Academic showcase at FPU brings speaker on race

  • Manya Whitaker will speak at Franklin Pierce University during the school’s academic showcase on April 17. COURTESY PHOTO

Thursday, April 06, 2017 3:3PM

During its 2017 Academic Showcase, Franklin Pierce University will welcome developmental educational psychologist and author Manya Whitaker, Ph.D. to its College at Rindge campus to host a series of faculty and student workshops that will culminate in a community keynote address. The student workshop, “Showing up to Show Out: Student Empowerment and Student Responsibility” and faculty workshop, “Beyond Race: Unpacking Whiteness in the Classroom,” will be held on April 17, prior to the Academic Showcase.  

“Showing up” is designed for undergraduate students across demographic groups to discuss how collective action can facilitate change. The workshop focuses on students’ responsibility and active engagement in their own learning to create the college experience they want to have. Through small and large group activities and conversations, students will develop strategies for self-empowerment, for cultivating and inclusive community, and for appropriately addressing issues of inequality with faculty and administrators. On the heels of the University’s A.L.A.NA (African-American, Latino/a, Asian, Native American) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award celebration, these workshops continue important inclusive community work.

“Beyond Race” is designed for faculty and administrators to help understand how systems of privilege and power coalesce to create inequitable learning opportunities for students. The focus of the workshop is to identify specific policies and procedures in place at the institution that may disenfranchise select segments of the student body. Participants will leave the workshop with concrete strategies for acknowledging their own positionality, honoring student difference, and creative inclusive and empowering classrooms.

“Twenty-four percent of our campus is non-Caucasian, which is surprisingly diverse for rural New Hampshire,” said Dean Kerry McKeever. “We must be able to identify and address our own biases in order to create the most inclusive population and supportive environment possible, which makes Dr. Whitaker’s expertise and the resulting workshops crucial for our community of students and educators,” McKeever continued.

The local and regional community are welcome to attend Whitaker’s keynote address on April 18 at 7 p.m. in Spagnuolo Hall entitled, “Deconstructing Disruption: Student Activism and Faculty Passivism.” This presentation will speak to the recent activism on college campuses, highlighting the causes, the process, and the outcomes. After a brief historical overview of past student-led movements, Whitaker will discuss how such activism is an integral part of social justice pedagogy, noting in particular, student and faculty responsibility in ensuring a just society.  Whitaker attended Dartmouth College where she received her BA in Psychology before attending Vanderbilt University for graduate school. At Vanderbilt, Whitaker received an MS and Ph.D. in developmental psychology in addition to completing considerable coursework in the department of Teaching and Learning. While in graduate school she worked as a cognitive skills trainer and educational consultant before completing a two-year post-doctoral fellowship. She is now an Assistant Professor of Education at Colorado College.Whitaker’s book, Learning from the Inside-Out: Child Development and School Choice, describes the intersection of development and educational decision-making for parents/families of children in grades PK-12. To speak with Whitaker prior to or following the keynote address, and/or participating students, faculty and/or staff following these workshops, please contact Brianna Graves.