Archive for the 'Alumni Voices' Category

Dwyane Wade LIVE TO DREAM Summer Reading Program: Reflections from Christine Reinders

Christine Reinders holds a Master of Arts in Literacy and Director of Instruction license from the College of Education. During the academic year, she is the Literacy Specialist at Lake Shore Middle School in the Mequon-Thiensville School District. Since 2016, she has worked with Dr. Kathleen Clark as the Director of Curriculum and Professional Development for the Dwyane Wade LIVE TO DREAM Summer Reading Program in the Hartman Literacy and Learning Center. Although the Center is not running this summer due to COVID-19 restrictions, we asked Christine to share some insights as the LIVE TO DREAM reading program hits its fifth anniversary.

DSC_2406Marquette Educator: What do you see as the benefit to the community (students, children, leadership team)?

Christine Reinders: The Dwyane Wade “Live to Dream” Summer Reading Program is a tremendous gift. The program gives young children, who often feel challenged in the area of literacy, the opportunity to grow in their reading and writing achievement, but also feel success. For many children, our program is the first time they’ve felt success in their academic journey. Once students feel success, they grow more self-confident and more willing to take on new academic challenges. While our program grows students’ reading and writing achievement, which is crucial for success in the 21-century, it also plants the seed of life-long learning.

What is your favorite part of the program?

I love being a part of the ​Dwyane Wade “Live to Dream” Summer Reading Program for many reasons and I cannot identify just one aspect as my favorite. Working alongside my mentor and Director of the Hartman Center, Dr. Kathleen Clark has been very rewarding. Dr. Clark possesses a wealth of knowledge and I continue to grow from her year after year. Additionally, educators participating in the summer reading program are eager to grow in their professional practice, and I love that I am able to share my knowledge and experiences with them. The children are always amazing. Many of the students participating in the Dwyane Wade “Live to Dream” Summer Reading Program feel challenged in the area of literacy. I love and cherish the days when our students begin to feel success as a reader and writer. Suddenly there are more smiles and bouts of laughter, and soon their self-confidence begins to shine through. It’s the most rewarding aspect of the entire summer and I am so fortunate to be a part of it.

What opportunities do you see for the future of the program?

Honestly, the future of the program is contingent on funding. With continued funding, we can continue to strengthen the literacy achievement of children living in the City of Milwaukee. In the future, I would love to use students’ growing strengths in reading and writing to foster learning and growth in other content areas. I dream of developing a social studies and socio-emotional hybrid curriculum that would give students the opportunity to learn about strong leaders and provide them with ways in which they can use their literacy prowess to become a successful leader. I want students to feel that they are valuable members of society that have the power and knowledge to make the world a better place.

Thank You, Faculty

Stephanie Ganoe graduated this spring with a Master of Science degree in counseling from our Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department. In gratitude, she shared the words below.

university-student-1872810_960_720Marquette Faculty:

In my two short years being a part of the Marquette family I learned a lot from each and every one of you. I learned various therapeutic theories, counseling skills, ethical guidelines to adhere by, statistics and research methods, how to differentiate between diagnoses, and so much more. While I’m forever thankful to have had the opportunity to learn these essential skills that will carry me through my career, I am writing to thank you for teaching me so much more.

Thank you for teaching me how to be a upstanding member of my community and larger society. Thank you for teaching me to be an ally to those facing injustice and an advocate for change. Thank you for teaching me to speak up for those without a voice and amplify the voices of those not being heard. Thank you for teaching me how to shut up and listen. Thank you for pointing out my privileges and teaching me how to use them to help others. Thank you for teaching me to find the root cause of injustice and providing me with the skills to make change, even if that change is within myself.

I know that because of what you all have taught me that no matter what job I hold or where my career takes me, I will always be able to help others and fight to make the changes that our world needs. Our world desperately needs more people like all of you right now and I will never be able to thank you all enough for giving me even the smallest amount of your knowledge and skills to pass on to others. I will always try my best to carry what you all have taught me to help make this world a better place for everyone.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Stephanie Ganoe
Class of 2020

Reflections from a Double Alumnus

49502238502_d208a05167_oBy Brock Borga, Ed ’12 and Grad ’19

My name is Brock Borga. Receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Sociology and my Master’s Degree in Educational Policy and Leadership (with license in both principalship and director of curriculum), Marquette University has been a huge part of my life. I have been part off the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for the past eight years at St. Anthony School of Milwaukee. The first seven years of my journey at St. Anthony had me teaching 3rd grade, and I have moved positions this school year to the Dean of Instruction.

