CHHS DEI Profile – Dr. Michael Dao

Dr. Michael DaoMichael Dao – Department of Kinesiology

What is your role in your department/school?

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology

What would you identify as one of the most significant actions you have taken to advance the cause for diversity either in the classroom, your community or your profession?

Probably my attention to include readings from different authorities that represent the diverse classrooms at SJSU. I am attentive to including writers of color, indigenous writers, and women in my syllabus to ensure that students are engaging with a wide variety of voices.

How have you integrated topics of DEI into hiring new faculty and/or admitting students?

I think from the Department of Kinesiology we are very conscious to ensure that our hiring practices are underpinned by DEI initiatives such as highlighting DEI research and teaching from potential candidates and also making sure or job postings are posted on DEI websites

Tell us about how you and why you became attentive to DEI topics. What prompted this change in your department/school?  What did the process look like?

I became attentive as I grew up and became more engaged with critical discussions. I just came to the conclusion that there were historical, social, and systemic reasons for the inequities people face. As such, the university is a good place to start having more conversations to better dismantle these unjust institutions that we work and exist. I find that more departments are slowly realizing our role in the inequities that people face so it’s down to us to start pushing the needle a little. The process is an ongoing one but at least we have more awareness and pay more attention to the topics.

What support did you need to make it happen?  Did you draw on existing resources or examples that were helpful in guiding your change?

Institutional support is key. Having support from your department chair makes it easy to bring up difficult conversations that not all people are ready to engage with. I didn’t really draw from existing resources but I have drawn from the CEED committee and people in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Tell us one book, one article, one documentary, or one movie you’ve read or watched that you would like to suggest to others that helped shape your thinking about DEI work.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

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