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HSS Committee Against Anti-Black Racism Actions and Reports

For our work, we rely on a set of shared definitions:

Antiracism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social systems, organizational structures, policies and practices, and attitudes, so that power is redistributed to abolish racial inequity.

Racism is race prejudice combined with social and institutional power, resulting in a system of advantage and oppression based on race. In the US context, racism involves the intentional and unintentional subordination of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color by White people. Racism is more than individual attitudes and behaviors; it involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices.  Systemic racism, also known as institutional racism, is the formalization of a set of institutional, historical, cultural and interpersonal practices within a society that places one racial group (White) in a better position to succeed, and at the same time disadvantages other groups (BIPOC) in a consistent and constant manner.

Whiteness is a representation of cultural hegemony, the process of establishing and maintaining power relations through the construction of race. Whiteness refers to the historical and cultural processes by which people of European descent become identified as “white” and established as the standard against which all other groups are compared.  White-dominant culture operates as a social mechanism that grants advantages, entitlements, benefits, and choices to white people solely because they are white. White people in the US hold most of the political, institutional, and economic power, and receive advantages that nonwhite groups do not.  Because their racial identities are normalized, persons who identify as white rarely have to think about their racial identity or the advantages they gain from whiteness.

White Supremacy is the ideology that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to people of color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. This ideology is rooted in the same rationalizations used historically to justify slavery, imperialism, colonialism, and genocide at various times in throughout history.  While white supremacy is commonly associated with extremist groups, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people have and benefit from structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.


Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, Dismantling   Racism   Works   web   workbook, Ibram X Kendi, National Museum of African American History of Culture

Lea, Virginia, Darren E. Lund, and Paul R. Carr, eds. Critical Multicultural Perspectives on Whiteness:  Views from the Past and Present. Peter Lang, 2018.


The work of the committee can be found in the Resources section of the website, in our meeting agendas, or within an academic year (by clicking on the academic years below).

Committee Reports

Academic Year 2020-2021: Final Subcommittee reports:  Assessment, Curriculum, Faculty, Student Life

Committee Actions

Academic Year 2022-2023


Academic Year 2021-2022

Task for each Team:  Identify best practice models (programs) at TCNJ and elsewhere that have incorporated anti-racist [advising/courses/structure of the major/School- and/or College-wide] practices and how those would work in HSS and at TCNJ.

For all Teams, there are working documents.  If you wish to review a working document, please reach out to one of the Team members.  To view Team goals and actions (completed and planned), please click on the name of each Team below.

Advising/Orientation courses:  Dr. Jess Barnack-Tavlaris, Dr. Lisa Grimm, Dr. Rob McGreevey, Dr. Simona Wright


    • To review the antiracist advising models offered by our comparator institutions
    • To identify best practices in antiracist academic advising
    • To identify ways to assess antiracist academic advising
    • To identify learning goals, outcomes, and assignments for the orientation courses

Action Items:

    • [Completed] Write report covering the following areas:
      • Review the websites and documentation that is publicly available
      • Review the academic literature on antiracist academic advising and consider the current TCNJ context related to academic advising
      • Review the academic literature and NACADA resources on the assessment of advising with specific focus on antiracist advising
      • Provide a rationale for modifying the existing orientation courses to address systemic racism
    • [In-Progress/Planned for Spring 2022]
      • Report findings to the committee
      • Consult with stakeholders, such as the Center for Student Success and the Educational Opportunity Fund advisors, and Assistant/Associate Deans to collaborate on transforming advising
      • To identify faculty advisor responsibilities and generate methods for communicating these responsibilities to faculty
      • To discuss ways for supporting faculty development with the committee
      • Develop assessment questions for a student survey and to recommend methods of data collection
      • Develop learning goals (Discuss possible learning goals with the committee and use this information to start to discuss and craft outcomes and assignments)
      • Develop outcomes and assignments

Course Development:  Dr. Pierre LeMorvan, Dr. Felicia Steele, Dr. Glenn Steinberg


    • Gather information from a number of sources about developing and revising courses (to make them more anti-racist).
    • Compile a one- or two-page, bulleted list of recommended practices to give to faculty who are considering developing or revising their courses (to make them more anti-racist).

Action Items:

    • We have examined recommendations and guidelines developed at comparator institutions and by professional organizations in the humanities and social sciences.
    • We have drafted a document and are in the process of refining it (including expanding on the details/rationales of some of the practices and investigating further sources).