In my new role, I observe teachers every other week and have coaching sessions with the teacher after the observation. In these coaching sessions, we reflect on what teaching practices went well and what could have gone better. It is from those reflections that we create an action plan together and I come back to observe the action plan in action. I started off teaching in the Muskego-Norway School District, and while my time there was great, I didn’t feel connected with the students, staff, or community around me. I knew that there was somewhere for me to feel accomplished with my teaching. I remembered my time as an undergraduate at Marquette University and the schools I was able to work with through my courses, and knew that schools throughout Milwaukee were my calling. Because Marquette has instilled faith throughout its courses in my undergraduate courses, I began looking at schools through the Archdiocese. It is there I found St. Anthony School of Milwaukee. My time there has been wonderful. The students are eager to learn, the parents repeatedly state how blessed they are to be a part of the school, and the faculty is eager to continue their professional growth for the community we teach.

Before I was in this administrative position, I was been given additional opportunities to grow at my school that would not have been possible otherwise. I was able to have two student teachers from Marquette University be with me in the classroom (one from August 2017-January 2018 and the other from January 2019 – March 2019). It was an amazing experience not only giving back to Marquette, but practicing many of the leadership skills I was learning about in my graduate courses. I apply many of the practices that were discussed in my graduate courses in my new position, ranging from leadership styles to having effective conversations with teachers.

Marquette has helped me achieve these additional opportunities, outside of helping me achieve my administration license / master’s degree. I am both blessed and honored to say I have been a part of Marquette University for my entire undergraduate career and my graduate career. It is all thanks to the Catholic Schools Personnel Scholarship that I am able to continue my professional growth and achieve the goals I have set.

 

Getting to Know Sabrina Bartels

In honor of National School Counseling week, we’d like to introduce you to Sabrina Bartels, an alumna of our Masters in School Counseling program and a regular blogger for the Marquette Educator! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts

Helpinghands.svgI would like to think that I am a true Wisconsin girl. Over the years, I’ve acquired some specific talents that clearly indicate that I am from the Dairy State, such as drinking from a bubbler, making a brandy old-fashioned, and being able to name the Packers offensive line, just to name a few. I guess that makes it even more ironic that I, sadly, must admit that I am not Wisconsin born and raised.

Okay, half that statement is false. I am Wisconsin raised, but not born. See, I was adopted from South Korea when I was four or five months old, so part of my identity lies in my birthplace. But the vast majority of it comes from my wonderful parents and the good ol’ Midwest.

I grew up in Cudahy, which is home to Patrick Cudahy and their famous Applewood smoked bacon (fun fact: if you go by the Cudahy Family Library and the wind is just right, the entire parking lot smells like bacon. It’s pretty heavenly.) I lived with my parents, Jack and Diane – yes, just like the song! My dad actually grew up in Cudahy when he was younger, so I felt pretty cool being the second generation to grow up there. My immediate family is small, but we are pretty close. My dad and I used to watch Packer games together every Sunday, and if we couldn’t be physically together, we would text each other. My mom and I like cooking and baking together, or just catching up on our favorite TV shows. I got married in 2014 to my husband, Rob, and gained an awesome extended family, which includes my nieces and nephew. Getting to be “Aunt Sabrina” is probably one of my favorite things, and I love being able to spend time with each of them! Most recently, we went to a Monster Truck rally to watch the Megaladon truck (one of my nieces is big into megaladons right now.)

My parents always stressed the importance of hard work, education, and faith, all values that I found in common with Marquette University. I joined Marquette Nation in the fall of 2007, intent on becoming a news anchor or reporter. But by the time I hit my senior year of college, I was burnt out, and started doing some real soul-searching to pinpoint what I wanted to do with my life. I knew broadcasting wasn’t the life for me anymore – when you live with the mantra of “when it bleeds, it leads”, you hear a lot of depressing things – and I knew that I wanted to do something that would not only promote positivity, but that would make a difference in someone’s life. I had been a Burke Scholar during undergrad, and had spent a lot of time volunteering with the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter at Marquette, so I knew that working with youth was definitely what I wanted. After a lot of talks with advisors, hours of research, and some reflection, I decided to get my Master’s degree and become a school counselor.

