Time to Act: Eliminate Marginalization and Exclusion

October 26, 2015

Subject: Time to Act: Eliminate Marginalization and Exclusion: Please READ

Students and Colleagues,

The College of Education has 1500 graduate students from across the U.S. as well as many countries, and 1100 undergraduates from 31 states. Many of our students are from varying racial and ethnic groups. The racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of our students is one of the College of Education’s greatest strengths. For the last year and a half, we have listened to some of our students who have experienced marginalization, racism, and exclusion on campus and in our college. These racially-motivated experiences of our students have resulted in a great deal of discouragement, pain, and sadness by those marginalized, and a commitment by the administration of the College of Education to create a safe environment for all members of our learning community.

National events and discussions have prompted our students to demonstrate leadership and facilitate an awakening on our campus about the marginalization of students of color.  We are proud of their courage and passion. Our students have invested a great deal of time to meet with us and share their ideas about how we can improve. An example of a student-initiated idea is the creation of The Bridge, located in 220 Townsend. The opening of The Bridge is a visible example of the College of Education’s commitment to becoming a better place for all students, staff, and faculty.  While this space is an important part of our diversity plan, it alone is not enough.  It is critical that all members of our College consider issues of diversity in a deep and meaningful way and develop cultural competence as they interact with, teach, and lead others.

Norma Jackson, Director of Diversity, Recruitment, and Retention has prepared the attached document to show some specific actions that we have taken in the College of Education during the past year. We believe these initiatives represent a good start.  Yet, we know we still have a long way to go.  We are committed to fully develop supports and structures within the College to promote the development of cultural competence and to create an environment that values and engages all members, regardless of background and ability. We encourage every administrator, faculty, professional staff member, and student in the college to participate in conversations, generate ideas, and invest time in seeking to understand and learn about cultural competence and the concept of social privilege.

We have many faculty in the college who have specialized expertise related to diversity, inclusion, social justice, and equity. Students take a number of undergraduate and graduate diversity-related courses in our College. One of our initiatives involves a proposal we submitted to the campus that would involve teaching a required diversity course for all incoming undergraduates in future years. The campus posted an update on that proposal on October 21 (see https://transparency.missouri.edu/). We will soon begin the process of initiating a required course within the College of Education for first-year undergraduate students.

As our students bravely expose the deep issues pertaining to marginalization and oppression, it is critical that we not only stand with them, but also act to make changes in areas in which we have influence.

We invite each of you to participate in an action-planning meeting in Stotler Lounge in the Memorial Union on November 9th from 6-8 p.m.  We will have round tables to facilitate small group interactions.

Thank you to all who have actively engaged in activities to foster a positive and welcoming place to learn and work.


Kathryn Chval
Acting Dean, College of Education

Matthew Burns
Associate Dean for Research

John Lannin
Acting Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Division Executive Director

Matthew Martens
Division Executive Director

T. Chris Riley-Tillman
Associate Division Director, Department of Educational, School & Counseling Psychology

Joi Moore
Associate Division Director, School of Information Science & Learning Technologies

James Tarr
Associate Division Director, Department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum

Erica Lembke
Associate Division Director, Department of Special Education

Bradley Curs
Associate Division Director, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis