Returning to the Core: Recognizing the “isms” in daily practice

  • Identifying Intersectionality:

    Identity dynamics at play Race, gender, cultural heritage. Each social identity we embody is not divorced from another. As student affairs practitioners it is our responsibility to identify the many lenses brought to our daily interactions and to acknowledge this reality for our students. Such dynamics have multiple implications and are present in many facets within the field. While it is important to foster environments that embrace discussions of identity, it is critical that we move beyond that to make space for the many dimensions such discussions and programming require. This need elicits a number of opportunities for specific functional areas. The Commission for Social Justice Educators encourages you to raise such questions and to identify measures to take action. You may find the following resource a helpful introduction: Crenshaw, K. & Harris, L. A primer on intersectionality [PowerPoint slides]. Paper presented at the White Privilege Conference. Retrieved from http://

  • Values & Politics: Approaching the work with intention

    At times the values of an institution of higher education can conflict with the personal or professional values student affairs practitioners embrace. Sometimes professionals must choose to uphold the values of an institution despite personal hesitations. For matters of social justice, this dynamic can be particularly tricky. As Bolman and Deal (2008) identify in their book Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership, cultural change within organizations is slow. While many practitioners push for increasingly socially just policies on campus, doing so may prove difficult when confronting adversity. The Commission for Social Justice Educators is a resource for campus professionals who seek allies and advocates for positive social change on campus at the individual and institutional level. Please subscribe to our newsletter and participate in our free Dial-a-Dialogue programs to engage in the conversation.

  • Criminality and Consequences on Campus: A second chance or reliving history?

    In an age of increasing risk management measures on campus, the impact to students with criminal histories is greater than ever before. More universities have toyed with the idea of implementing background checks in admissions policies. Students with prior felony offenses are often prohibited from employment on campus making them less competitive to the job market and at greater risk of becoming another attrition statistic. We encourage employers to hire students with felony records yet our campus practices often do not align with our message. Our campuses have a duty to serve both students and community. The question becomes, at what time does someone ever stop paying for their crime? We encourage you to check out Michelle Alexander’s (2012) book The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness.

  • Diversity, Multiculturalism and Social Justice: Finding the nuances in each

    Diversity. Multiculturalism. Social Justice. As practitioners, we see hear these buzz words across campus and often mistakably used interchangeably. Knowing the difference can help student affairs educators become better advocates for the students we serve and can encourage positive social change in many spheres. “Diversity” relates to the relative distribution of differences among members of given population or group whereas, “Multiculturalism” refers to the intersection of cultures. Social justice incorporates both, promoting the fair application of policies, opportunities and existing systems to ensure such social institutions do not oppress individuals or identity groups. For more information we encourage you to check out these resources: For more information check out these resources: Adams, M., Bell, L., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (2007). Teaching for diversity and social justice. New York, NY: Routledge. And http://