The NC State College of Education is committed to becoming an anti-racist college. In line with this commitment, Pack IDEAs newsletters provide resources for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Earlier this year, innocent Asian Americans were murdered in Atlanta, Georgia. They lost their lives in part because of unwarranted hate. The College of Education stands in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Standing up to hate crimes against the AAPI population is a part of the anti-racist movement. As a college community, we must continue to increase our awareness and demand justice.
In this month’s newsletter, we hope to bring greater awareness to hate crimes experienced by the AAPI community. We also hope to shift the narrative by recognizing and celebrating the contributions, gifts and talents this community brings to the United States and the world. The celebration of AAPI Heritage Month is an opportunity for us to increase our knowledge and celebrate the contributions of this population. It is also a time to sharpen our focus on the work that still needs to be done to stop Asian hate.
5 Things to Know About Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month
- Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month began as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week,” which was signed into law by President Carter in 1978. It expanded to become Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month following legislation in 1992.
- Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month includes people from an incredibly broad range of countries and regions in the world. Asian American and Pacific Islander American groups include people with origins in or connections to: all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
- The original legislation was spearheaded by a congressional staffer named Jeanie Jew. She pushed for legislation to be introduced by New York Congressman Frank Horton and California Congressman Norman Mineta, and in the Senate by Hawaiian Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Masayuki Matsunaga.
- Jew’s family history was central to this founding: her great grandfather, M. Y. Lee, had helped build the Transcontinental Railroad, but had also been killed in a period of racist violence against Chinese immigrants living in Oregon in the late 19th century, a horrifically common occurrence as U.S. residents expressed widespread hostility to immigration from Asia.
- May was selected as the month in order to commemorate both the arrival of some of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States in May of 1843 and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in May of 1869, in order to honor and remember the labor and sacrifices of more than 20,000 Chinese immigrant workers.
Source: “How One Woman’s Story Led to the Creation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month” from Time Magazine and asianpacificheritage.gov.
STUDENT AND FACULTY SPOTLIGHTS
In each newsletter, we highlight faculty, students and alumni who have expertise and experiences that align with advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the college. In becoming an anti-racist college community, we must deepen our commitment to creating and sustaining a healthy teaching and learning community that uplifts the humanity of all people, but especially Black, Indigenous and people of color who, due to structural inequities, are marginalized in education and society. The spotlight feature of this newsletter offers a counternarrative that celebrates and showcases the brilliance of individuals within our college community.
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: GEORGE DOU ’22MED
George Dou ’22MED
Higher Education Administration
What is your current role in the NC State College of Education? I am a first-year graduate student in the Master of Education (M.Ed) in higher education administration program.
Why is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in education important to you? There are many answers I could give to this question, but I’ll start with that it is my firm belief of education as a basic right. I believe everyone should have access to an education, and I believe that pursuing an education that is accessible and beneficial to every student requires the principles of DEI. Providing an enriching and quality education for everyone requires diverse perspectives, and it also requires the acknowledgment that the students we are serving are going to be diverse.
Failing to acknowledge this will continue to enable historic inequities where minoritized groups, their knowledge, their voices and their experiences are systematically silenced and disregarded. I believe in education as a force for good, but in order to accomplish that, DEI principles must be a part of my mindset and my practice as an educator.
Are you currently conducting research around the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion? If so, tell me a little about your research. As a current graduate student, the focus of my work and study does not involve research. However, one point of self-study that I have taken on is studying the presence of Asian American students and individuals in higher education, how the Asian American identity is navigated on college campuses and how Asian American identities are supported, for example. One salient point for me is the recognition that many colleges and universities still perpetuate historically problematic practices that erase the diversity of Asian American experiences. One example would be failing to collect disaggregated data regarding the Asian student population, and instead lumping Asian students together under a collective statistic. This perpetuates the model minority myth and erases the differences (i.e. rate of degree/educational attainment, financial ability, etc.) across Asian American subgroups which vary widely.