It’s funny: I applied to two other schools besides Marquette, but I never actually thought about what would happen if Marquette rejected me. After four years of living on campus, I saw Marquette as my home. To me, that was my only option. I never considered another school as seriously. Maybe that’s because I remember applying for my undergraduate degree to many of the same schools, and feeling as though some of those schools strictly saw me as a number, or a certain “quota” that they had to meet. I felt like Marquette truly valued me as a human being, and I didn’t want to lose that connectedness. In the end, I was super blessed that Marquette said yes, launching me into a whole new chapter of my life.

I graduated with my Master’s in 2013, and have been working as a middle school counselor for the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District ever since. In some ways, it’s been a seamless transition; in others, it’s been quite an experience! Marquette prepared me to be a good counselor, but I’ve always maintained that no matter how much you learn in grad school, none of it compares to that gritty, real-world experience that you gain from the job. Books can only take you so far sometimes, and this is definitely a profession where some of it, you will have to learn from experience.

I love my job. I’m not just saying that; I really do. I love my coworkers, my admin, and my students. My admin are so supportive, and my coworkers are like family. We have a “work dad” who looks out for us and gives us advice, and a “work mom” and “work aunt” that are always there when we need them. And as for my students, they can be both a challenge and a joy. At my school, we “loop” with our kids, so I follow my students as their counselor from sixth through eighth grade. I think that’s one of the best things we do. I am able to build relationships with my students and their families, and in turn, they build a relationship with me. When my sixth graders transition to being seventh graders, they know that I will continue to be a constant in their academic careers. That’s really saying something, and I never realized how much of an impact that can have on someone. A lot of my students don’t have consistency in their lives – they may not know where their next meal is coming from, or which parent is going to be home that night – so it’s nice when they know that I will always be there for them.

And honestly, I have never looked back. Really. I have never once regretted leaving the world of broadcasting and becoming a counselor. And while counseling is all about the delayed gratification (most of my students don’t always listen to my advice right away, but I’ve had a number of high schoolers come back and tell me “your advice makes so much sense now!”) I’m okay with that. I know that in the end, I am making the world better. I am helping educate our future, and that is plenty of reward for me.

Plus, there is so much more on the horizon for myself, and for my district. We are moving further into the world of Project Based Learning, and are continuing to make fantastic strides in ensuring that all students have the mental health support that they need, whether that’s by having counselors, social workers, or school psychologists in the buildings. We have been starting up new programs at my school, including the Hope Squad and WEB leaders, to help give students more leadership roles in the building. Times are changing, and my district is ready to meet that challenge.

As much as I love my job, I promise that’s not all I do. I have a lot of different hobbies, and I try to fit them all in when I have time! In addition to spending time with family and friends, I love reading, cooking, writing, watching sports (preferably football or baseball, but it’s all about Marquette basketball come November!) and bike riding. Reading has always been my biggest passion though; my parents have fond memories of me reading “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” when I was in preschool. Though I will read almost anything, I am on a historical fiction kick. If you want a beautifully poetic book about World War II, please read “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. It is worth all the hype that surrounds it. I promise.

People always ask me what kind of advice I would give to future counselors, and it’s hard to say. I have so many things that I want to share, and if I had the chance, I would probably write a book about it. There is so much to learn, and yet, it’s not possible for you to learn everything. Like I said before, nothing prepares you for that very first day of being a counselor. Nothing can prepare you for how your heart will break when one of your students is being abused, or how sweaty you will become when you have to have a hygiene talk with a student. You have to be able to roll with the punches and just see how things turn out. I am far from a perfect counselor, but every day, I believe I learn something new that makes me better. A better counselor, a better daughter, a better wife, and a better person overall.

So maybe that’s my advice: learn something new every day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You won’t look dumb, or ineffective. Consulting with others is all a part of the growing process.

Oh, and if you worked with a school counselor when you were younger, tell them thank you. It will mean the world to them.

Happy National School Counseling Week!

Getting to Know Our Alumni: Meet Jason Curtis

We’re excited to introduce you to one of our alumni, Jason Curtis, this week in our “Getting to Know… ” series focusing on students, alumni and faculty staff of the College of Education. You can catch up on all of our past features, but read on to learn more about Jason!

IMG_4405

Jason Curtis, along with two alumni currently teaching at Oconomowoc High School

I have been in the Milwaukee area since I started at Marquette in the fall of 2003, but I am originally from Leicester, MA. I live at home with my amazing wife, Pam and my feisty and loyal dog, Linus. My parents, all my cousins and extended family still live in Massachusetts.

