Diversity in Action

At the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), inclusive excellence is found at the core of our community, academics, and student life. Our commitment to diversity goes way beyond theory. It touches the lives of underserved populations in tangible, real-world ways. Whether it’s alumni opening doors of opportunity for underserved segments, students blazing new trails of inclusive research, or faculty leading the nation-wide diversity conversation, Morgridge means more diversity that makes a difference. Read on for examples of what street-level inclusion looks like.

Bringing Alternative Education to Those in Need

Kaleen Barnett, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS) EdD alum, was selected to run the Colorado High School Charter (CHSC) satellite campus serving Denver’s low-resourced Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods. CHSC is a charter school for students who need an alternative academic environment to succeed and to achieve post-secondary goals. Barnett’s goal with the new campus is to “create a tailored curriculum in an inclusive environment that values community partnerships” and to “empower students to succeed in their life and positively contribute to their families and community.” The campus has partnered with the Colorado Construction Institute to provide vocational training, infusing the curriculum with individualized skill-building to help students reach future goals.

Cultural Competency Impacts Addiction Counseling

The Counseling Psychology (CP) Department has distinguished themselves by having eight CP students receive acceptance into the highly competitive National Minority Fellowship Program for Addiction Counselors (NMFP-AC). The fellowships are awarded by the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and seek to increase the number of culturally-competent master’s level addiction counselors available to serve underserved and minority populations. Morgridge student recipients will receive tuition stipends of up to $15,000, receive support to attend the NAADAC Annual Conference and participate in training and mentorship projects designed to enhance their inclusion competency in working with diverse cohorts and transitional age youth.

Increasing Success for Youth of Color in Las Vegas

Tara Raines, MCE assistant professor of Child, Family and School Psychology (CFSP), works with the city of Las Vegas and the Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice to create social service and assessment programs to aid youth of color who are arrested at disproportionately high rates. The programs Raines is creating address the lack of youth resources and create a pipeline for needs-based services, helping to lower the crime rate and increase likelihood of success.

Supporting Community Prosperity

The Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy (MIELL) is a unique, on-campus research and social policy institute dedicated to improving learning environments and outcomes for children, birth through age eight. The Institute is currently working to evaluate the JeffCo Prosperity Project (JPP) which serves low-income families experiencing suburban poverty in the Denver metro area of Jefferson County. The goal of the project is to reduce generational poverty by helping families achieve economic stability and support student academic success.

Students of Color Challenged to Pursue College

Julio Alas, Teaching Preparation Program (TPP) alum (MA, ’11), developed the DU Day of Action in 2013. The event introduces elementary school-aged students of color and first-generational students to the possibilities of higher education through interactive activities on the University of Denver campus. Since its inception, hundreds of elementary students have been empowered to pursue a college degree through the innovative program.

Minority Identity Gets Personal

Professor William Cross Jr. serves as a clinical professor for both the Counseling Psychology (CP) and the Higher Education (HED) departments. Cross is a nationally-renowned, award-winning theorist and researcher in minority identity development. He is editor of the soon-to-be published Meaning-Making, Internalized Racism, and African American Identity. Cross frequently pulls from his personal experience as a light-skinned black man navigating the social norms of the American civil rights era.

Morgridge College of Education Annual Report Portraits

Student Examines Library Diversity

Kawanna Bright, PhD student in Research Methods and Statistics (RMS), is collaborating on a grant-funded study with Amy VanScoy, PhD, Bright’s mentor and former supervisor at the University of Buffalo to explore the experiences of librarians of color in reference and instruction work. Bright presented the research at both the midwinter and annual American Library Association (ALA) conferences in 2016. She hopes to work further with ALA to examine issues unique to librarians of color and to better promote diversity in librarianship.

Empowering Individuals with Disabilities

MCE Dean Karen Riley, PhD, and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) faculty member Jeanine Coleman, PhD, are working on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant-funded project to develop better clinical trial measurement tools for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The work has already resulted in an innovative Continuing Education program focusing on healthy living and social development for adults with Down Syndrome.

How Race and Gender Impacts Identity and Perception

Bryan Hubain, Higher Education (HED) PhD candidate, is engaged in research that is both multifaceted and mutually informing. Hubain focuses on the intersections of identities and how specific intersections of marginalized identities influence an individual’s personal experiences and perceptions. His current dissertation research agenda focuses on a queer and intersectional analysis of the narratives of Black gay international students and racism in LGBTQ communities.

Graduate Plays the Race Card Project

Robin Filipczak, a graduate of the Library Information Science (LIS) program and reference librarian at Denver Public Library (DPL), produced a local installation of the Race Card Project. The Race Card Project is an initiative created in 2010 by Michele Norris, a former host at NPR, who describes it as “a place for people to talk about race and cultural identity in only six words.” The project is expanding the view of libraries beyond a repository for books; rather, libraries are true public forums that promote community connections, freedom of ideas, and civil discourse, and are environments well-suited to what host Filipczak calls “thornier” conversations.

Using Music to Engage Marginalized Students

David Kennedy, MA, Curriculum and Instruction (CI) alum (‘13) is pursuing a M.Phil /Phil.D while teaching at the University of the West Indies Mona, School of Education. Kennedy’s passion for immersing the arts into education led him to develop an arts and education project titled “Teach, Learn, Love Jamaica,” which integrates academic curricula with Jamaican reggae music and culture to engage traditionally marginalized students.

Campus-Wide Commitment to Diversity

Dr. Frank Tuitt, Sr. Advisory to the Chancellor and Provost and Director of the Center for Multicultural Excellence (CME), is a Harvard graduate who leads a comprehensive commitment to diversity and inclusion on the DU campus. In addition to his teaching role in the MCE Higher Education department, Tuitt serves as the senior advisor to the Chancellor as Provost on Inclusive Excellence. Tuitt’s research explores topics related to access and equity in higher education; teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms; and diversity and organizational transformation.

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