What are you hoping to accomplish as a result of your study and how do you hope it impacts the field of education and learners? Through my study, I am hoping to be able to open up discussions around the vastness and diversity of the Asian and Asian American identity and begin work on creating support systems and structures for Asian students.
Are there community projects and/or initiatives you are involved in that are related to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Tell me about those projects. I currently work as a graduate assistant for the Study Abroad Office. As part of my role, I work with our assistant director for diversity and inclusion. The office does a “Traveling While” series focused around different identities, and I am currently helping plan one focused on exploring mental health and wellness while traveling.
What do you hope to teach future educators and scholar-leaders about equity and inclusion in education? For me, I think one of the most important things is the recognition that equity and inclusion must exist at every level and every practice in education. I believe that DEI work must be seen as a daily practice and mindset. I believe that is important that we examine our own practices and scrutinize if they were built specifically with the acknowledgment of diversity in mind, rather than the assumption that a “one-size fits all” approach can effectively serve our diverse students.
For other educators and teacher-leaders who are interested in learning more about social justice and anti-racist education, what are two resources you would recommend? For perspectives from other anti-racist educators, I’d recommend looking at @antiracisteducationnow and @teachandtransform, who provide great insights, perspectives and resources about tackling anti-racism in higher education and creating a more equitable world for educators. For studying specifically Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) students, I’d personally recommend “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Higher Education: Research and Perspectives on Identity, Leadership and Success,” published by NASPA.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the College of Education community? It is important to value and prioritize your wellbeing. Your work can be your passion, but also remember that you come first as a person and human being. For those of us who hold marginalized identities and have to navigate systemic racism and oppression, it can be difficult and reignite scars of the past during our pursuit of anti-racist education. Hold your passion for the necessary work required to create a more equitable world, but also remember to hold space for yourself too.
FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: CRYSTAL CHEN LEE, ED.D.
Crystal Chen Lee, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor of English Education
Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences
How long have you been a faculty member at NC State? I have been a faculty member at NC State for 3.5 years.
Why are diversity, equity, and inclusion in education important to you? As a child of immigrant parents from Taiwan, diversity, equity, and inclusion has not only been important to me as a scholar but as a second-generation Asian American woman. Because of my lived experiences, my teaching and research is centered on how students from marginalized populations are able to amplify their voices. As an Asian American student growing up in the United States, I never had a K-12 educator that looked like me nor did I read a book in K-12 schooling that represented my cultural identity. I spoke one language, English, at schools, and spoke a mix of Mandarin Chinese and English at home. I lived in two worlds, and though I loved both worlds, I wondered what it meant to bring my home world into my schooling world.
Therefore, as an educator, it is important for me that all students are able to bring their full humanity to the classroom and to their work. I believe that when students are invited to bring in their multiple languages, cultures and experiences into our classrooms, DEI will become both a framework and foundation to the teaching and learning happening in educational spaces.
Are you currently conducting research around the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion? If so, tell me a little about your research. The driving force of my scholarship and research has been my passion for educational equity. Within this passion, my research agenda focuses on two strands: literacy and teacher education, with an intersection of community engagement and marginalized populations in each strand. The first strand focuses on how literacy, particularly critical literacy, can lead to increased literacy improvement and community engagement, particularly for marginalized students. Specifically, this strand examines how literacy is not separate from youth advocacy and leadership, but is rather intertwined.
The best example of this strand is my research project, the Literacy and Community Initiative (LCI), a collaboration between the NC State College of Education and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation (FI), that partners with community-based organizations (CBOs) to examine and empower historically and currently underserved youth voices. With Co-Principal Investigator Jose Picart, Ph.D., this interdisciplinary project amplifies youth voices through student publications, advocacy and leadership.