Currently I am the Principal at Oconomowoc High School. I LOVE MY JOB. I love working with teachers; helping them be proud of their job and taking their crazy ideas and making them a reality. The biggest challenge is helping adolescents navigate through this challenging world. Between social media, vaping, and other life challenges…it’s hard to be a teenager. I am so excited about our school’s new vision and strategic direction. Our staff has worked hard to establish our identity and this year we are taking intentional steps to helping our students live that vision.

I LOVED my graduate school experience at Marquette. I enjoyed networking with other aspiring leaders from different schools and developing our leadership skills together. I still rely on their friendship, expertise and advice! My journey to Marquette and the College of Education is a long story…However, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I knew Marquette was the school for me- so it all just came together. When it came time to explore graduate programs, I couldn’t imagine looking anywhere else!

Marquette alumni bring the Jesuit values and social justice lens that defines the College of Education to students, families and communities across the city, state, country, and even the world. The College of Education understands their awesome responsibility to prepare each student to be not only a teacher, counselor, or educational leader, but an advocate for those in need, a voice to speak up with those who have been silenced, and a champion for those who have been marginalized. It’s incredible to think that the values of the college live within these teachers, counselors, principals, and district leaders. As a high school principal, my Marquette education guides my work everyday and I now seek out Marquette graduates to staff my school.

When I am not in school, I love to travel. It’s hard to escape from the day-to-day routine of being a principal. You truly serve a community, and it’s hard to shut it off and walk away. However, when I travel- I escape, recharge and sleep in! Don’t think of traveling as exotic and far distances…it can be as simple as experiencing a new place just miles away!

My students, past and present, inspire me. They inspire me to be a better leader, teacher and advocate.

Getting to Know Our Alumni: Meet Natalie Collins

This fall, we are continuing our series getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Keep reading to get to know alumna Natalie Collins, Manager of Assessment and Data in the Department of Research, Assessment, and Data within the Office of Communication and School Improvement for Milwaukee Public Schools.

natalieI am originally from Arlington Heights, Illinois, and I have lived in Milwaukee for 25 years. I live in the Bayview neighborhood and have been there for 19 years. I have been married to my wife, Robin, for 2 years. We have 8-month old fraternal twins who were born in January: Rosalie and Clayton. I found myself drawn to Marquette University and the College of Education by the idea that we would be in classrooms every semester.

Currently, I work for Milwaukee Public Schools as the Manager of Assessment and Data in the Department of Research, Assessment, and Data within the Office of Communication and School Improvement. I like the people that I work with and their professionalism and passion for creating the best educational experience for the children of Milwaukee. We have an opportunity to mold our story to change the community’s perspective about the quality education we can provide for their children. Student attendance and academic achievement are the biggest challenges.

When I’m not in the classroom, I like to be around friends and family enjoy a good meal or just a good time. I am an avid reader and frequent the library on a weekly basis. I love to travel and have new experiences, whether their close to home or far away. In thinking about who inspires me most, it’s my own children.

 

 

Getting to Know Our Alumni: Meet Jen Binneboese

This year, we are spending time getting to know our alumni! You can get to know more of our students, alumni, and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Jen Binneboese, one of our teacher education alumni!

17968573081_36e5e9d841_bMy name is Jen Binneboese and I am a current school counselor at Washington Park High School in Racine, Unified School District.  I am from Island Lake, IL but have lived in the Milwaukee area since 1998 since transferring to Cardinal Stritch to finish my Bachelors Degree. I am the oldest of 4 siblings and am a First Generation college student. My family is spread across the United States, from Virginia to Oregon, which gives me a great excuse to travel! I have five nieces and nephews, which makes me an amazing aunt!

Working at Washington Park High School has been an opportunity I am so grateful to have. The diversity,  history of the school, the amazing staff, my support staff team are just a few of my favorite things about being a teacher there. There is never a dull moment within our school days which I love because it keeps everything exciting. Some challenges that I have experienced throughout my time there is that it is an urban, high needs school. Due to that, we have had declining enrollment which has meant cuts to my department. However, we went to a career academy model 4 years ago, which has been an exciting change!