Structure of the Major and Department Culture:  Dr. Leigh-Anne Francis, Dr. Janet Gray, Dr. Maggie Leigey, Dr. Shaun Wiley


    1. HSS should adopt a shared understanding of what counts as an “anti-racist” course.
    2. Students need multiple “touch-points” for learning about racism and centering Black lives throughout the curriculum.
      1. Incorporate anti-racist learning goals into introductory and foundation courses required for all students.
      2. Teach historical and contemporary examples of disciplinary racism into introductory and foundation courses.
      3. Highlight intersections of racism with sexism, classism, ethnocentrism, heterocentrism, and ableism wherever it is taught.
      4. Increase required and electives that cover anti-racism or center Black lives, such that students cannot graduate without taking courses that have anti-racism as a central learning goal
    3. Departments should fortify connections with African American Studies and the Dean should support these connections with resources.
      1. Develop disciplinary courses that draw on expertise in AAS.
      2. Identify and require correlate courses from AAS and AAS cross-listed courses that are related to the major.
      3. Reinforce opportunities to double major or minor in AAS.
      4. Develop models for co-teaching with faculty in AAS to increase capacity.
      5. Make (joint)-appointments in AAS and cluster hires across departments a priority.
    4. Faculty and departments should report to the community about their progress.
      1. Faculty should report on changes to syllabi and curriculum as part of reappointment and tenure and five-year review documents.
      2. Departments should report on curricular changes to the community as part of self-study and the strategic planning process.
      3. Departments should create an anti-racism strategic plan and present it to the HSS community for constructive feedback.
      4. Website should highlight all departmental changes with respect to anti-racism.
      5. Dean should incentivize these changes.
      6. Departments should respond to any recommendations made by the HSS Anti-Racism Committee.

Action Items:

    1. Create a list of recommended correlate courses for HSS majors
    2. Outline a plan for implementing antiracism workshops in Fall 2022
    3. Envision frameworks for informal dialogue, brown bags, peer mentorships (etc.) across departments to brainstorm about curriculum across disciplines
    4. Identify funding/resource support on campus for the committee’s work and AAS’s work in support of antiracism goals
    5. Identify practical next steps toward best practices for each department, based on review of literature and of departments at other institutions

School and College:  Dr Lynn Gazley, Dr. Mini McMann, Dr. Ada Onyewuenyi, Dr. Nick Toloudis, Dean Jane Wong


At the School/College level, we propose focusing on a few efforts aimed at setting us up for future work. These will require collaborative work across the whole committee:

      • Establish HSS anti-racist learning goals.
        • Should include clear guidance on what this looks like in terms of in-classroom practice, pedagogical outcomes, assessment, content, etc.
        • Ideally completed in time to inform the HSS strategic planning process scheduled to begin in Fall 2022.
      • Focus on the FYS/W program in two ways
        • Leeann Thornton has welcomed us to participate in creating and/or facilitating part of the new training for FYS/W instructors (Although the training is scheduled for Jan 13, this feels too soon. Ask to be included in the Canvas to see what’s there, have some conversations with Leeann about goals and ideas, and observe the January training. Aim to fully participate in the summer ‘22 training -Ideally, this will be a pilot for a larger roll-out with a wider group)
        • Consider a program to share Dr. Piper Kendrix Williams and Dr. Shaun Wiley’s syllabus as a model ***with permission from them!*** for other faculty wishing to teach antiracist FYS/W courses, with appropriate training, coaching, and other needed support.
          • Establish a practice of two tiered compensation for these efforts, in line with a commitment to no invisible/uncompensated labor:
          • Trainers/facilitators/coaches receive a stipend for their expertise and labor
          • Participants receive a smaller stipend

Academic Year 2020-2021

Assessment: Dr. Jess Barnack-Tavlaris,  Dr. Matt Bender, Dr. Lynn Gazley, and Dr. Ada Onyewuenyi

The charge of the Assessment Subcommittee is to assess where inequities exist in students’ academic progress and access to signature experiences (research, internship, honors designation, etc.). We are focusing on things that can be remedied at the departmental level or within Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

Goal 1: The charge of the Assessment Subcommittee is to assess where inequities exist in students’ academic progress and access to signature experiences (research, internship, honors designation, etc.).

