Brandman faculty exploring anti-racism and inclusion in education

March 09, 2021

The following content first appeared on the news page while UMass Global operated under its former name of Brandman University.

Three full-time Brandman faculty members have contributed to a new collection of articles dealing with diversity issues in the PK-16 arena. The articles are available from Spark: Elevating Scholarship on Social Issues, which is the online magazine for the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan.

The articles are part of a series entitled, “Educators for Change: Marginalization and Anti-Racist Curriculum in the Classroom.” Brandman faculty member Dr. Lata Murti, associate professor of sociology for the School of Arts and Sciences, is the project's curator.

"Nevertheless, as the George Floyd protests of late May 2020 turned the nation’s attention to the racism embedded in its institutions, calls for more explicitly anti-racist education reverberated throughout all levels of academe — with the recognition that colleges and universities must not only prepare future teachers to adopt and promote an anti-racist curriculum but must also recruit and retain more teachers of color,” Murti wrote in her introduction.

Dr. Tami Lincoln, assistant professor of liberal studies for the School of Arts and Sciences, contributed “Beyond Multiculturalism: Elevating Anti-Racism within the Teaching of Children’s Literature” to the series. Her piece examines how teachers can use children's books as a springboard for anti-racism lessons.

“Elevating discussions from simple multiculturalism to anti-racism is essential to teaching children’s literature,” Lincoln writes. “While representation and multiculturalism within children’s books are important, it doesn’t take advantage of the opportunities within the literature to touch on issues important to students — issues like social justice, deepened understanding of the complexities of culture and honoring student identities by reading books that connect with them more deeply.”

Dr. Hawani Negussie, assistant professor of early childhood education for the School of Education, authored “How Cultural Intelligence and Inclusive Practices in PK-16 Influences Teacher Preparation and Student Outcome.” Her article deals with the paucity of teachers who are people of color, and how pupils need teachers who can relate to their cultural experiences.

Higher education instructors must keep in mind the challenges Black and Brown children face while preparing teachers in courses they teach or guide,” Negussie writes. “After all, the aim as an instructor is to transcend and reach the child in the preschool program or a second-grade classroom.”

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