University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter announced today that the Racial Literacy Roundtables in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Education and Human Sciences have received the 2022 Inclusive Excellence Collaboration Award.
The IECA, one of the President’s Excellence Awards, recognizes outstanding contributions across the NU System that advance diversity, access and inclusion. The award is given to academic and/or administrative departments or units that have collaborated to advance a culture of inclusivity for students, faculty and staff. Honored units, selected by a committee representing all four University of Nebraska campuses and the community at large, receive $25,000.
"Our mission at the University of Nebraska is to provide students with a world-class education that prepares them to be successful in work and life. That includes giving students opportunities to explore new ideas, meet people from different backgrounds, and engage in robust dialogue with their fellow students and faculty," Carter said. "UNL’s Racial Literacy Roundtables provide exactly these kinds of opportunities.
"This effort helps prepare students in the College of Education and Human Sciences to be outstanding teachers and leaders in our richly diverse world. I am pleased to recognize the college for its leadership, collaboration and commitment to our students and inclusive excellence across the University of Nebraska System."
Launched in 2019 with support from the NU System’s Inclusive Excellence Development Grants program, the Racial Literacy Roundtables have since hosted about 20 facilitated conversations for students, faculty and staff around topics related to race, diversity, equity and inclusion. The effort has grown in quality and impact, now engaging education students from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney as well in roundtable discussions.
The goal of each roundtable is to promote dialogue and thinking, and to help students develop skills to talk about issues that can be challenging, including with others who are from different backgrounds or with whom they may disagree. Speakers have included UNL faculty, leaders of diverse student groups, local teachers, and community members representing various communities and organizations like the Yazidi community and Lincoln Lighthouse.
Student feedback demonstrates the roundtables are having their intended impact. One student wrote, "I think it is important to remember that not everyone has the same experiences and we need to learn," while another wrote, "I loved hearing about the different strategies for conflict resolution. I had lots of different types of people in my breakout room and that was very eye-opening!"
Leaders of the Racial Literacy Roundtables will be celebrated at an event hosted by Carter later this year. Looking forward, the College of Education and Human Sciences plans to explore strategies for growing the reach and impact of the Racial Literacy Roundtables even further.