Within Element 3: Equity and Advocacy – Advocate for equitable academic, civic, and social-emotional outcomes for students who have been historically underserved by campuses, schools, and society, the two courses within my Educational Leadership Program which contributed the most to my development were EDU 605: Diversity in Education and EDPL 624: Human Resource Management in Higher Education Settings. Evidence of my growth within this element, are found within my personal commitment, increased democratic leadership, and advocacy skills, which may be directly attributed to the readings, class discussions and activities, and assignments from EDU 605 and EDPL 624.
Developing the ability to articulate a deeper understanding of equity and social justice in its many forms, as well as analyzing the deep rooted causes of oppression were routinely addressed within EDU 605. Within this course, we were each asked to discuss the first time we recognized diversity, or became aware that it was an issue within society during our Introspection on Diversity assignment. This was an interesting assignment, truly thought-provoking, as many cited incidents from childhood. Being able to pin-point this exact moment stressed the fact that issues surrounding diversity are not engrained in each of us from the start, but are rather due to outside influences which find their way into our lives. We each have an opportunity to react, either positively or negatively, and choose whether we expand these issues, or work to address them. Within EDU 605, we were also required to analyze our own experiences with oppression, through the Open the Doors assignment. This assignment asked each student to discuss a time in which they had a door “open” for them as well as a time they felt the door “closed” on them due to a reason outside of their control. This exercise provided every individual to reflect on a time in which they felt they were unjustly profiled to prompt an understanding for how others may experience such discrimination. Self-reflection in relation to diversity was a theme throughout EDU 605; however, we were also able to take this to the next step of exploring an issue of diversity for a group we were not a part of. I was able to focus my exploration on the Education of African American Males as a specialized population and further expand my knowledge of their unique needs.
While EDU 605 laid the foundation for many issues surrounding diversity, EDPL 624 provided an opportunity to learn how, as an administrator and a leader, to engage in hiring and promotion practices that are fair, inclusive, proactive, and non-discriminatory. This is evidenced through our development of a recruitment plan for diverse personnel and the development of a position description for such an individual. This class provided each student with the opportunity to practice honing their skills on hiring people through interactive classroom activities/role play, as well as discussions. EDPL 624 also allowed the class to explore evaluating an employee, to ensure that promotion practices were also fairly enacted in order to take action to fully support equitable campus practices.