Skip to main content

College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Race and Ethnic Studies

The University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences established a new Race and Ethnic Studies program to support the study of race, ethnicity and indigeneity in the United States and around the globe.

Operating as an interdisciplinary academic program in the College, the program provides administrative leadership to existing and emerging curricular offerings, faculty scholarship and hands-on learning focused on race, ethnicity and social justice.

Tom Morgan, associate professor of American and African-American literature in the Department of English, was appointed the program’s director. His appointment extends through the 2022 spring semester, with a national program director search planned for 2021-2022.

Morgan’s teaching interests also include Native American and Asian-American literature. He co-chairs the University’s annual Native Peoples of the Americas Colloquium with Tereza Szeghi, associate professor of English.

“The creation of the Race and Ethnic Studies program marks a renewed commitment in the College to inclusivity in our curriculum and in our experiential opportunities for students,” said Danielle Poe, associate dean for curriculum and academic outcomes. “By establishing the program and naming Dr. Morgan as the inaugural director, the curriculum can be planned so that the minors complement each other, have common courses and experiences, and will have visibility for our current and prospective students.”

The program supports the University’s strategic vision to create a more diverse and interculturally inclusive campus, and to expand intercultural and global engagement. It also will assist students in developing the types of intercultural competencies that are sought by employers, and are essential to the University’s mission of serving the common good.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to the core values of the University of Dayton,” Morgan said. “Education that advances the work of making our community truly inclusive embodies the Marianist values of social justice that we champion.”

Morgan will work with an advisory committee of faculty and staff from across the University to ensure that the program’s curriculum and co-curricular opportunities will be part of every student’s experience.

The advisory committee members include:

  • Julius Amin, professor of history, Alumni Chair in the Humanities
  • Larry Burnley, vice president for diversity and inclusion
  • Donna Cox, professor of music
  • Ione Damasco, professor, coordinator of cataloging, University Libraries
  • Daria Graham, associate dean of students and Office of Multicultural Affairs executive director
  • Denise James, associate professor of philosophy, Women and Gender Studies program director
  • Justin Keen, director of assessment and student-centered analytics
  • Leslie Picca, professor of sociology, Roesch Chair in the Social Sciences
  • Ernesto Velasquez, associate professor of philosophy

Graham said the program provides an interdisciplinary structure for students to learn about themselves and others in the context of race and ethnicity.

“It will not only serve to prepare students to enter a vast variety of professional fields, but will also address the University’s need for a program that’s solely focused on providing students with an understanding of race that is necessary to live, learn, love, work and compete in a global environment,” she said

Burnley said education reflecting a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion requires engagement with historical and contemporary perspectives from communities that are either absent or underrepresented in core curricula from grade school through terminal degrees.

“The importance of a strong and robust ethnic studies program cannot be overstated in terms of the contribution it can make in bringing these voices to the center of intellectual discourses in formal and informal modes of education,” he said.

Starting this spring, Morgan will represent Race and Ethnic Studies minors and majors at University admissions events, including the College’s admitted student days.

In fall 2019, he and several advisory committee members will attend the National Ethnic Studies Association’s annual conference to learn about best practices at other institutions for creating and building a successful ethnic studies program.

In the next year, the group will begin drafting curriculum and hands-on opportunities to create a new, interdisciplinary Africana Studies major, based on the University’s long-standing Africana Studies minor. Morgan also will help faculty create additional minors for students in the program.

In addition, the group will create curricular touchpoints that deepen students' intercultural awareness and competency, regardless of their individual majors or minors.

“I am excited for the many possibilities that this program offers: Making existing courses and curriculum visible in new ways; building new curriculum that will enhance and intentionally promote diversity, equity and inclusion work on campus; utilizing hands-on learning within courses to link theory with practice; supporting the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty and staff; and contributing to developing new forms of collaborative interdisciplinary work that will make us the ‘University for the Common Good,’” Morgan said.

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

Previous Post

Predicting Glacier Reduction

University of Dayton climatologist Shuang-Ye Wu is collaborating with colleagues at China’s Nanjing University to study the impact of climate change on Tibetan glaciers with a $552,620 grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Read More
Next Post

Performing Antiquity

A new book by a University of Dayton musicologist and dance historian spotlights the influence of a pioneering Dayton native on an ancient Greek music and dance revival in Paris during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Read More