Ask HSS departments for lists of course codes used for internship, research, and departmental honors experiences. Use these course codes to generate lists of students who have participated in these experiences over the last six academic years (2013-2014 through 2020-2021). Ask the Director of Faculty Student Collaborative for data on HSS student participation in the Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience (MUSE) from 2013 through 2020. Compare these lists of students with college-wide demographic data to determine inequities in access to and completion of these experiences for BIPOC, 1st generation, and transfer students.

Develop a survey for HSS departments that aims to determine (1) the mechanisms (informal and formal) and/or processes (application, word of mouth) for which students learn about and get involved in the above-mentioned academic experiences, and (2) asks how departments assess academic excellence (for honors awards, honor designation, etc.). Assess the results of this survey to determine inequities. Present this data to departments and request plans for dismantling these inequities.

[March 2021 Update: We are waiting on reports from each department about signature experiences and academic excellence (Due March 15). We have sent a request to CIE for demographic data on students who participated in Muse Summers 2014-2020. We will have the whole Task Force review our emails to R & R for I/IP reports and PAWS IDs that correspond with signature experience codes.]

Goal 2: Assess inequities in students’ academic progress toward degree completion and work with HSS departments to acknowledge and dismantle these inequities.

Ask HSS departments for lists of required courses for their majors that have high D/F/W and repeat rates (“kill” courses). Examine college data for the last six academic years ( 2013-2014 through 2020-2021) to assess inequities related to success in these courses for BIPOC, 1st generation, and transfer students. Present this data to departments and request plans for acknowledging and dismantling  these inequities.

[March 2021 Update: Progress on Goals 1 and 3 will inform Goal 2.]

Goal 3: Assess inequities in students’ completion of courses for which they have received an Incomplete (I) or In-Progress grade (IP)

Develop a how-to document that shows HSS departments how to run reports of their students who carry I and IP grades. Have departments disaggregate the data by BIPOC, 1st generation, and transfer status. Encourage departments to develop and implement procedures to track students who carry I and IP grades for more than one semester, and to develop a strategy for providing better support to these students.

[March 2021 Update: We will have the whole Task Force review our emails to R & R for I/IP reports and PAWS IDs that correspond with signature experience codes.]

Curriculum and Signature Experiences: Dr. Janet Gray, Dr. Lisa Grimm, Dr. Holly Haynes, Dr. Dave Mazeika, and Dr. Cynthia Paces

The charge of subcommittee on Curriculum and Signature Experiences is to support departments and faculty in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences as we engage in curricular review and revision to support anti-racist pedagogy, policies and practices.  We will also engage in TCNJ-wide efforts to change TCNJ policies and practices that are related to curriculum and the signature experiences.

Goal 1: Suggest racial climate items for end-of-course evaluation forms

Action Item:  We will support TCNJ efforts to add racial climate questions to the end of course evaluation forms through the governance process.  As this issue moves through governance, our subcommittee will mobilize to support the inclusion of the questions and encourage HSS participation.  Additionally, we will provide recommended optional questions for use in Canvas in Fall 2020.  These optional questions are for use by the faculty member only and will not be shared with Chairs or administrators.

[March 2021 Update: Racial climate items were developed, discussed by the Task Force and distributed to HSS Faculty in November 2020. Developed a Question Bank for Faculty with supporting materials that can be accessed from Evaluation Kit]

Goal 2: Determine faculty and departmental anti-racist course capacity

Action Item:  We will develop two survey instruments, one for departments and one for individual faculty, in Fall 2020.  The surveys will ask departments and faculty to reflect on their capacity to educate students on systemic whiteness, white supremacy, anti-racism, and anti-Black racism, with a goal of sharing results with departments.

[March 2021 Update: Faculty survey instrument was developed with Task Force feedback, and distributed to faculty. Data was analyzed and organized with reports sent to Department Chairs in December 2020. Chair survey was developed with Task Force feedback and distributed to Chairs (due April 15).]

Goal 3: Revise Overload Process

Departments vary in approval rates and we have very little data on the number of students who are eligible for overload (in terms of GPA and units) but are denied at the department level.

Action Item: Starting Fall 2020, The overload process will be described as an application process and not an approval process.  All interested students will be able to apply directly to the Dean’s Office for overload.  Associate Dean Lisa Grimm will send Department Chairs a notice to either meet with the student for advising or to approve the student request.  From a student perspective, this should be less intimidating and less cumbersome. There will be no form with signatures, just a short application in Qualtrics.

[March 2021 Update: New process implemented in HSS in Spring 2021.  Data for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 analyzed and compared with a report presented to the Task Force.  New language describing overload process was shared with Program Assistants for Advising Newsletters, posted on the HSS website, and shared with other key campus stakeholders for feedback: EOF, CSS (Pride Mentors, Cooperman), and Bonner.]

