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WCU Teacher Education Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Principles

Rationale for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Principles

WCU's Teacher Education program has adopted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion principles in order to clearly articulate our commitment to DEI within our teacher education programs.  We use these principles to guide our work in individual, institutional, and systemic ways, including but not limited to recruitment and retention, support systems, curriculum, pedagogy, field experiences, evaluation systems, and resource allocation. We commit to the creation of an inclusive community that centers equity and justice.

In WCU’s teacher education programs, we believe educators are front-line workers for creating a more equitable and just society.  We center diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our educational programs.  We recognize our responsibility in ensuring future educators understand the impact that teachers, schools, and educational systems play in the disruption of inequity or the continued perpetuation of marginalization.  Therefore, we commit to these DEI Principles with regard to our people, pedagogy, professional learning, and priorities. 

  • People – Our teacher education programs value diversity in candidates, faculty, and staff and will intentionally recruit and create systems that help retain diverse people. In our community we explore our own experiences and identities, examine our prejudices, and actively engage in critical self-reflection and growth.  We endeavor to cultivate teacher candidates with equity-minded dispositions who strive to create equitable classroom environments in which all students are valued and can be successful, who challenge inequities within schools, and who advocate for a more just and equitable society.
  • Pedagogy –We will teach asset-based, culturally relevant instructional approaches and model those approaches within our classrooms. We will provide field experiences that allow our candidates the opportunity to work with diverse students. Our curricula will explicitly address the impacts of intersecting, systemic forces such as but not limited to colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, bias against people who are LGBTQIA+, religious intolerance, and ableism that historically and currently lead to discrimination and injustices within schools and our larger society.
  • Professional Learning- The teacher educator faculty and staff will engage in continuous learning opportunities about diversity, equity, and inclusion, realizing the necessity for constant recalibration to meet these ends. Moreover, our teacher education faculty and staff will provide co-curricular learning opportunities for students about diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also commit to collaborating with regional school partners and community organizations to advance DEI professional learning opportunities for in-service educators and community members.
  • Priorities -The teacher education program will prioritize and support DEI-focused teaching, service, and scholarship and the faculty, staff, and students leading such work.

Our emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout all aspects of our teacher education programs will enable the cultivation of Culturally relevant, Asset minded, Technically skillful, and Student-centered educators.

Selected Literature Informing these Principles

Cochran-Smith, M. (1995). Color blindness and basket making are not the answers: Confronting the dilemmas of race, culture, and language diversity in teacher education. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 493-522.

Cochran-Smith, M., Shakman, K., Jong, C., Terrell, D. G., Barnatt, J., & McQuillan, P. (2009). Good and just teaching: The case for social justice in teacher education. American Journal of Education, 115(3), 347-377.

Cochran-Smith, M., Villegas, A. M., Abrams, L., Chavez-Moreno, L., Mills, T., & Stern, R. (2015). Critiquing teacher preparation research: An overview of the field, part II. Journal of Teacher Education, 66(2), 109-121.

Gorski, P. C. (2009). What we're teaching teachers: An analysis of multicultural teacher education coursework syllabi. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(2), 309-318.

Matias, C. E. (2013). Check Yo'self before You Wreck Yo'self and Our Kids: Counterstories from Culturally Responsive White Teachers?... To Culturally Responsive White Teachers!. Interdisciplinary Journal of Teaching and Learning, 3(2), 68-81.

Matias, C. E., & Mackey, J. (2016). Breakin’down whiteness in antiracist teaching: Introducing critical whiteness pedagogy. The Urban Review, 48(1), 32-50.

McNair, T. B., Bensimon, E. M., & Malcom-Piqueux, L. (2020). From equity talk to equity walk: Expanding practitioner knowledge for racial justice in higher education. John Wiley & Sons.

Milner IV, H. R. (2010). What does teacher education have to do with teaching? Implications for diversity studies. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 118-131.

Picower, B. (2021). Reading, writing, and racism: Disrupting Whiteness in teacher education and the classroom. Beacon Press.

Richardson, C. O. (2021). Tomorrow’s super teacher: changing teacher preparation to nurture culturally sustaining educators. Rowman & Littlefield.

Sleeter, C. E. (2001). Preparing teachers for culturally diverse schools: Research and the overwhelming presence of whiteness. Journal of teacher education, 52(2), 94-106.

Sleeter, C. E. (2008). 32 Preparing White teachers for diverse students. Handbook of research on teacher education, 559.

Sleeter, C. E. (2017). Critical race theory and the whiteness of teacher education. Urban Education, 52(2), 155-169.

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