Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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Faculty, staff form anti-racist study group

In an effort to make UMKC’s writing curriculum more inclusive, members of the University Writing and Reading Board (UWRB) recently started an anti-racist study group.

The focus of the group is to critically examine writing curriculum and how we use language. Both UWRB members and non-members from around campus make up the group.

UWRB co-chairs Rhiannon Dickerson, Dr. Tom Ferrel and Dr. Henrietta Wood, founded the study group.

Rhiannon Dickerson

“Writing is power,” Dickerson said. “We both get power from writing and bestow power based on writing. Like most forms of power, there is great inequity in writing and in whose voices we privilege and whose we marginalize. We are interrogating our curriculum and our teaching to ensure that we are infusing inclusivity into our classroom.”

The idea for the group came in March after the three attended a guest lecture on infusing social justice into writing curriculum, led by Tina Iemma, an adjunct English professor at St. John’s University in New York.

Dickerson said Iemma recommended a number of readings directly addressing the writing classroom and ways to engage in critical reflection, as well as implications for writers of color.

The co-chairs decided to form a reading group to work through the suggested texts. These texts include “Students Right to Their Own Language” by Asao B. Inoue and “Anti-Racist Writing Assessment Ecologies” by the Conference for College Composition and Communication.

Wood Henrietta

Dickerson said the group encourages writers and writing instructors to reflect on writing as not only a tool of empowerment, but also a means of

Tom Ferrel

oppression.

“Disrupting cultural and linguistic power dynamics can strengthen discourse and make us a more responsive university,” Dickerson said.

The UWRB encourages members of the UMKC community to join. Those interested can contact the board for more information.

nmgvnq@mail.umkc.edu

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