Creative Writing Planning for BIPOC Inclusion and Support

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 15:46

Dear Student-Faculty Working Group,

Thank you for inviting me to participate in meaningful dialogue about education as a practice of freedom for BIPOC and all of our students.

As we discussed, here is an outline of some of the work that we've been doing as a department to confront anti-blackness, white supremacy and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dialogue and Hiring 2019-2020


  • Successful hire of two writers and caring teachers who are part of the BIPOC/LGBTQ communites: Joseph Cassara, Tonya Foster.

Faculty Dialogue

  • Conversations on equity and diversity. Renewed commitment to working toward anti-racist inclusive curriculum.

Increasing Inclusivity and Anti-Racist Pedagogy: Fall 2020-ongoing:

Anti-Racist Pedagogy

  • Chair proposal for across the board Faculty commitment to designing courses for more inclusion and equity for Fall 2020 and beyond
  • CEETL JEDI PIE Inclusive and Anti-Racist Pedagogy modules for online teaching (Now & ongoing)

Anti-Racist Trainings for Faculty  Summer/Fall/Spring 2020-2021

  • Department sponsorship for faculty who participate in training with Race Forward, Racial Equity and Justice. (Chair and others registered for August)
  • Chair taking course at East Point Academy for Peace and Social Justice—organizational and racial justice analysis
  • Chair taking the Black Minds Matter course.  Will bring to faculty.  

Curriculum and Other Structural Change

  • New BA in Creative Writing Degree (beginning Fall 2021) allows students to take four co-related courses from many more departments, including Ethnic Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Africana Studies, Iranian Diaspora Studies, and more.
  • Proposal for a yearly 1000$ award specifically for two student writers who are members of Black community.  Would start Fall 2021.
  • Symbolic honoring of CW alumni Ernest J. Gaines by naming the Ernest J. Gaines Graduate Reading Room.


  • Fall 2020 Jose Antonio Vargas (we hope)
  • Summer/Fall 2020 London Pinkney Q&A with new faculty Joe Cassara and Tonya Foster
  • Spring 2021 Creative Writing sponsored event with a prominent Black writer

This work is, of course, both structural and therefore in place ongoing, and an ongoing process of learning.  But I hope it will give you a sense of what we've been doing over the past three years, and in the past few months, and how we might build together toward the future.