What are you hoping to accomplish as a result of your work, and how do you expect it to impact the field of education and learners? Our research from LCI has shown that the narratives of students in our community-based organizations are counternarratives that schooling institutions must pay attention to. For example, we have analyzed the narratives of Latinx immigrant students and how they have used their voices to advocate and lead their community. In other examples, we have analyzed the narratives of youth in urban communities in which they describe social inequities that affect their past, present and future lives. In all that we do, we hope that it is our student voices that will inform the practices and policies of the field of education. We must be better listeners to them.
Are there community projects and initiatives you are involved in related to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Tell me about those projects. Community extension and engagement outside of the university is the foundation to my research, scholarship and teaching. Because my work is centered around literacy, teacher education, community engagement and marginalized communities, I am passionate about research that supports outreach and extension. For LCI, our team teaches a 14-session curriculum and publishes a student-authored book in each organization per year. We partner with four wonderful youth-serving organizations:
- Triangle Literacy Council’s Bull City YouthBuild is a non-profit, nine-month education and leadership program in Durham for low-income youth who are not currently enrolled in school and unemployed. Through the program, youth gain academic and leadership skills through receiving their high school equivalency and building a house through Habitat for Humanity to give back to their community.
- Juntos NC works to help Latinx students achieve high school graduation and attend higher education.
- CORRAL Riding Academy is a non-profit organization that pairs rescued horses with adolescent girls in high-risk situations to provide healing and transformational life change through tutoring, mentoring and horse therapy.
- Refugee Hope Partners works with refugee youth and families in a holistic program that enhances local community partnerships through academic learning, mentoring, socio-emotional support and medical services.
We see our community-based organizations as strong community partners and we work together to develop a curriculum that meets the needs of students in their communities. In total, our team has put in over 200 hours of direct instruction in community-based organizations, served 60+ students and published seven books. We seek to learn from the diverse perspectives of our students.
What do you hope to teach future educators and scholar-leaders about equity and inclusion in education? How do you incorporate that into your instruction and curriculum? I hope to teach future educators and scholar-leaders that it is important to recognize the full humanity of students. In doing so, this means to interrogate and challenge our own curriculum, ask who is represented and not see texts as neutral. We need to ask, “Who is represented in the text? What voices are omitted and why?”
In committing to equity, we must also reflect on ourselves. One of my favorite quotes is from Paulo Freire, in which he says, “Those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-examine themselves constantly.”
I adopt these stances in the two doctoral courses that I developed and teach here at NC State: Critical Theory and Public Engagement and Critical Literacy for Social Change. For me, education, and particularly, critical pedagogy, has the potential to become one of the most powerful tools in transforming schools, communities and institutions today. Furthermore, I also am passionate about pre-service teachers and ask my students to take this critical stance in order to recognize the full humanity of their students.
For other educators and teacher-leaders interested in learning more about social justice and anti-racist education, what are two resources you would recommend? I highly recommend Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Gholdy Muhammad, Ph.D., that argues for a four-layered equity framework — one that is grounded in history and restores excellence in literacy education. My pre-service high school English Language Arts (ELA) teachers read it this year, and their teaching and learning has really transformed!
I also had the privilege of working with Chandra Alston, Ph.D., and Michelle Falter, Ph.D., on a white paper for high school ELA teachers called “Becoming an Anti-Racist ELA Teacher.” In the white paper, we include five steps on becoming an anti-racist educator. You can find our white paper and related resources here: https://ced.ncsu.edu/news/anti-racist-ela/.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the College of Education community? I am proud to be a faculty member of a university that seeks to learn and continue to grow in learning about anti-racist pedagogies. I am constantly encouraged by my colleagues and students.
RESOURCES FOR ADVANCING DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
For students, educators and leaders who are interested in learning more about advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion and anti-racist education, here are some resources recommended by Duo and Lee, as well as other resources around the AAPI community.
