The University of Kansas is seeking Social Justice Fellows, the Office of Multicultural Affairs announced recently.
The social justice fellows programs gives KU faculty and staff the opportunity to “conduct a critical examination of themselves and their role in systems of oppression.” In order to apply for the program, applicants must list their pronouns, describe their identities, and detail what skills they would like to refine through the program.
“We are working to educate faculty and staff on campus,” OMA Director Precious Porras said. “The social justice fellows allow us to build an army of informed allies who are also committed to creating a more inclusive campus.”
Porras doesn’t say which parts of campus aren’t inclusive or what the non-inclusive segments of campus are missing, but 2016 fellow and the executive associate to the vice provost for faculty development Jenny Mehmedovic said the program helped open her eyes wider.
“I constantly engage with the question of why it is easier for me to hear some voices and not others,” she said. “In my work now, I strive to leverage what I have learned in service of creating a more equitable and inclusive community where all faculty have what they need to succeed.”
The program is now in its third year. It was created after a 2015 town hall meeting on race, respect, responsibility and free speech.
“The town hall spurred a lot of conversation, and many people wanted to know how they could become more engaged in these topics as well as in efforts to create a more inclusive environment,” Porras said. “Current events demonstrate there is still a strong need for this instruction as well as a demand for it.”
The fellows meet for two hours, twice each month during the spring semester in addition to completing extensive reading assignments. The goal, according to a press release, is to develop skills to advocate for systemic change. About 60 KU faculty and staff members throughout the university have completed the program. They’ll accept up to 35 for the 2018 program.