In order to increase the diversity of our students, we have made a significant commitment to changing the racial composition of our faculty and staff. Since 2017, we have increased the percentage of faculty of color among our tenure line faculty from 26% (8) to 40% (15). The School of Education is committed to not only diversifying our faculty, but also building a critical mass of BIPOC faculty, to transform the culture of the school. We have made the same commitment to hiring staff, and almost 70% of our staff hired in the last three years have been people of color, and our staff is now 46% people of color. We see this commitment as critical to the successful recruitment and retention of students of color in our school.
Attracting—and supporting—graduate students of color is a central priority for our School of Education. These students bring a powerful combination of academic preparation and professional experience to their studies, enriching not only their classes and their cohorts, but other contexts of teaching and learning. They collaborate with faculty on research and scholarship, contribute their expertise to undergraduate teaching and learning, and also deepen conversations about justice and equity across our campus.
As a School of Education, we see the work of organizing for justice as ongoing work that grows out of a space of joy, acknowledgement of human creativity and agency, and our commitment to each other and our communities. This is hard work and doing this work with people from diverse backgrounds is both a gift and something that requires great intentionality. We hope that the space we are creating together here in our graduate school can support the University of Colorado in building the collective power needed to live our commitments to equity.
Drawing on scholarship and histories of activism, we start by acknowledging that the hierarchies that exist in our society—that support the view that some people's lives don't matter and others are much more valued—are deeply etched into our social structure, our day-to-day interactions, our policies, and our habits and dispositions. The violence that is supported through racial, gender, class, sexuality, ability, language, caste hierarchies affects our minds, our spirits, and our bodies. In our School of Education, we are striving to create a world where we can break down these hierarchies so that we can see diversity as a resource for imagining new ways of living together and being in community with each other.