UVA EHD Launches New Speaker Series: Centering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education

Audrey Breen

The UVA School of Education and Human Development is launching a new series to bring in speakers who are both scholars of DEI in higher education as well as leaders in implementing initiatives to advance DEI.

On October 8, the UVA School of Education and Human Development will officially launch a new speaker series, Centering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education, that will bring three leading scholar-practitioners of diversity equity, and inclusion in higher education to the School. Estela Bensimon, university professor emerita from the University of Southern California and creator of the “Equity Scorecard” will be the first featured speaker in the series.

Created in partnership with the School’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), the Faculty Council, and the Dean’s Office, the series was created to bring in speakers who are both scholars of DEI in higher education as well as leaders in implementing initiatives to advance DEI.

“We are particularly excited to bring professors with portfolios of scholarly research who also have considerable experience implementing programs to center DEI in many central mission activities in higher education, strategies and tools for increasing diversity, the success of undergraduate and graduate students from traditionally marginalized groups, and building a more diverse faculty and organizational leadership,” said Brian Pusser, a faculty member in the higher education program and current member of the Faculty Council. 

Professor Pusser lauded Dr. Bensimon as one of the most honored scholar-practitioners of DEI in higher education. In her presentation she will draw from her latest book, co-authored with Tia Brown McNair, titled From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education.”  Dr. Bensimon will be followed by Franklin A. Tuitt, Ph.D., vice president and chief diversity officer at UCONN, in November and Ana Martinez-Aleman, professor and associate dean at the Boston College Lynch School of Education and Human Development, in February.

“My hope is that this series will help define our baseline shared understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion and how it shows up in our work,” said Robert Berry, professor and associate dean of DEI at the School of Education and Human Development. “Professor Bensimon’s work provides us an opportunity to better understand who we are. Once we answer the question ‘Who are we?’, we can work toward who we want to be.”

The series will provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to hear from thought leaders multiple times a year and then engage with that content together. Each scholar will engage in three sessions during their visit, including a general presentation and two working group sessions.

One working group will be comprised of School of Education and Human Development faculty, staff and students who will meet with the presenters to draw upon their research and experience in support of the School’s ongoing school initiatives.

“The invitation to all of us within the School is to actively engage with this series, including the lectures and other accompanying workshops,” Berry said. “Together we can take the thought leadership offered by these guests to reexamine our policies, our organizational structure and our organizational culture as we extend beyond the important elements of DEI like representation and access to the many ways DEI shapes our school.”

The second type of working group will build connections across Grounds and in the community with others working on centering DEI in the School of Education and Human Development and those conducting related research and developing programs in the University, focused on the centrality of DEI to the University’s mission.

“Our goal is for those attending any of the three sessions to continue to bring their energies and ideas together in support of our efforts to center diversity, equity and inclusion in SEHD, the University and beyond,” Pusser said.

Those who would like to participate in one of the working groups can contact Robert Berry, associate dean for diversity equity and inclusion, or their department chairs. 

Using Data and Inquiry Tools to Attain Racial Equity in Educational Experiences and Outcomes

By Estela Bensimon, Ph.D.
October 8, 1:00-2:15pm
Virtual Gathering
Registration is closed.
By Estela Bensimon, Ph.D.

Professor Bensimon invented the Equity Scorecard to help higher education leaders, practitioners, and faculty use data and the methods of participatory critical action research to “see” how racialization is embedded in their thinking, their language, their practices, and their outcomes. The Equity Scorecard tools were designed to engage teams of leaders, faculty, and staff ask the question: In what ways do our practices maintain racial inequity? In what ways can we center racial equity in our practices? The tools that comprise the equity scorecard support critical race sensemaking of student outcomes, hiring practices, policies, resource distribution, and teaching artifacts.

Upcoming Talks

Franklin A. Tuitt, Ph.D.
November 22, 2021
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at UCONN
Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, NEAG School of Education

Ana Martinez-Aleman, Ph.D.
February 23, 2022
Professor and Associate Dean, Faculty & Academic Affairs
Boston College, Lynch School of Education and Human Development