2021 (2021-2023)

Social Justice in Higher Education 

Higher education plays an ever-increasing, socio-economic role within knowledge-based societies in a globalized world (Singh, 2011). As students gain knowledge, they also increase opportunity for economic and other types of advancement, which can provide the key to rising out of poverty. The pursuit of knowledge and economic advancement, however, is not equally accessible by all in society. Higher education helps interrupt oppression through the pursuit of social justice by providing a path to knowledge acquisition for those willing and able to pursue post-secondary education. Marginalized students make up a small percentage of those privileged enough to attend an institution of higher education, and even fewer persist to graduation (Shapiro et al., 2017). Thus, it is vital that higher education institutions are vigilant in the pursuit of social justice in order to provide support for underrepresented and marginalized student groups and address related concerns like the access to, and cost of, education and student health. Higher education can work with communities to create structures for addressing such issues, thereby lifting the “..unfair burden of social justice work from the shoulders of solely marginalized groups...” (Nair and Thomas, 2018). 

Since its inception in 1820, Indiana University pursued knowledge, truth, and justice, evidenced in the school motto “Lux et Veritas” (English translation: Light and Truth). The FACET Leadership Institute will continue in this tradition over the next two years by developing a project from the sub-topics listed below.

FACET Sub-Themes

Sub-themes allow each campus to choose the topic that is most salient to their needs. Your Leadership Institute (LI) team will choose from the sub-themes below:

  • Equity & Equality in Higher Education

  • Teaching & Learning during Crisis

  • Authentic, Empathetic, and Innovative Assessment

  • Food Insecurity in Higher Education

Nair, A., & Thomas, C. (2018, January 2). A social justice approach to building community in higher education today. Insight into Diversity. https://www.insightintodiversity.com/a-social-justice-approach-to-building-community-in-higher-education-today/ 

Shapiro, D., Dundar, A., Huie, F., Wakhungu, P., Yuan, X., Nathan, A & Hwang, Y., A. (2017). A national view of student attainment rates by race and ethnicity: Fall 2010 cohort (Signature Report No. 12b). Herndon, VA: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Singh, M. (2011). The place of social justice in higher education and social change discourses. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 41(4): 481-494.

Kickoff Meeting

October 22, 2021
10:00 am – 2:30 pm
Crowne Plaza Union Station, Indianapolis

The Leadership Institute Kickoff Meeting will be held during the 32rd Annual FACET Retreat. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 9:30 a.m. 


The 2021 Leadership Institute Planning Committee 

Lisa Russell, IU Southeast (lismruss@ius.edu)
Sridhar Ramachandran, IU Southeast (sriramac@ius.edu
Clark Barwick, IU Bloomington (mbarwick@indiana.edu

Team members

  1. Clark Barwick
  2. Israel Herrera
  3. Dawn Kutza
  4. Dawn Wisher
  5. Oscar Patron
  6. David Smiley
  7. Jennifer Meta Robinson
  8. Danielle DeSawal
  9. Olga Kalentzidou
  10. Eric Sader

Team Members

  1. Eevett Loshek
  2. J. Melissa Blankenship
  3. Josh Tolbert
  4. Shari Fowler
  5. Natalia Rybas
  6. Oi Lin Cheung

Project Description
Development of an intervention with pre-test and post-test (Qualtrics survey) to alleviate issues of sense of fit and belonging with IUE's student population with a particular focus on first year students.

Progress made on the project and next steps
We piloted our project in two sections of W131 Reading, Writing, Inquiry I in F2022. Our intervention was meant to be a video of clips from junior and senior IUE students offering their experience with sense of fit and belonging and how they overcame (worked through) these challenges. Unfortunately, only 1 student created a video. We swapped the video with a peer-reviewed research piece regarding the effectiveness of exercise in alleviating stress and had students participate in discussion of managing first year stress. Survey results indicate positive effects of the intervention (post test).

Future of this project
Our LI team met with IUE's Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement in Academic Affairs who oversees our first-year seminar (FYS) course to establish how our intervention project might be useful in this course, which is required for all incoming first year students. There is interest in this. We will continue to work with the FYS team.

Were there items your team was unable to accomplish in two year time frame?
Definitely. We definitely did not realize that students so accustomed to social media (e.g., TikTok) would not be willing to record videos about their stress. About the same time, our online Psychology program was about to celebrate earning 8th place nationwide and solicited their students (including alums) to record a video of their experiences. They received zero submissions. This informed us further about how much work would be needed to produce a video intervention.

