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Presented By: Rackham Graduate School

LEAD: Decentering Whiteness in the Academy

This LEAD conversation will address how administrators, faculty, and staff can decenter whiteness at an institutional level and create a sense of belonging for all. The racial inequities exposed by COVID-19 paired with a national uprising against systemic racism has led colleges and universities nationwide to prioritize anti-racist teaching. While these efforts are appreciated and long overdue, higher education institutions need to continue to examine how their policies and pedagogies have perpetuated racism and inequities and prohibited an inclusive learning environment for marginalized students. How can we demonstrate that actions to dismantle differential advantages—such as diversifying the curriculum, implementing holistic admissions practices, and recruiting and promoting people of color—are best for higher education institutions overall?
Stephanie Rowley is Provost, Dean, and Vice President for Academic Affairs of Teachers College. Prior to joining Teachers College, she served in several key leadership positions at the University of Michigan, including Associate Chair and Interim Chair of the Psychology Department, Chair of the Combined Program of Education and Psychology, and Associate Vice President for Research for Social Science, Arts, and Humanities. In these roles, she was successful in advancing research and teaching support for faculty, advancing interdisciplinary collaboration, and strengthening graduate student life and development. She earned her B.A. (1992) from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. (1997) in developmental psychology from the University of Virginia. She began her career as a faculty member at the University of North Carolina in 1997, and in 2000 she joined the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychology. In her research, she focuses on the influence of race- and gender-related attitudes and beliefs on the development of children’s academic self-concept with a strong emphasis on parents’ roles in the development of these attitudes.
Elizabeth Cole is Professor of Psychology, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. She earned her doctorate at the University of Michigan in Personality Psychology and taught at Northeastern University before joining U-M in 2000. Her research has been published in journals in psychology and women’s studies, including American Psychologist, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, and Psychology of Women Quarterly. She is coauthor (with Andrea Press) of Speaking of Abortion: Television and Authority in the Lives of Women (University of Chicago Press, 1999). She is a past president and a fellow of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (American Psychological Association Division 9), and a consulting editor for Psychology of Women Quarterly. She served as the associate dean for social sciences and the interim dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and is currently the Associate Chair for Diversity Initiatives in the Department of Psychology. Her scholarship applies feminist theory on intersectionality to social science research on race, gender, and social justice. Her current project aims to complicate current debates on free speech on college campuses by considering the issue through the lens of feminist psychology.
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