The College of New Jersey Logo

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu

HSS Anti-Black Racism Committee 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: 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.

Sources:

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 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.

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

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

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

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

Academic Year 2020-2021

Assessment

Members: 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

Members: 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. Currently developing a Question Bank for Faculty 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

Members:  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

Members: 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.]

Top