IMPACT Academy among SIUE’s Growing Anti-Racist Initiatives

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Kathryn Bentley and Jessica HarrisProposals, objectives and tenets about dismantling institutionalized racism and minimizing, if not eliminating, personal negative and harmful racial constructs and practices have been reinvigorated at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. 

One such initiative, the Immersive Meaningful Practices for Accountable Campus Transformation (IMPACT) Academy, will utilize faculty as catalysts and leaders in transforming SIUE into an environment where racism and other forms of biases are not tolerated, according to Kathryn Bentley, MFA, IMPACT Academy coordinator, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Theater and Dance, and Black Studies program director. 

The IMPACT Academy is among several new initiatives launched by the Office of the Provost under the direction of Interim Assistant Provost Jessica Harris, PhD. “SIUE’s University Strategic Plan and Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan affirm our commitment to developing a diverse, inclusive and supportive University community,” said Harris. “Achieving this goal requires the engagement and support of the entire SIUE community, and especially the active participation of our faculty.” 

IMPACT Academy trainers will assist faculty colleagues with cultivating a more equitable and inclusive learning environment for students and working environment for faculty and staff, explained Bentley. 

“IMPACT Academy trainers will provide faculty and staff with tools and resources to build the awareness and competencies needed to foster cultural humility as the standard of interaction and practice in order to advance inclusion, equity and social justice at SIUE,” Bentley continued. 

The Academy’s objectives are to:

  • Offer accessible diversity and inclusion training and resources delivered through various modalities
  • Support the integration of knowledge, both in and out of the classroom, to better serve the academic and social needs of a diverse student population
  • Encourage faculty and staff to model cultural humility in their interactions with one another 

Training modules include:

  • New Faculty Onboarding: Inclusion, Equity and Social Justice
  • Introduction to Understanding Bias
  • Unpacking Whiteness, Privilege and Acceptable Responses
  • Using Communication to Build an Inclusive Classroom Online
  • Strategies for Making STEM Courses and Majors More Inclusive
  • Acting with Heart
  • Ally is a Verb not a Noun

The IMPACT Academy held its first workshop, “Using Communication to Build an Inclusive Classroom,” on July 23. The next modules will be part of SIUE Diversity Day, Oct. 14-15. On Oct. 15, “Inclusion, Equity and Social Justice at SIUE” will be presented from 10-11 a.m. and “Strategies for Making STEM Courses and Majors More Inclusive” will be held from 2-3 p.m. 

Other upcoming IMPACT Academy trainings can be found here

All training sessions have been developed and will be facilitated by the following faculty – the inaugural cohort of IMPACT Academy Trainers: 

  • Maurina Aranda, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences
  • Komie Bumpers, MA, instructor, Department of Applied Communication Studies
  • Lakesha Butler, PharmD, clinical professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, and School of Pharmacy director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Shelly Goebl-Parker, PhD, associate professor, Department of Art & Design
  • Carlee Beth Hawkins, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Psychology
  • Jennifer Hernandez, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Teaching and Learning
  • Timothy Lewis, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Political Science
  • John Matta, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Computer Science
  • Britt Peterson, PhD, Department of Biological Sciences
  • Laurie Puchner, PhD, Department of Educational Leadership
  • T. Snipes, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Educational Leadership
  • Ashton Speno, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Mass Communications
  • Elizabeth Stygar, MA, instructor, Department of Sociology
  • Ezra Temko, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Sociology
  • Laura Wolff, MA, instructor, Department of Economics and Finance

Applications for the next cohort of IMPACT Academy Trainers will be available fall 2021. Faculty at any rank are eligible to apply. Applicants are chosen based on several criteria including: a commitment to building an inclusive campus community and their willingness to facilitate trainings with other faculty.  

For more information, contact Bentley at kbentle@siue.e.du or Harris at

Kathryn Bentley, IMPACT Academy coordinator, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Theater and Dance and Black Studies program director, and Jessica Harris, PhD, interim assistant provost for Academic Equity and Inclusive Excellence.

Author: Admin