Wilder School Town Hall, “Let’s Be Part of the Solution”
June 9, 2020
More than 50 faculty, staff, and alumni joined Dean Susan Gooden in a Wilder School Town Hall Friday, June 5 to discuss how we can actively contribute to achieving a healthy society. Like COVID-19, institutional racism does not take time off. But, also like COVID-19, we can aggressively work together to assure its demise.
The four solutions-oriented discussions via break-out rooms were facilitated by members of the Wilder School community, based on the following topical areas:
- Student Support
- Teaching Curriculum
- Community and Alumni Engagement
After the discussions, each group reported out suggested action items:
Student Support: 1) Being more diverse in the way we do outreach to students, giving special attention to marginalized communities; 2) Being open to students and to hearing what they need; 3) Acknowledging that representation matters.
Teaching Curriculum: 1) Assess all Wilder School classes and curriculums to look for ways we can incorporate race and racism issues; 2) Develop stronger reading resources including articles and books; consider a Wilder School shared book, similar to VCU’s Shared Book; 3) Develop ways to support faculty in both talking about and teaching about racism.
Research: 1) Develop a system to inform the WS community about faculty individual research; 2) Look for new partnerships and collaborations in research, consider payment for ongoing research participants; 3) Look for collaborations in order to develop cross-discipline research grants; 4) create an annual race and equity poll, and be certain to have diverse voices in its creation.
Community and Alumni Engagement: 1) Acknowledging that we need to start by getting our own house in order at VCU; 2) Create an online toolkit with items such as how to write a policy brief, how to work with legislators; 3) Create new ways for alumni to get involved through lunch and learn series, community service days, and creation of special funds to which alumni can contribute.
What are the next steps? Action Teams will be formed for each of the four areas. If you are interested in joining an action team, please email Katie Huynh with your first and second choices by June 15.