My favorite educational experience was when I had a senior write an essay for a scholarship about someone who made a big impact on your life, that person being me. It was a truly touching experience and made me realize why I love this profession. One exciting opportunity I am looking forward to this upcoming academic year is that my role changed. While I continue to be the department chair, I do not have an assigned caseload of students this year. I am overseeing everything in my department and am acting as a Quasi Administrator this year. It is quite the shift, but time will tell how it goes!

I chose Marquette and the College of Education for various reasons. First and foremost, Marquette has a great reputation. I knew if I were to attend Marquette, I would be in great hands. Also, a friend of mine from my undergrad started attending Marquette and said many great things about the school. Outside the classroom, I love practicing my photography skills as well as travel. I love to explore new places and finding the beauty in the outdoors, specifically nature and architecture. My inspiration for working in education is my high school teacher. This teacher first sparked my interest for psychology. I worked briefly at an alternative school and decided to change my track from community to school counseling.

Getting to Know Our Alumni: Meet Jay Posick

This fall, we are continuing our series of getting to know our alumni! You can get to know more of our students, alumni and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Jay Posick, one of our alums!

I have lived in Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, and Waukesha, but have lived in Wisconsin since 1977. However, I currently live in Merton, WI. I am married to my wife of 27 years, Jenifer, and we have a daughter, Lauren, who is 19. I am currently the principal at Merton Intermediate School in Merton, WI. I enjoy learning alongside our students, staff, and families. I like the supportive community and the chance to celebrate the learning that happens in our school every day. Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 2.20.15 PM (1).png

My favorite educational experience is being in classrooms with our students and staff every day. We are embarking on determining ways that we can meet the social/emotional learning needs of our students and staff.  It’s so important as an educator to teach children and not just the content.

 I was drawn to Marquette as a track athlete and engineering student, but quickly changed to realize that teaching and education was really who I am and what I wanted to do. I am also a runner (I have a running streak that dates back to August of 1987) and some of our family trips have been to places that I have run marathons (New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati).

I am inspired to be my first principal as a teacher, Joe Vitale, and my first superintendent as a principal, Mark Flynn, as well as my #principalsinaction professional learning network on Twitter and Voxer. Any teacher or administrative candidates who would like to visit our school are more than welcome to contact me at jayposick@gmail.com or just stop by our school in Merton, WI.

Reflections of a Middle School Counselor

downloadBy Sabrina Bartels

When people ask me what it was like being a first year counselor, I often mention that there are some things grad school never prepares you for: that first, super awkward conversation about hygiene; the first time you have to call Child Protective Services about the abuse of one of your students; the patience you must show every time a kiddo tells you that another student is looking at them in a funny way … AGAIN. In some ways, working in a middle school is “baptism by fire” – you just have to jump in, do it, and reflect afterwards. The things you hear, the things you see – some of those things you really don’t know how to respond until you are in the middle of the situation.

For me, I also experienced a bit of a culture shock in my first job. I went to a parochial school for my elementary and middle school years. My entire 8th grade class was 15 students, the majority of whom I had gone to school with since kindergarten or first grade. All of our parents knew each other, since they volunteered at different school events together. Things changed slightly when I went to public high school, but in different ways. Sure, my graduating class was bigger (I think we were around 230 kids for my senior class,) but it was smaller than a lot of other schools. The city I went to high school in also has a very quaint feeling to it (I often tell people it was like living in the movie Pleasantville.) I loved it, and thrived there, but it still gave me a nice sense of security. I would say that it wasn’t until college that I began having classes with multiple students of different ethnic backgrounds, or was greatly exposed to people who didn’t have the same upbringing as I did.

So you can imagine my naivety (and shock) going into West Allis, which is a much more diverse area. There are some students at my school who are shouldering adult burdens that I can’t even imagine tackling when I was in middle school, much less now as an adult. Their strength and resilience are just amazing.

This past August, our school district asked Dr. Christopher Emdin, author and professor at Columbia University, to give a keynote to start the school year. Listening to him, I wish he had been there my first year of counseling. Not only is he a phenomenal speaker, he tackles the subject of urban education with humor, common sense, and empathy.

If you are a first-year educator, please do this: get a copy of Dr. Emdin’s book called “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y’all Too.” Read it. It will change your life and how you work as an educator, regardless of where you work. I promise you. And if you ever get a chance to hear him give a talk, please do it. He is wonderful.

