St. John's Gate in the Spring

The School of Education Antiracism Statement and Action Plan

The St. John’s University School of Education condemns any form of systemic, overt, covert or structural racism. We have a responsibility as a Vincentian Institution to eradicate all forms of racism and ethnic oppression. Our vision in the School of Education is to promote “excellence and innovation in socially responsible education that fosters intellectual curiosity, advocacy, and leadership in the local and global communities we serve.”

Although these statements are significant, we recognize that change involves challenging and intentional work. The School of Education has an opportunity and obligation to address racist ideas, policies, and practices within our offices, the St. John’s University community, and our global community. The School of Education believes that every individual should make a significant contribution to building a community that embodies our Vincentian core values. Thus, the School of Education will use this moment to allow deep, impactful, sustainable change. We are committed to doing the work required to identify, discuss, and challenge any racist policies, ideologies, and practices that negatively impact how we engage with students, faculty, and staff in an effort to move forward as an institution that is culturally inclusive and free from racism.

Beginning immediately, we are launching an antiracist action plan, outlined below, to help provide the welcoming, accepting, and just environment within the School of Education. Systemic racism cannot continue. And together, we can help to ensure that it does not continue at St. John’s.

The School of Education Antiracist Action Plan

In his book, How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D., provides a perspective on what it means to be an antiracist by first defining the below terms:

  • RACIST: One who supports a racist policy or practice through their actions or inaction or by expressing a racist idea
  • ANTIRACIST: One who supports an antiracist policy or practice through their actions or by expressing an antiracist idea

An antiracist policy is any written or hidden rules, laws, procedures, process, regulation, or guideline that governs people. Every policy in our institution (including in The School of Education) produces or sustains racial inequity or equity between groups.

The below recommendations are concrete actions The School of Education will take to analyze and change the hidden and written polices or practices that do not move us forward to becoming an antiracist institution.

  1. Publish an antiracist statement and action plan. September 2020
  2. In collaboration with the Academic Fairness Committee, review or develop policies and procedures to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all students. Fall 2020 semester
  3. Implement an antiracist standing committee with a diverse group of students, faculty, and staff who will review and evaluate school-wide plans. In progress
  4. Include antiracism as a strategic priority within The School of Education (SOE) (AFAR) Completed as of 9/1/2020 Strategic Goals of the SOE
  5. Develop and implement a plan to educate faculty and staff on race, power, and privilege. September 2020, ongoing
  6. Short workshops held during Faculty Council meetings to help us better understand racist and antiracist policies, practices, and ideologies, including how to discuss openly and privately about the “ideal student.” September 2020, ongoing
  7. Publish and advertise all available scholarships for students on our website. September 2020
  1. Conduct a needs assessment and develop a comprehensive plan to address any gaps in which students are not able to critically analyze racist ideas, beliefs, and ideologies throughout their program of study. Department Chair’s Report, November 2020 Dean’s Council
  2. Develop a system to review policies and procedures to ensure they are antiracist. Department Chair’s Report, Council Meeting, Spring 2021
  3. Develop and implement a plan to consistently examine admission policies to ensure the process is fair and equitable to ensure historically marginalized groups have access and opportunity. Department Chair’s Report Council Meeting, Spring 2021
  4. Publish admission decision-making process to ensure transparency for prospective candidates. October/November 2020
  5. Develop a plan to make available all policies (handbooks) and procedures visible to all students (e.g., program page, hyperlink on syllabus LMS, etc.). Department Chair’s Report, November 2020 Dean’s Council
  6. Identify resources and develop protocols to support faculty to ensure syllabi, assessments, and other materials are antiracist. Department Chair’s Report to Faculty Council, Spring 2021

Annual Faculty Activity Report due to the Dean’s office in May of 2021


Goal 1: To provide technology-enriched academic programs, and innovative, flexible, scholarly pedagogical experiences that will ensure 100 percent of The School of Education’s graduates will enter the profession fully prepared to advocate for equitable social change.

  1. Purposeful design, teaching, and assessment that is engaging, meaningful, and accessible to all.
  2. Teaching that incorporates dynamic practices with an awareness of different learning styles.
  3. Using varied means of assessment to promote student academic success and well-being.
  4. Teaching that attends to students’ different social identities and backgrounds.
  5. Design, teaching, and assessment activities that deliberately cultivate an environment in which all students are treated fairly, have equal access to learning, and feel welcome, valued, challenged, and supported in succeeding academically.

Goal 2: To effectively integrate technology into a learning design that creates an active student learning experience.

  1. Internal or external professional development on the effective use of technology.
  2. Use technology to increase equity, inclusion, and to advance teaching and learning.
  3. Create a culture in which students are empowered to use technology in innovative ways.
  4. Develop a technology-enriched learning environment that enables all students to become active participants in managing their own learning.

Goal 3: To produce the highest quality of innovative research and scholarly activity that promotes equity and access.

Goal 4: To enhance our ability to become an antiracist College within St. John’s University.

  1. Examine curriculum (e.g., course content, syllabi, and resources) and implement a plan to educate students on issues of social justice and implications within their respective fields of study.
  2. Examine internal policies and practices and develop a plan to eliminate bias.
  3. Participate in internal or external training or workshops to understand implicit bias, microaggression, race, power, and privilege that will help advance racial equity.

As the Dean of the School of Education, I want to express my gratitude and acknowledge the members of the Antiracist committee who was essential in developing a comprehensive action plan that will move the School of Education forward. I am so grateful to their leadership and look forward to working with them in the future to assess our progress but more importantly to challenge us to continue to strive for excellence.  

Faculty Members/Administrators

  • Michael Downton, Ph.D. 
  • Ishita Khemka, Ph.D. 
  • Dr. Gina Cicco, Ed.D. 
  • Kyle Cook, Ph.D. 
  • Don McClure, Ph.D. 
  • Liz Chase, Ed.D. 
  • Aliya Holmes, Ph.D. 
  • Heather C. Robertson, Ph.D 


  • Van Havercome 
  • Remy A. Martin 
  • Sarah S. Ni Mhairtin 
  • Carline Bennett 
  • Denise Johnson 
  • Samaa S. Baig 
  • Valerie Williams-Sanchez 


  • Ashley Michel