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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the School of Education

The school of education is uniquely positioned to be a change agent. 

We are committed to ensuring that the future teachers, counselors, and leaders that we educate recognize and accept diversity, and are empowered to drive equality in the communities they choose to serve.  

Our Commitment

Guiding Principle

Social Justice is a Guiding Principle.  

One of the Guiding Principles in the School of Education is belief in Social Justice.  

This belief assumes the importance of education as a major pathway toward the values of democracy and equity. The School of Education promotes lifelong learning as a purposeful activity that advances global citizenship and a just society.

Diversity Statement

The Drake University School of Education is committed to diversity and inclusivity.  As members of the School of Education, we strive to work toward an affirming learning and teaching environment.  We do so by seeking to educate culturally responsive professionals who are able to work effectively with all stakeholders. Aligned with our commitment to academic reflection, collaborative learning and social justice, we seek to facilitate the development of our students as reflective practitioners, critical thinkers, and public intellectuals.

Leadership Statement

As a white man in a leadership role at a predominantly white institution that trains future teachers, counselors and administrators, I am obligated to listen, lead and use my privilege for the benefit of others. I’m learning from educators of color, like Dr. Mary Rice-Boothe and her searing post “I’m Not Okay.” I’m also taking advantage of resources at Drake University, like these Toolkits for Action on Social Justice.

But listening and learning is not enough, nor is an individual response to an institutional problem. The burden to speak out and take action must be a collective endeavor and it must not fall only on People of Color. This effort is part of a shared goal to make the School of Education a place to engage in difficult conversations and to serve as a change agent through faculty, staff, student and alumni collaboration.

Grounded in our guiding principle of social justice, we will move forward in determined and deliberate ways. While the work won’t always be perfect, our efforts will be resolute and focused on ensuring the next generation does better than our generation in building a racially just and equitable society.

Dr. Ryan Wise
Dean of the School of Education

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee

The purpose of the SOE’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Committee is to support faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders in meeting the tenets of the University and SOE equity statements in the praxis of our courses and interactions with colleagues and students.

The DEI Committee in the SOE is made up of faculty, staff and students focused on three primary functions:

  • Create opportunities that promote the development of future professionals from historically marginalized populations
  • Assist the development of professionals in meeting the needs of historically marginalized populations
  • Provide opportunities for faculty to engage in self-reflection around culturally responsive practices

Committee Members

Ryan Wise - Dean, School of Education
DeDe Small - Professor, Teaching & Learning
Molly Shepard - Associate Professor of Practice
Sarah Derry - STEM Hub Regional Manager
Ellie Bullock - Support Specialist, Dean's Office
Shelley Fairbairn - Professor, Teaching & Learning
Kelly Marckres - Director, Agency Curriculum and Accounts 
Casey Holmes - Assistant Professor, Teaching and Learning
Jiyung Hwang - Assistant Professor, Special Education
Leah Carey - Assistant Professor, Teaching and Learning
Amber Graeber - Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Resources

For university information and opportunities, consult the University's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion webpage.  

Follow the School of Education on social media for current events and opportunities, #DEIDrake.







Our Actions

In the School of Education, we want our actions to reflect our commitment.  Here are the initiatives we are undertaking and developing this academic year.  

Community Outreach

Partnership with Area Schools

We deepened our partnerships with schools in the DMPS-Roosevelt High School feeder pattern so that an increasing number of our students have more experiences in our neighborhood schools. This partnership equally provides an opportunity for these schools to engage with the School of Education beyond just hosting teachers, to include the possibility of tutoring support for K-12 students and professional development opportunities for teachers.

Alumni Engagement

To ensure that we have a more diverse and inclusive membership, we have expanded representation on our National Alumni Council and our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.

Encouraging Dialogue

The School of Education led two campus-wide conversations to support the United Way's 21-day equity challenge and moderated a Twitter chat on the equity challenge's "education day" to highlight critical issues. 


Introductory Course Updates

All first-year education students take this introductory course.  Changes to the curriculum included a focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion to emphasize how fundamental and critically important these issues are to being an effective teacher. To build on this foundation, the next two courses in sequence will review curriculum changes to ensure that a clear and transparent focus runs through these core education courses.

Faculty Specializing in Anti-Racist Practices and Pedagogy

Two new faculty hires are committed to anti-racist practices and pedagogy. One of the new faculty member's research centers on working with historically language-minoritized students to provide them with equitable and inclusive learning environments and preparing teachers with culturally and linguistically sustaining orientations. The second faculty member's scholarship focuses on a range of areas, including critical citizenship.

Equity Audits

An equity audit was launched within the counseling program to ensure our curriculum reflects racially and culturally diverse authors and perspectives. We hope to use the template create by our Counseling program and expand these efforts across all programs within the School of Education.

Additionally, an equity audit was piloted in our curriculum library. Working with students in our Children’s Literature class, an assessment of our collection was made to determine growth areas and how to best serve our students and the K-12 students they work with, now and in the future. While an overall diversity audit of the collection is ongoing, this initial effort focused on a cross-section of picture books. Students analyzed 536 books by examining the race, gender, and sexual orientation of the characteristics of both primary and secondary characters and the background of authors and illustrators.


Recruitment and Retention

Redesigned Performance Measurement System

To ensure there is ongoing accountability for results in our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, we added a goal to our strategic plan:

  • Deepen our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to create a positive learning environment for all students

To do this we will focus on the following measurements to ensure that we are accomplishing our goal. 

  • Identifying the percentage of entering first-year students who identify as students of color
  • Tracking the number of scholarships awarded to students of color
  • Collecting student feedback regarding how their Drake experience contributed to their understanding of people of different backgrounds
  • Monitoring the retention rate for students of color


What's Next?

Looking ahead, we are actively considering ways to better recruit and support students of color from metro schools, providing them with the means and the support to pursue their education degree in the School of Education at Drake. Scholarships will play an important role in this process and we are in the planning stages for fundraising activities to support this effort.

Building deeper connections in the community and creating opportunities to mentor and support students throughout middle school and high school will also be critical to this effort. In addition, we are looking at ways, beyond the performance measures listed above, to ensure the student experience for all students is equitable and inclusive.

Learn More

If you want to learn more about our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts or are interested in getting involved, please contact us.  

Ryan Wise, Ed.L.D.
Dean, School of Education

SOE News