnership with Facing History and Ourselves provided the opportunity for a workshop for faculty and staff and resources to further guide conversations and allow reflection on identities. Additionally, faculty and staff were engaged in a series of book discussions, podcasts and film discussions that were focused on increased knowledge and understanding, building relationships inside the college, and continued commitment to carry on this work.
Faculty and staff volunteered to moderate and coordinate a series of book discussions, podcasts and film studies. Some of the groups met multiple times as a mini-series to discuss a book or film, while others met once. Discussion were informal with all faculty and staff invited to join. In many instances, groups were co-chaired by a faculty and staff member, opening opportunities for COE to get to know each other in new ways.
Open forums on recent political events were part of a series of events available to all faculty, students and staff. Sessions on white supremacy, justice dignity and freedom and black feminism illustrate the topics covered. Facilitated and developed by DePaul faculty, staff, and students, these events invited all stakeholders to join in ongoing conversations about ways the COE could take action.
Student-focused events were held concurrently and were moderated by COE faculty and staff.
This work is only beginning. As the academic year wraps up, faculty and staff are holding listening sessions with students involved in the DEI work this year to get their feedback and plans are in place to distribute a climate survey to all current students that will help inform our DEI work into the 2021-2022 academic year and beyond. In addition, faculty and staff recently voted to approve the
Committee for Racial Justice and Systemic Change , a joint committee of faculty and staff that will take the place of some of the ad-hoc groups that formed over the past year. Doing this will formalize the importance of and strengthen the presence of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the College of Education. To echo the Statement of Support and Commitment, we said "We pledge to hold ourselves accountable to engaging in these actions. We invite you to hold us accountable as well."