8 months ago

Message to the SOE Community from Dean Middleton

Dear School of Education Faculty, Staff and Students,

Typically, at this time of year we are celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates and reflecting on the successes and learning opportunities of the academic year.  Certainly, this year we’ve all had reason to be grateful for the efforts you’ve made in overcoming the challenges presented by the current public health crisis and to celebrate the end of a difficult semester.  However, today isn’t a celebratory moment.

I’m reaching out to you today in response to recent events – the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery as well as the dangerous false accusation against Christian Cooper in Central Park. These events represent a continuation of atrocities committed against Black people in our country based in prejudice, animosity, and systemic racism. It is important to recognize that the lives of Black people do matter, and our society does not always honor that fact. To our Black faculty, staff, and students, my words are inadequate to recognize your experience. My hope for each of you and your families is for safety and well-being during this turbulent time. The long-standing violence experienced by Black people is traumatizing and diminishes all our humanity. I recognize that educators must share in the work of dismantling systems of oppression and inequity that harm Black Americans as well as other minoritized groups.

At the heart of Education is the goal of creating a more just and equitable society.  I want to remind us that we have the power, both individually and collectively, to face this challenge with dedication and resolve. Each of our faculty members, professional staff, and students brings a unique perspective and set of talents to our School and to the Education profession. Through your teaching, scholarship, professional responsibilities, and future professional roles, you have the opportunity to impact the future and to advance the causes of justice and equity. As a School, we’ve taken some steps in this direction but need to continually improve and deepen this work. I will be seeking your input into specific actions we will take.

I want to recognize the leadership within our own institution through the compelling statement of Hunter College President Jennifer Raab.

I look forward to gathering soon to take up this important work.

For our students, you are invited to join me for an SOE Student Conversation with the Dean on June 10 at 5:00pm. Please RSVP for the event and more details will be sent to you.

For our faculty and staff, the SOE Equity and Advocacy Committee will be reaching out soon to invite you to join a discussion on next steps for action. I believe in the possibilities ahead for a more just and equitable society and will work with you to make them a reality.

Warm regards,
Michael Middleton