The university-wide effort for social justice, spearheaded by the coalition, will increase the value of an MBU education for students, further instilling inclusive, forward-looking leadership.
The coalition plans to jumpstart the process for faculty and students to use coursework to critically explore assumptions, reflect upon biases, and confront misunderstandings — leading to more transparent dialogue, respect for differences, and a desire to act for racial justice and equity. They are also researching anti-bias and other training opportunities for faculty and staff so that they are best able to support students inside and outside of the classroom.
In addition to preparing for students’ return this fall, the coalition has identified three overarching areas of focus to lay a foundation for the work ahead:
- Historical legacies: research and evaluate MBU’s 178-year history regarding institutional culture and climate through the lenses of race, equity, and social justice
- Inclusive educational experience: examine curriculum, co-curricular activities, and teaching practices to integrate racial justice equity that prepares MBU students to be culturally competent leaders
- University and community: examine MBU’s relationship with the Staunton region to establish the university as a model and resource for community engagement and racial healing
“MBU is connected to Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, and beyond not only through internships, faculty consultancies, and professional networks, but also in our efforts to support and build a just and caring community through service and outreach,” Owen said. “The coalition seeks to continue to explore and create ways in which we can pool our moral and practical resources — not only to confront hatred, discrimination, and the scourge of racism — but also to expand how we effectively teach and learn about equity, diversity, and social justice both on and off this college campus.”
University leadership and members of the Mary Baldwin Board of Trustees are actively supporting the coalition throughout the summer and fall, and Fox and other Trustees have also contributed a budget to aid their work.