Resources recommended by Duo:
Resources recommended by Lee:
Media Resources related to AAPI Heritage Month and anti-Asian hate:
- “What my Asian and Asian American students want their teachers to know,” an article written by College of Education Doctoral Student Jennifer Mann, published in EdNC
- “Senate overwhelmingly passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill” by Alex Rogers from CNN
- “Asian Americans,” a five-hour documentary series from PBS that delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever
- “Dismantling Anti-Asian Hate Through Sound Science,” a series of papers from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and edited by Kevin R Carriere from the Department of Psychology at Washington and Jefferson College
- “‘We are crying out for help’: Actors, activists sounding alarm on surging attacks against Asian Americans,” a video feature from American Voices on MSNBC
- “As attacks against Asian Americans spike, advocates call for action to protect communities” by Harmeet Kaur from CNN
- “Attacks on Asian Americans during pandemic renew criticism that U.S. undercounts hate crimes” by David Nakamura from The Washington Post
- “‘Words matter’ as Asian American leaders urge action against hate crimes” by Vignesh Ramachandran from PBS
- “Asian Americans: Battling Bias,” produced by the CBS News Race and Culture unit, explores the discrimination the Asian American community faced in 2020.
Books, texts and publications related to AAPI Heritage Month and anti-Asian hate:
Resources for supporting Asian Americans and building an equitable and just society:
UPCOMING NC STATE EVENTS
Integrating Diversity and Social Justice into Your Practice
May 5 | Noon
The TELS Diversity and Social Justice Committee invites you to join them for “Integrating Diversity and Social Justice into Your Practice,” a panel of distinguished teachers, administrators and researchers, who will share best practices and practical strategies for making your teaching more equitable, anti-racist and socially just. Participants will have the opportunity to join breakout sessions after the panel to plan individualized next steps. Please register to attend this online event.
Decolonizing Course Syllabi Workshop
May 7 | 2 p.m.
Brian McGowan, Ph.D., an associate professor of education at American University, will lead a discussion on approaches to course design with considerations of culture and equity in education. This workshop, sponsored by the College of Education Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, will offer contemporary context that impacts teaching and learning and the need for decolonizing course syllabi, and will include content and examples of ways to design a syllabus with cultural considerations and equity in mind. Join via Zoom.
Anti-Racist Professional Development Workshops
Session 1: Implicit Bias Training
Monday, May 10 | 10 a.m.
Session 2: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy for the University Classroom
Thursday, May 13 | 10 a.m.
Want to end the semester in a reflective space? Want to spend the summer processing changes you can make for fall to help advance our college’s mission towards becoming an anti-racist College of Education? Join us for two interactive and engaging workshops from we are (working to extend anti-racist education). These workshop sessions are sponsored by the generous donations of a group of faculty members in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences (TELS), but are open to all faculty, staff and graduate assistants across the College of Education. Please register to attend one or both sessions.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR AACC AWARD RECIPIENTS AND NOMINEES!
The African American Culture Center (AACC) hosted its annual Ebony Harlem Awards of Excellence celebration in April. The event, a celebration of Black excellence at NC State, recognizes current NC State students, faculty and staff who reflect and represent AACC’s mission through leadership, dedication and talents. The College of Education was represented well with four award winners and two nominees.
Congratulations to our award recipients and nominees!
Graduate Student Impact Award:
- Chelsea Smith, Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development
Dr. Lawrence M. Clark Faculty Development Award:
- Marc Grimmett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Counselor Education
Graduate Student Mentorship Award:
- Joy Gaston Gayles, Ph.D., Senior Advisor for Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Professor of Higher Education
- Nominee: DeLeon Gray, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Educational Psychology
Undergraduate Research Award:
- angela gay-audre, Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development
- Nominee: Lisa Bass Freeman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
PROVIDE YOUR IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS
As we continue our work toward advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the college, the task force would love to hear from you. Please submit your ideas, suggestions, and feedback for what you’d like to see and experience for your growth and development, as well as what the college should focus on to improve the culture and climate.