Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion hosting campus-wide read

Published in 2010, Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” challenges its readers to engage in meaningful dialogue about race, racism and structural inequality and to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a movement for racial justice in America.

Heeding that call, Salve Regina’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion is inviting all members of the University community to participate in a campus-wide read of Alexander’s acclaimed bestseller. The read will culminate in two discussion sessions in April.

The first session, scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, April 6, will cover chapters 1-3. The second session, scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday, April 24, will cover chapters 3-6. Readers may attend one or both sessions, which will be held in the McKillop Library. Copies of the book are available at the library’s circulation desk.

Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion

Established last spring by Dr. Scott Zeman, provost/vice president for academic affairs, the task force seeks to increase the diversity and inclusiveness of Salve Regina’s academic offerings, and is working towards institutionalizing requirements for diversity. For the 2016-2017 academic year, the task force’s primary focus is race and racism.

The task force includes Dr. Emily Colbert Cairns, assistant professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages; Dr. Arthur Frankel, professor in the Department of Psychology; Dr. Mary Montminy-Danna, associate professor in the Department of Social Work; and Dr. John Tawa, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology.

One of the task force’s first initiatives was a diversity fellowship program, which will support three new faculty fellows per year, each for a three-year appointment. The program’s purpose is twofold: It will enable faculty to develop or revise courses with a primary focus on diversity, and it will infuse the curriculum with coursework on the theory and practice of diversity.

“We’re seeking to change the access students have to programming in their majors and in the Core Curriculum, so that they can be exposed to diversity in different ways,” Colbert Cairns said.

This year’s fellows are:

  • Dr. Juanita Ashby Bey, assistant professor in the Department of Education, whose course Race and Education: Theory and Practice of Teaching to Race and Culture will focus on neutralizing institutional racism in education through the understanding and application of cultural responsiveness.
  • Dr. Troy Catterson, assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy, whose course Reasoning About Race: The Ethics and Ontology of Racial Justice will engage in a philosophical investigation of questions about race, racial and ethnic identity, racial justice and the concept of race.
  • Dr. Barbara Sylvia, professor in the Department of Social Work, whose course Race in America will review and analyze material from a variety of sources that┬áspeak to the issue of contemporary race/racism in America.

The task force will issue a second call for applications this spring.

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