As part of the dean’s message in February 2021, the McKay School of Education released a draft of its Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Statement with the purpose of promoting a culture of love and unity within the school. Along with that statement, we also have a Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) Committee that has been working hard to implement this statement throughout the school.

In addition to our MSE DIB Committee, all five MSE departments currently have, or will have, a department DIB Committee. The goal for each committee level within the MSE is to include student, faculty, and staff representatives in order to gain a greater understanding of the needs of everyone involved. 

Here is an update of what each department has been doing to promote diversity and inclusion within their departments and classrooms:

ComD has already started including student advisors in their department DIB Committee, and they revised their mission statement to include “belonging” as one of their core values. To increase diversity, they hired a Spanish/English bilingual clinical educator, met with the University Accessibility Center, initiated a student support group, and have had transgender voice clients in their clinic for two years. Additionally, they are revising admissions processes to be more holistic and are implementing training—including microaggression courses created by their professional organization (ASHA)—with students and faculty.

CPSE has been working specifically to address diversity. To emphasize inclusivity, CPSE hired an outside gender expert consultant who guided department members through discussions about power structures, cultural norms, gender biases, and gender inequity. After intensive listening and learning from the gender expert consultant, CPSE established a social committee whose primary purpose is to organize activities that provide opportunities for faculty and staff to interact in less formal settings in order to build trust, belonging, and inclusion.

EdLF’s School Leadership Program committee has focused on remodifying their coursework to develop their school leaders to meet the CAEP standard of leadership in diverse contexts. For example, they have integrated a department version of the MSE diversity statement into their course syllabi, included class readings from researchers of diverse backgrounds, and brought in school leaders from diverse populations as guest speakers. Additionally, EdLF has leveraged and expanded their professional networks to include BIPOC, female educational leadership scholars, and other researchers who act as allies for culturally responsive leadership.

IP&T has a goal to touch base with each of their students in a non-academic setting each semester to see how each student is doing emotionally and to ensure a feeling of belonging in the department. One committee member will be dedicated to working specifically with international students, who have struggled in IP&T since the beginning of the pandemic. 

TEd has a number of faculty members who are integrating information and discussion into their classes that highlight issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging as it pertains to students that the department’s preservice educators will be teaching. Along with incorporating insightful discussions in the classroom, multiple faculty members and graduate students in the department have published extensively in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

The MSE PR and Communications Office has been emphasizing diversity, inclusion, and belonging in all the material they produce. For example, they initiated the Smile campaign to promote belonging and friendliness in the McKay School this year, through which they have hosted a door decorating contest and produced content that promotes creative ways to connect with others, such as through smizing. They also use their social media channels to celebrate heritage months by sharing relevant classroom resources that promote diversity, spotlighting diverse MSE students, and providing historical highlights in the realm of education. 

In order to expand recruitment and retention efforts of students from minority and BIPOC communities, the recruitment department hosted a SOAR summer barbecue, which featured a presentation and follow-up communications for high school students from minority backgrounds. The department has also participated in the Latinos in Action program by giving presentations that provided handouts with information about MSE programs. Additionally, the McKay School Peer Mentoring program, which has been run through the recruitment department, helps students from diverse backgrounds or who are first-generation college students to navigate the university and their majors. The program provides students in the peer mentor program with needed study materials to help them prepare for the Praxis exam required for graduation.

If you have ideas or suggestions for the DIB Committee, you can reach out to your department’s DIB Committee representative:

ComD: Connie Summers
CPSE: Beth Cutrer
EdLF: Mike Owens
IP&T: Peter Chan
TEd: Cecilia Pincock