Final Poster

Team members

  1. Jason Organ
  2. Andy Gavrin
  3. Mike Polites
  4. Daniel Walzer
  5. Ryan Harrison
  6. Catherine Macris

Team members

  1. Lalatendu Acharya
  2. Sarrah Grubb
  3. Sarah Heath
  4. Stephanie Pratt
  5. Adam R. Smith

Project Description

The IU Kokomo campus has focused on the many concerns relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Like the rest of the IU system, this campus strives to consider diverse constituencies in recruitment, retention, and employment. In late 2021, the Faculty Senate also approved a training requirement; faculty must include evidence of at least two hours of DEIJ training in each annual report. Many academic units also have instituted DEI policies that pursue greater inclusion in their efforts. The campus’ Multicultural Center provides spaces for diverse student groups to engage with one another and to offer programming or events. As well, the Diversity Committee on campus offers optional training and cultural events throughout the course of the year. Yet these efforts have been incomplete, since they do not document the extent to which events, training, and advice result in faculty efforts to adopt greater diversity and inclusion in their teaching efforts. Are available opportunities in training, cultural affairs, and instruction sufficient to encourage a deeper commitment to equity and inclusion in our teaching? The Leadership Institute Team at IU Kokomo proposes to close the gaps in a few different ways. First, the task force will ask for a summary report of the different types of DEIJ activities in which faculty members participate (based upon required annual reports included in their FAR documents), or voluntary submissions of that information (permissions will suggest the path to be taken). Second, surveying the language to explore the range of terminology employed and the types of activities presented in required annual reports will illustrate the extent to which IU Kokomo faculty strive to include inclusive approaches in their teaching. Over time, the LI Team hopes that closing the gaps between activities and reporting will demonstrate that students report their learning experiences reflect IU Kokomo’s commitment to inclusion of all its campus citizens.

Progress made on the project and next steps

Faculty are involved in DEIJ education. Continue to monitor for involvement.

View poster

Team members

  1. Subir Bandyopadhyay
  2. Erin Argyilan
  3. Maureen Rutherford
  4. Tin-Shun Lin

Team members

  1. Kristyn Quimby
  2. Tami Martinez
  3. Anne Magnan-Park
  4. Dé Bryant

Team members

  1. Donna Albrecht 
  2. Kelli Bernedo 
  3. Rebekah Dement
  4. Alexandra Sousa 
  5. Sridhar Ramachandran (advisory capacity)
  6. Lisa Russell (advisory capacity)

Project Description

This project sought to analyze existing and underutilized campus resources and data sets to understand what supports are needed to foster Social Justice, Equity, and Inclusion on the IU Southeast campus. Further, we seek to continually assess and reflect upon how the IU Southeast community defines social justice in order to aid in the creation of a campus-wide repository of resources and the promotion of existing, underutilized resources. To that end, we aim to better utilize IU resources, such as the Intercultural Competency Certificate and the Teaching for Student Success DEIJ Certificate. Finally, we aim to more effectively showcase diverse experiences on our campus and in our community, thereby fostering a culture of inclusivity.
Progress made on the project and next steps:
We analyzed data from several related projects, including:

  • March 2019 Campus Climate Survey Report
  • 2019 Disorienting Experiences Project (Surveys, Focus Group, and FACET Symposium): this project examined cultural responsiveness on the IU Southeast campus.
  • 2021 ILTE Resources for Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom
  • 2022 FACET Symposium Data (Panel Feedback and Session Surveys): this included a session on inclusive dialogue, a session on supporting English language learners, and a panel discussion on defining social justice and inclusive practices in different disciplinary contexts.
  • 2022-23: Review of Hiring Practices
  • 2023 FACET Symposium Data: this qualitative data set included asking IU Southeast faculty to define social justice and to identify what supports they need to address social justice issues in their classrooms.

Our findings then informed revisions to the upcoming Campus Climate Survey, which will be distributed in October 2023. The final step in this portion of the project will be an analysis of those survey results in order to inform continued assessment measures.

In addition, a member of our team applied for grant funding for multilingual supports, and we collaborated with the Office of Admissions to translate a flyer.

Future of this project

Using the data collected and analyzed from the upcoming Campus Climate Survey, we aim to support the new leadership team in the ongoing creation of a repository of resources—and to encourage its use. Further, we hope professional development opportunities—as well as the administrative support to sustain and support them—will be provided. Creating resources will be of limited value if faculty are not given the time and incentive to implement them. At present, the team plans to confer with our campus FACET leaders for their guidance on the next steps and how our work might be integrated into the next Leadership Institute project.

Final poster

Admissions English Learners Flyer

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