Faculty:  Dr. Piper Kendrix Williams, Dr. Glenn Steinberg, Dr. Shaun Wiley, and  Dr. Simona Wright

The charge of the Faculty Subcommittee is to help to recruit, hire, support, tenure, mentor, and celebrate Black faculty (and African American Faculty in particular). The committee is also charged with developing initiatives to train, support, and hold faculty accountable for their anti-racist practice. Given our charge, the Subcommittee will work closely with Departments and Hiring Chairs, Human Resources, and the Division of Inclusive Excellence.

Goal 1: Create an ongoing training program to support faculty and staff in cultural competency, anti-racism, and social justice.

Develop and implement a year-long training program for existing faculty and staff.

Develop and implement a training program as part of orientation for new faculty and staff.

Develop and implement a training program for anti-racist advocates, who will be responsible for supporting anti-racist efforts in departments (in terms of hiring, curriculum, and climate) and holding others accountable for racist behaviors (e.g., assisting in reporting related to TCNJ’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace/Educational Environment).

Goal 2: Recruit, hire, support,mentor, tenure, promote, and celebrate Black (and, specifically, African-American) faculty.

Advocate for a targeted tenure-track hire for AfAm-Crim: [Action: AfAm Studies made a request to the Provost to hire Michael B. Mitchell.]

Curate lists of diversity-focused job boards in each unit.

Join the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.

Include Black students on search committees and compensate them for their work.

Create and implement anti-racist training for members of faculty searches.

Create a new faculty fellows program for Black faculty, including faculty whose teaching, scholarship, and service promotes anti-racism.

Create one or more named professorships for Black faculty whose teaching, scholarship, and service promotes anti-racism.

Provide automatic resources for Black faculty (e.g., SOSA, MUSE, Sabbatical).

Provide an annual report of the progress of the major initiatives/hiring/support strategies etc.

Reconsider and revise how PRCs and the dean use end-of-term student feedback in personnel reviews for Black faculty, who frequently receive racist feedback from students.

Goal 3: Hold faculty, staff, and students accountable for anti-Black racism.

Clearly communicate procedures for TCNJ’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace/Educational Environment (e.g., place them on syllabi and in departmental and school communications, as well as on an easily-accessible website).

Advocate for a revision of the end-of-term student feedback forms to include a question concerning the racial climate of the classroom. [Action: Steering included a request in the Student Feedback charge to CFA, which was approved.]

Student Life: Dr. Tao Dumas, Dr. Mindi McMann, Mrs. Dee Dee Miles, Dr. Felicia Steele, and Dr. Nick Toloudis

To identify opportunities to improve the experience of students of color in classes, majors, and student groups that operate in concert with HSS and to identify HSS policies and procedures that may adversely affect students of color. As a subcommittee, we assert that we cannot presume to understand exactly what our students’ experiences are like without hearing them and making them part of the conversation. Our recommendations regarding student needs are based on our perceptions (as faculty and staff) of those needs. Until we know how students experience our specific institution, our recommendations are necessarily provisional and based on scholarship rather than testimony.

Goal 1: Assist in the establishment of funds to support honor society costs

Work with HSS administrators, honor society advisors, and the development office to establish funds that will cover the costs of honor society fees for students and procedures for those funds to be applied automatically for students in pre-identified groups (e.g. EOF, Cooperman) and by application for other students to ensure broad access to student involvement in those areas.

Goal 2: Develop “Hidden Curriculum” Modules for instructor use

Work with HSS faculty to develop materials that illuminate the “hidden curriculum” for students.

HSS faculty should rename “office hours” to “student hours.”

Goal 3: Develop assessments of departmental cultures

Develop a battery of questions for faculty and staff to assess departmental cultures (e.g. speaker series and students’ level of participation in identifying speakers; departmental cultures of student-faculty interaction; departmental grievance procedures).

Develop a corresponding battery of questions for students to assess students’ sense of autonomy and privacy, their sense of involvement and being represented in the department, involvement in student opportunities and groups, and sense of safety and trust with faculty and administrators.

HSS should ask institutional research for the following data: D/W/I rates across demographics as well as Academic Integrity Violation data across demographics.

[March 2021 Update: Drafted student survey questions and contacted IRB with questions.]


School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Social Sciences Building, Room 302
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628