Professor of Music Composition
School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Being your best DEI self: Think of a time when you were at your best at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. What happened? Who was there? Why did you feel at your best?
I don’t have any watershed moments or big accomplishments to list. Like many of us, I am trying to keep Dr. King’s vision of always moving toward realization of the beloved community at the forefront of my work. Colleagues and students who see that vision are inspiring. Helping each individual student feel valued and validated and seen and heard, supported and fought for is essential; at the same time it is important to agitate for specific structural changes to make the University live up to its stated ideals.
Wishes for the future: How would you imagine your environment needing to be for you to feel that you don’t have to do DEI work anymore?
I think the work is continuous. I imagine we will always be engaged in the work of trying to get all of us free and healed from the destruction wrought by the racist, ableist, transphobic, misogynist, extractive-capitalist, white-hetero patriarchy. One step will be for the University to put aside the toxic construct of narrow “excellence” that excludes so many. We must make good on our stated intention to treat all of our students with equal respect and care, and to value every single one for what they bring to our community. If we want to realize Dr. King’s vision of the beloved community, we must provide genuinely equal access to our teaching, to honor and support and educate every human soul while honoring all the life of the earth: we will never be finished.
What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the MLK Spirit Awards?
I appreciate that the North Campus Deans are finding ways to recognize and encourage the work of achieving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access. It is an honor to be considered for such recognition; I’ll try to make good on that by having more courage and being more persistent. My hope is that the deans and the upper administration will soon create the means to recognize the work of ALL faculty and staff who are doing this work by altering tenure/promotion and H/R processes to make Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access a substantive part of every personnel evaluation on campus.