The ASPIRE Racial Equity and Inclusion Speaker Series kicked off in February with a workshop led by Angell Howard, Associate Director of Professional Development and Staff Recognition at Illinois State University. Angell’s workshop, Stereotypes, Myths, and Misconceptions: What You Believe Matters! asked those participating in the ASPIRE Project to examine cultural biases that influence our behavior and attitudes towards others, while also discussing ways to increase our cultural competencies.
The workshop was dynamic and interactive and created a space for candid conversations on lived experiences and how intersecting identities affect outcomes for different people. One attendee shared that the training reminded them “to be mindful of the possible hardships my students of color possess simply because of their race. To give grace and compassion and assume the best in students because you never know what they’re going through.” There were many “aha! Moments” throughout the workshop, and Women Employed hopes to work with Angell soon!
Angell Howard is currently the Associate Director of Professional Development and Staff Recognition at Illinois State University and the owner of Necessary Change Consulting LLC which undergirds organizations, businesses, and leaders to create cultural and structural shifts through the critical examination of policies, practices, and procedures. Angell’s 14-year career consists of the support and development of students and staff from minoritized populations and staff professional and career development. She has spent the last ten years creating and facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings, challenging professionals to change and create change within their organization utilizing an antiracist lens. Click here to learn more about Angell.
The creation of the Accelerating Student Progress and Increasing Racial Equity (ASPIRE) project was in response to the Developmental Education Reform Act (DERA) which aims to address inequities in college completion among students of color and first-generation students. Passed in March 2021, the act requires public colleges in Illinois to reform their developmental education (dev ed) programs — the introductory math and English classes students may need to improve their skills, before they can take a college-level math or English class — so that students can enter a credit-bearing, college-level math or English course by their second semester.
To read our refresher on the ASPIRE Project, click here.