Staff and Faculty Participate in Anti-Racist Study Groups

Staff and Faculty Participate in Anti-Racist Study Groups

5/21 – During the 2020-2021 academic year, Student Success Center (SSC) staff and College faculty participated in anti-racist study groups in an effort to help improve campus culture.

The idea for the study groups came about at SSC’s 2020 Academic Advising Council (AAC) Executive Board summer retreat. The team modeled the study groups after Ibram X. Kendi’s book titled How to Be an Anti-Racist.

“We wanted to be intentional in our advocacy for inclusivity and decided that a study group on the topic of anti-racism could begin crucial conversations among UNCW’s faculty and staff,” Student Success Advisor Mark Forbes said.

Six one-hour long sessions were held every other week throughout the fall and spring semesters. Forbes facilitated the conversations in both groups, which involved each group member highlighting their major takeaways from the assigned readings.

Anti-racism framework outlined in Dr. Kendi’s book provided clear directives and clarifying principles, including the principle that people, policies and ideas are either racist or anti-racist. There is no such thing as being “not-racist.” Kendi also argues that racist policies proceed racist actions, therefore we can advance anti-racism by changing policy.

“AAC’s anti-racism study group created an environment for difficult conversations,” Student Success Advisor Jason Porter said. “Difficult dialogue promotes the hope for change.” 

Forbes says of these conversations, “I taught sociology for 20 years but rarely discussed complex social issues with colleagues,” he said. “For me, the most valuable aspect of the group has been the opportunity to learn from my colleagues’ lived experiences, particularly from those who are members of underrepresented groups.” 

CHHS is committed to promoting long-term, meaningful change in the area of diversity and inclusion by infusing anti-racism principles into everything that the College does. It is the hope of the AAC that it can advocate for policy change that can help UNCW to be intentional in its anti-racism efforts.