Story by Emily Rice
Four new faculty members in Colorado State University’s School of Education will contribute to diversity, equity and inclusion through their research, teaching and outreach.
In spring 2015, the school used a cluster search/hire approach focused on these areas.
“The primary benefit of a such an approach is to raise the stature of research and teaching in many different sub-disciplines of education, while also cultivating a shared commitment to having diversity, equity and inclusion be a core value of everything we do in the School of Education,” said George Kamberelis, director of the School of Education.
The four new faculty members are: Vincent Basile, assistant professor in STEM education; Daniel Birmingham, assistant professor in STEM education; Jessica Gonzalez, assistant professor in counseling and career development; and Susana Muñoz, assistant professor in higher education leadership.
Louise Jennings, a professor in the school explained the benefits of a cluster hire: “To further the School of Education’s social justice initiatives, it’s important to develop a strong cadre of faculty members whose research, teaching, and outreach center on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We already have several faculty members and programs in the school that contribute to social justice initiatives and scholarship. Building onto this core through a cluster search/hire will multiply these efforts. This cadre of scholars will be able to pool resources and expertise with other faculty in the School of Education and across CSU, resulting in programs that can make a difference in educational equity and diversity in teaching and contribute to educational scholarship. This mission is particularly important in a land-grant institution and at a time when growing diversity is accompanied by growing opportunity disparities in Colorado and the nation.”
Vincent Basile received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Basile has many areas of specialization including STEM education, criminalizing practices in education, urban education, critical race theory, and hip hop theory. “I have spent the past 10 years of my life dedicated to STEM education in Colorado, both in the K-12 classroom and as an emerging critical scholar and researcher,” said Basile. Basile contributes in important ways to the school through his research focus, commitment to teaching and mentoring, scholarly achievements, and lived experiences as a teacher of color in low-income public schools in Brighton and the north Denver area.
Daniel Birmingham, who received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University, will be joining the CSU faculty after working as an assistant professor of science education at Loyola University in Chicago. “My research is focused on the design of collaborative forms of qualitative research necessary for expanding dialog on the enduring challenges we face in the areas of education equity and opportunity in STEM education,” said Birmingham. Applying the K-12 experience that he gained as a middle school teacher in Greeley and Loveland, Colo., and as an Upward Bound instructor in Fort Collins, Colo., Birmingham is committed to working collaboratively to broaden STEM participation among youth from traditionally marginalized communities.
Jessica Gonzalez received her Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida in May 2015, and is excited to join the faculty at CSU. Her research areas include; cultural competencies in practicing counselors and supervisors, cultural competencies and client outcomes, psychological distress in minority populations, and medical illnesses in minority populations. She believes that her “experience in scholarship, supervision, teaching, clinical practice and leadership is a strong fit with the comprehensive program and collaborative environment at Colorado State University.”
Susana Muñoz, who received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University, returns to CSU having graduated with her master’s degree in the School of Education’s Student Affairs in Higher Education program in 2000. Muñoz will be arriving from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee after teaching there for several years in the higher education program. Her research agenda centers on college success in communities of color, particularly undocumented college students. “My interdisciplinary research approach, critical teaching stance, and service to advance social justice complements the School of Education’s desire for a colleague who is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives,” said Muñoz.
Jeff McCubbin, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, is very pleased with the outcome of this cluster hire. He said, “I believe the efforts of our School of Education faculty illustrate their commitment to address critical needs of social and educational inequities. We believe such hiring initiatives can be synergistic and advance our school and college mission of inclusive excellence.”