Statement from Dean Heather Lattimer and Associate Dean Marcos Pizarro | July 13, 2020

Dear Lurie College of Education Students,

We hope you each are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones.  It has been an intense few months for all of us.  The protests and calls for addressing institutional anti-black racism and white supremacy have inspired SJSU and the Lurie College of Education to dedicate resources and significant energy towards taking our work for racial justice and equity to a deeper level.  We want to share what we are envisioning for the new year that we hope you will be involved in:

  1. First of all, we want to hear from you, current students and recent alumni, with your ideas, needs, and priorities: we will hold a college-wide forum, you can reach out to us directly, you can share anonymously via this Google form, and departments will also provide program-specific opportunities for your input.

  2. We are working with faculty and staff to confront all the different forms and manifestations of racism that have dominated higher education for far too long.  We will identify and address the language, norms, policies, practices as well as the underlying thinking and ideologies that perpetuate racism and oppression within our college, departments, and programs.  One specific example will be to increase access of historically under-represented students to Lurie College programs by rethinking admission requirements to reflect a holistic assessment of applicants’ potential and strengths rather than an over-reliance on standardized tests.
  3. We will emphasize and grow existing and newly created opportunities to both learn about and engage in racial justice work, including:
    • a) an anti-racist Inquiry to Action Group (ITAG) that will build on key racial justice readings;
    • b) film discussion groups that will similarly use innovative racial justice themed films to explore how we can build on their insights through actions in our daily lives and collective work as a college;
    • c) launching the newest program in the college, the MA in Emancipatory School Leadership program, which will be a training ground for principals and other school leaders to do innovative equity work in our surrounding schools;
    • d) an Ethnic Studies Residency Program in East Side Union High School District where teacher candidates in secondary social science will be trained to implement transformative approaches to ethnic studies to enhance engagement and success of students of Color;
    • e) the Impact San Jose fellowship, which provides mentorship and scholarships for those dedicated to working in historically underserved communities in the San Jose area;
    • f) the Lurie College Promise Group, which supports first-generation college students to achieve success as undergrads and beyond;
    • g) including students in shaping the vision for the college through the Strategic Plan work and other leadership initiatives;
  4. Through our Student Success Center, we are also building a support network with one-on-one and group opportunities for those struggling with the realities of our past and on-going personal experiences with racism, as we create pathways for collective efforts to confront and upend the ways in which our own programs and SJSU as an institution have perpetuated inequities.
  5. We are developing a resource guide to support the entire Lurie College community in our own learning to become racial justice educators, advocates and leaders because we see this as essential to our lifelong commitment to work for justice and equity through our learning, teaching, counseling, mentorship and advocacy.  More details on this will be shared soon.

It is our collective responsibility to actively engage in anti-racist work through our daily lives as educators, counselors, therapists, school and community leaders.  Lurie College is committed to growing in this work and supporting all members of the college in being fierce anti-racist advocates.  Please reach out to us with ideas, needs, suggestions, concerns or if you need any support in pursuing our shared goals for racial justice and equity, and feel free to use this anonymous Google form to give us feedback.

In Solidarity – 

Marcos Pizarro, Associate Dean – marcos.pizarro@sjsu.edu
Heather Lattimer, Dean – heather.lattimer@sjsu.edu

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