July 20, 2021

SIU establishes new doctoral scholarship program for equity and social justice in education

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – This fall, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Education is launching a new doctoral scholarship program with a focus on educational equity and social justice.

“The fellows of the program will be prepared as academics to tackle structural inequalities in educational settings and to design and evaluate programs and practices that can improve access to education and provide educational opportunities. better and more equitable and success for all students, ”said the Dean of the School of Education. Mr. Cecil Smith.

The new program is a response to the challenges of diversity, equity and inclusion that Smith and his colleagues have observed around the world and nation.

“We asked ourselves, ‘How can we, as the School of Education at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, respond to issues of structural racism? ” “, did he declare.

“We want help to solve these problems in our country, and we believe that we can do it by capitalizing on our strengths. One of the best ways is to prepare academics to study the problems and to prepare policies to dismantle the causes of these problems.

Around three to five fellows will be selected each year, with the possibility of earning a doctorate. or Ed.D. Smith said that while there are a small number of academic equity-focused academic doctoral programs in education, the SIU’s stands out for two reasons:

  • Participating students will be fully funded scholarship recipients for up to three years.
  • The program will take advantage of the university’s location as a rural higher education institution. As schools in rural areas increasingly diversify, Smith said, the need for academics and emerging leaders working to ensure educational equity in various forms is particularly important.

The scholarship will train academics, teachers, human resource specialists and administrators for various careers in education, research and government agencies.

Smith and Kathryn Sime, director of development for the School of Education, worked together to secure funding, which includes tuition waivers, scholarships and a job as graduate assistants. In addition, fellows will receive training on the preparation of grant applications.

Smith said the new scholarship program was part of a more ambitious “grand vision” that he and others had for the School of Education. This vision includes an education policy center that will focus primarily on issues related to rural schools, diversity and equity. For example, he highlighted the disparity in school funding between different school districts across the state and the country. He said the goal would be for students to get involved in the center and its work, helping to find solutions to disparities and inequalities within schools.

A tradition of the SIU

The new doctoral program is both timely and necessary, as well as a natural step for the historically diverse SIU, according to Smith.

“Inequalities in access to education, adequate funding, and highly qualified, high-quality teachers remain a barrier for large populations across the United States. Racism, sexism and discrimination persist despite decades of legal and public policy initiatives and social activism, ”he said. “Because of these inequities, gaps exist between different groups of students, both in terms of access and achievement.”

He noted that the SIU has a long history of embracing diversity and that it is only fitting that the university be part of the solution to closing the gaps and eliminating the disparities. Founded in 1869, the inaugural class of 143 SIU members included two black students. Today, minorities make up nearly a third of the student body, and the university consistently ranks among the top higher education institutions in the country for the number of degrees awarded to students from ethnic and racial minority groups.

Complete study program

Smith said the program’s courses will cover teaching and research, as well as education systems and social learning theories. It includes a teaching learning focused on teaching diversity issues in education or the University 101 course.

Topics include:

  • Equity and access to education.
  • Gender, race and ethnicity.
  • Disability and neurodiversity.
  • Multicultural education: global / comparative / international education, anti-colonialism.
  • Public engagement and advocacy.
  • Reduction of success gaps.
  • Evidence-based policy and practice.
  • Democracy, diversity and social justice.
  • School culture, language policies, social contexts and schooling policies.

“The main thing I appreciate about this program is the opportunity to help students become critical educators and researchers,” said Saran Donahoo, director of graduate studies and student staff and professor of administration at the education and higher education.

To learn more about the new scholarship or to apply, contact Donahoo at [email protected]


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