Media credit: Danielle Towers | Photo editor assistant
The Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Administration hosted an online webinar on Thursday on teaching and discussing racial justice in public administration.
Professors at the University of Cincinnati and Hunter College said public administration officials could find inclusive ways to research and teach about equity when addressing racial justice through a program of more comprehensive teaching and reform of research standards. Andrea Headley, Assistant Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, and James Wright II, Assistant Professor at the Askew School of Public Administration at Florida State University, moderated the Event.
Tia Gaynor, associate professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, said faculty should embed racial equity and justice into all conversations because of their impacts on the lives and jobs of academics in fields like public administration. She said the Ohio State Legislature is currently writing a bill to prevent the teaching of “divisive concepts” such as the critical theory of race, racism and slavery – legislation that would jeopardize her work as a social justice educator and human rights educator. liberal “gut” arts in Ohio, if passed.
“It is extremely important not only to explore these conversations, but also to situate racial justice and racial equity in all conversations,” she said.
Gaynor said faculty can teach racial justice in the classroom through courses that allow students to delve into issues of inequity while inspecting a diverse selection of materials and resources focused on racial equity. She said incorporating conversations about racial equity into the program allows students to better understand the historical context and current events and how various spaces can expand collective knowledge.
“We have a responsibility to help our students make the connection between what we teach, what we want them to learn and what we see happening in society today,” Gaynor said.
Brandi Blessett, associate professor of public administration at the University of Cincinnati, said exposing students to issues of race and equity was critical because K-12 education has whitened understanding the history and trajectory of the United States. She said teaching different ideas from multiple perspectives allows students to look at information differently.
“There are so many other people in so many other communities who have contributed to our society, to the makeup of our institutions and to the way we understand where we are today,” she said. .
Blessett said that because government bureaucracies are hierarchical, researchers need to start listening to the community members they seek from the bottom up rather than from the top down in society. She said the people most directly related to the issues would be best equipped to create strategies for success while working directly with individuals to understand day-to-day challenges and build personal relationships.
“I think it’s becoming really important for us to be mindful of how we as researchers get into these spaces claiming to do racial justice or racial equity work,” she said. declared.
Karina Moreno, professor of urban policy and planning at Hunter College, said she observed how people struggled to respond neutrally to issues of racial justice and fairness when working with minority populations in the stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. She said public administration is not an objective environment because communicating directly and intentionally with an individual does not allow for a neutral position.
“We live in an insidious world where we talk about race without ever talking about race,” she said. “It’s like a code, and so I think there is something very important to be deliberate and determined.”