I love his book “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood …”, and the chapter I found most prolific (for me) is called “Code Switching.” Dr. Emdin notes that not every student in every classroom feels validated for who he or she is. Some students come to school and can successfully navigate between their “home” culture and their “school” culture because they are very similar. I think about my own upbringing – my rules at home were pretty similar to what they were at school: work hard, listen to adults, ask questions, things like that. This is very different from some of my students. I remember one of my students telling me that school wasn’t important because it wasn’t teaching him about real life. When I asked what he meant by that, he explained that school was not going to teach him how to care for his younger siblings, stay safe in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood in Milwaukee, or help his parents with their financial struggles. To him, school was a barrier, an inconvenience that took him away from his real goals in life: get out of his neighborhood, help his parents, and look out for the little kids. I had never heard this before.

The idea with code switching is helping students consciously realize when they need to “code switch” from their home mode to school mode. It also invites teachers to learn the slang and culture of each of their students. Dr. Emdin gives a great example of his book: having students imagine themselves at the local park, watching people play basketball. Then invite the students to talk the way they would with their friends. Encourage them to use this as the “privileged” language in class for a while. After this, ask students to imagine themselves at a fancy Ivy League school with manicured lawns and meeting with the adults at this school. How would students speak then? What does that privileged language sound like?

I always like when my students come into my office using slang, even when I don’t know what it means. First of all, it is a great bonding opportunity with students – they can teach an adult some of the up-and-coming slang that is popular. (Of course, when I use these around my nieces, they roll their eyes at me and tell me I don’t sound cool …) Secondly, this gives me the chance to see where my kiddos are coming from. I remember one student telling me that the slang she used was directly from her family, who were all from a certain city in Mexico. She told me all about how the slang her family used was different from her close friend’s family, who was also from Mexico, but a different city. And the added bonus of staying up to date with the cool new terms? When I hear kids using certain slang in the halls, I can figure out what they’re saying and (for the most part) whether it’s a compliment or not.

A lot of Dr. Emdin’s book is geared towards teachers (I do not co-teach a class, for example), but I would argue that every educator could learn something from it. He has great insight on camaraderie and courage, which I also took some advice from, and think every educator – administrator, counselor, and teacher – could benefit from reading. It makes you reflect on your practice and how you can grow from it. I’m not saying that it will prepare you for everything (again, you will NEVER know what it’s like to have some conversations with students until that opportunity presents itself,) but it will give you a good heads-up about working in a more urban environment and what you can do to help build relationships with your students. I will definitely be using some of his tips and ideas with my new 6th grade class that just started at the middle school. I look forward to sharing how this works with them!

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Emdin, I encourage you to check out his website!

Racism On Our College Campuses: What Can We Do About It?

This post is excerpted from a post written by Dr. Ryan C. Warner (Class of 2019) that originally appeared on gradPSYCHblog.com as a part of the series, “CARED Perspectives,” developed by the APAGS Committee for the Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Posts in this series  discuss current events and how these events relate to graduate students in psychology. If you are interested in reading more, please see Dr. Warner’s full piece and follow him on Twitter!

RCP_9005By Ryan C. Warner

Similar to the rest of society, colleges and universities are not immune to racial discrimination. With “Blackface” party incidents and “noose” hangings making news at numerous universities all over the country, racially underrepresented students face challenges beyond the academic scope of tests, papers, and projects.

As a current graduate student of color who has attended various predominantly white universities, I can attest to the fact that racial discrimination can be displayed covertly (e.g., microaggressions) or overtly. These incidences have a profound impact of an individual’s well-being, and can impact their retention and life satisfaction. But the main question is, “what can we do about it?”

At the individual level, we need to all stand up to racial injustice when it occurs. Silence is compliance and only encourages and enhances racial injustice in the world. Individuals of all backgrounds and skin colors should point out bigotry when they see it, which will ultimately create social awareness and bring light to these issues.

At the institutional level, university leaders should make systemic changes to enhance inclusivity for students of color. One example may include requiring that all students, faculty, and staff attend diversity training focusing on racial equality and inclusion. Additionally, ensuring that campuses have a bias incident report system in place can offer a resource for students to document their experiences of racial microaggressions, which may assist with providing evidence that these incidences do in fact exist. This documentation may be useful with further presenting evidence for the need of diversity resources and inclusivity programming.

For additional resources please visit:

Dr. Ryan Warner is a graduate of the College of Education’s Counselor Education Counseling Psychology doctoral program


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