Proposal to Add Courses on Race, Racism to Graduation Requirements
By Donnetrice Allison
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Provost
Professor of Africana Studies and Communication Studies
In June of 2020, a group of Stockton University faculty and staff penned a document called, The Other Stockton. In it, faculty and staff of colored shared personal accounts of discrimination, micro-aggressions and other exclusionary behavior experienced in meetings, at social events, in hallways and in classrooms at Stockton.
We shared it with the entire campus community to a variety of responses. Some were “shocked and saddened,” some were apologetic, some were offended, some were in denial, and most were simply silent. Nevertheless, there were many who wanted to take action.
The then interim provost, Michelle McDonald, reached out to me to ask if I would consider taking on a leadership position to help usher in some needed change. I agreed but was immediately overwhelmed by all that needed to be done. I began making phone calls and sending emails, I combed back through The Other Stockton document and the promises and resolutions made during the spring and summer, to see how I could address each and every one.
Obviously, I could not. So, I eventually decided to refocus my attention on the one thing I knew best, curriculum. I pulled together a team of committed faculty and staff and went to work crafting a proposal that would make race and racism education a graduation requirement.
We decided the structure should be similar to the W1/W2 and Q1/Q2 requirements. Students would be required to take one R1 class and one R2 class before graduating. R1 classes would fully focus on issues of race and racism, while R2 classes would focus 25-30 percent of their class time on race and racism.
The goal is to ensure that Stockton University students understand the structural and systematic racism that has been engrained in this country and around the world, which brought hundreds of thousands of people to the streets in 2020.
Currently, the proposal for Race and Racism Education Across the Curriculum is being reviewed by the Faculty Senate and will be voted on during the March 12 meeting. If approved, we will offer a summer institute to assist faculty interested in offering an R1 or R2 course in fall 2021, which is when the requirement would begin with new incoming students.