There is no question the racial injustices plaguing the United States these past few months have been a call to action for everyone. As racial tensions throughout the country continue to rise, various faculty and committee members from the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences have been making efforts to work towards more equitable programming, seeking out solutions to issues of racial inequality within academia and providing resources to help encourage and promote racial equity within the department and within NC State Extension programming.
Dr. Kim Allen, and other AHS faculty have identified a number of steps to promote equity and inclusion. Here are a listed few which includes, but is not limited to:
- Include teaching policies and practices related to racism in AHS courses.
- Review and update peer evaluations of teaching to mirror our departmental values related to justice/equity.
- Training for teachers on how to combat racism in class and in our programs.
- Create spaces of belonging that celebrate the uniqueness of all students, staff, and faculty through signage, messaging, and direct action.
- Encourage Inclusive Teaching Certificate training/Teaching for Social Justice
- Complete a curriculum review of academic programs, ensuring we cover history of racism and anti-racist practices in family science and agriculture.
Dr. Annie Hardison-Moody and other faculty members have committed to working on racial justice initiatives within the research environment of the department. These faculty are working on crafting a statement on social and racial justice that can be used to ensure department processes reflect AHS commitments, working on new standards for mentoring and advising research assistants and graduate students to better support BIPOC students, and working together to learn more about how others are creating diverse and equitable research teams and collaborations, so that they can draw on these models in their own work and research.
The AHS Extension Committee has also done their fair share as it relates racial justice efforts. Dr. Maru Gonzalez and many others have partnered with North Carolina A&T to create webinars geared towards advancing understanding of issues related to racial justice specifically and diversity, equity, and inclusion in general and 2) engaging in action and sustainability planning. Many other extension committees members have leading racial justice initiatives such as the facilitation of professional development sessions to increase racial understanding. Others have developed anti-racism resources to be shared with Extension agents and Extension Master Food Volunteers. Groups like #PassTheMicYouth launched a Juneteenth Art Activism Challenge- this challenge was a call for black youth submissions of original art focused on the theme liberation. Additionally, podcast and blog posts have been created to further spread the message of racial inequity and expand the voice of black youth.
While there is still so much work to be done, the department has begun to create a space where all voices are heard and valued.
For more information about the departments racial justice efforts as it relates to teaching, research and extension, please contact Dr. Kim Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org, Dr. Annie Hardison-Moody, email@example.com or Dr. Maru Gonzalez, firstname.lastname@example.org.