By Grace Apostol
On Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in The Alonzo G. and Virginia Gent Decker Theatre, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski sat down with the president of Washington College Dr. Mike Sosulski to discuss the cultural changes needed for inclusive excellence on a small liberal arts college campus.
The event was open to the public and sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Cromwell Center for Teaching and Learning, the Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, the William James Forum, the Holstein Program in Ethics, and the McClain Program.
Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion and Senior Equity Officer and Professor of English and American Studies Dr. Alisha Knight opened the discussion by introducing both Dr. Hrabowski and Dr. Sosulski, as well as sharing the College’s plans with diversity, equity, and inclusion moving forward.
“WC is taking an important step to face our challenges completing a strategic diversity planning process this semester,” Dr. Knight said. “Through this endeavor Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Academic Excellence will stand as the center of our mission. I can think of no better person than Dr. Hrabowski to join up President Sosulski in a candid conversation about leadership, about moral courage, and about the culture changes needed to foster inclusive excellence at this institution.”
According to Dr. Knight, Dr. Hrabowski retired from the University of Baltimore County this past summer after over 30 years. He has a background in math and science education, and is well-known nationally for co-founding the Meyerhoff Program at UMBC. Dr. Hrawbowski recently published “The Empowered University” in 2019.
Dr. Hrabowski joined President Sosulski on stage to begin the discussion, with President Sosulski being the interviewer.
President Sosulski first asked Dr. Hrabowski how he has defined both Equity and Inclusive Excellence.
“We are talking today about how to help people of all backgrounds to have the chance to dream about possibilities,” Dr. Hrabowski said.
President Sosulski then asked Dr. Hrabowski about his time at UMBC.
“The fact was at UMBC, we thought carefully on how to empower student leaders and faculty,” Dr. Hrabowski said.
After the question and answer portion between the two, audience members were invited to ask questions of Dr. Hrabowski.
The first audience question was from Professor of Political Science and International Studies and the Director of the International Studies program and the Peace and Conflict Studies Minor Professor Andrew Oros who asked how WC will help to draw faculty of color to the College.
Dr. Hrabowski responded saying that as a College, WC should take initiatives to draw in faculty of color.
The Director of Student Intercultural Affairs and the Head of the Washington Scholars Program Stephanie Gilmore asked Dr. Hrabowski for advice on taking over the scholars programs.
Lastly, senior Erin Moran asked Dr. Hrabowski about how to keep students engaged and enlightened and encouraged to show up to forums and talks sponsored by the College.
Dr. Hrabowski discussed and touched on many different topics that include diversity, equity, and inclusion within a small liberal arts college throughout his conversation with the College community, leaving much insight for all.
“How do we encourage people to speak their truth?” he said.