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Academic Affairs | Lessons of Ferguson

Where Do We Go from Here?

Our hope in the future springs in part from our belief in a progressive society, in history’s march toward a golden millenium.  The events of Ferguson, 2014, expose and challenge this belief. If Ferguson is a failure of education, then as scholars we must take up the challenge Ferguson presents.  We must lead our students and our professions in examining the lessons of Ferguson through interdisciplinary lenses – humanities, social sciences, sciences, education, health – we must show that our fields are not dead words on a page, but alive and full of ideas with revolutionary potential.  WE can make Ferguson the tipping point that invigorates social action.  WE can pick up the banner of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and move the social justice agenda forward.  WE can ensure that the tragedy and suffering in our nation’s heartland is not in vain.

On this site, Trinity’s faculty and instructional staff will discuss their responses to the issues and challenges raised by the events in Ferguson, Missouri, in summer 2014.  We welcome you to check in regularly and engage with us as we learn the lessons of Ferguson.

Essays

Ferguson’s Lessons for the Fall Semester
President Patricia McGuire

Campus Events

September 26 at 5pm (Social Hall) 
The Trinity community is invited to attend “Constitution Day and Ferguson Revisited“. An event sponsored by the School of Professional Studies.

Thursday, October 9 at 10:30am (Rose Parlor)
Dr. Diana Watts, Associate Professor and Program Chair of Business Administration, and Dr. Shizuka Hsieh, Assistant Provost for the Sciences and Associate Professor and Program Chair of Chemistry, are co-hosting speaker Dr. Mary Collins, a post-doctoral researcher at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.  Environmental justice is just one of the many civil rights issues raised by the events of Ferguson, and Dr. Collins, an up-and-coming talent in the field, hopes to excite and inform both business students about the significance of science and science students about the socio-ecological relevance of their work.   Dr. Collins’s talk will address the relationship between poverty and toxic emissions (pollution) by industrial producers.

Thursday, April 30 (Time/Location TBD)
The School of Education will host a Graduate Research Colloquium on the theme of poverty, homelessness, and education.  The colloquium will include faculty presentations, a keynote speaker, and candidates who will be invited to present the results of their research projects.

Class Projects

The College of Arts & Sciences

  • Ms. Wendy Bilen, Assistant Professor of English, will host author Susan Shreve on November 15 in her class ENGL 150:  Writing About Literature.  Author Shreve will present her recent book, A Student of Living Things, about a DC shooting.  Professor Bilen will then lead the class in a discussion of the emotional impact of violence on communities.  This event is courtesy of the PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools program.

The School of Education

  • This year, School of Education faculty has chosen to focus on the following theme: “Poverty and Homelessness in Washington, D.C.: The Impact on the Education and Mental Health of Children and their Families, Finding Solutions and Identifying Possibilities.”  Homelessness and poverty have significant impacts on educational readiness and attainment and on the mental health of those suffering from these conditions.  Throughout the academic year and at this colloquium, we will ask and address the following questions:

What do we know about these impacts?

    • How can we—as teachers, curriculum specialists, administrators, and counselors—identify and address the causes and the outcomes of poverty and homelessness?
    • What should we know about the physical, mental, psychological and spiritual impacts of poverty and homelessness so that we are prepared to support individuals in our professional roles?

Dr. Cynthia Greer, Associate Professor of Counseling and Educating for Change, will explore Ferguson as a part of the School of Education’s year long theme focusing on poverty and educational equality.  Dr. Greer will present a graphic from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania along with the article The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates (published in The Atlantic, May 14, 2014) in her Cultural Diversity course to engender critical examination of the impacts of racism and structural inequality. The class will particularly examine Coates’s call for a spiritual renewal as a form of reparation.

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Questions may be directed to Academic Affairs at AcademicAffairs@trinitydc.edu.

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