Becoming Anti-Racist and Catalysts for Change

Virtual Symposium Using Mobilization Pedagogy


Melanie Harris, Ph.D., Texas Christian University
Jennifer Harvey, Ph.D., Drake University

Description 0f Cohort

The most recent protest activities of the Black Lives Matter coalitions have rekindled the national consciousness and served to nurture moral courage across our society.  The pervasiveness of white supremacy in higher education contexts adversely affects the formation of all students as well as the vocational trajectory of faculty and administrators.  In this moment, there is a desperate need for professors and administrators of religion and theology to discuss issues of race and racism, and these conversations have to then mobilize actions of equity, reparation and healing.  Talking about race means naming the reality of white privilege, hierarchy, and the pain of the oppressed and the oppressor; it is a risky conversation, but worthwhile if change is to occur. 

This virtual symposium will gather colleagues, representatives of schools, for six sessions (November to June), while, at the same time, those representatives also meet regularly with colleagues at their respective schools. The meetings with colleagues at each school will be to metabolize, disseminate, and design based upon the discussions with Harris and Harvey. In so doing, the gathered conversations with Harris and Harvey will seed and inspire embedded projects in multiple locations about the nature and workings of race, racism, and white supremacy. The two layers of discussions along with the embedded project will be catalysts for institutional change toward health and wholeness of many campus climates and institutional ecologies.

Embedded Project

In additional to participation with the cohort group, which will meet regularly with Dr. Harris and Dr. Harvey, each applicant is asked to create a conversation group at their own institution.  The applicant, as the leader of the institutional conversation group, will recruit 2 to 5 members of your institution (staff, faculty, administration) who will meet from November to June to: (a) hear your report and continue the discussion on racism as sparked by the conversation with the cohort group and Drs. Harris and Harvey and, (b) design an embedded project which will mobilize your school on an issue of race, racism and healing. The embedded project is eligible for a non-competitive small grant from Wabash Center. See guidelines for Small Grants Proposal on the Wabash Center website.


This cohort experience, coupled with the embedded project, is meant to:

  • Equip faculty to be active and able participants in classrooms and institutions that are, or are becoming, racially diverse.
  • Grapple with the ramifications and realities of working in a school that remains racially unjust.
  • Create space to conceive strategies to help facilities learn to function well in racial diversity.
  • Mobilize faculties toward projects of equity, reparation, and healing.
  • Model being and feeling equipped to talk about race, anti-racism in classrooms of religion and theology.

Dates and Times

Cohort will convene via Zoom with Harris and Harvey on the following Wednesdays, 2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern Time:

Wednesday, November 11        2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern
Wednesday, December 9           2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern
Wednesday, February 10           2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern
Wednesday, March 24              2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern
Wednesday, April 14                 2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern
Wednesday, May 12                  2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern
Wednesday, June 9                   2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern

Directions to apply to a Wabash Center Symposium

Login to myWabash
Select: Symposium
Select: Becoming Anti-Racist and Catalyst for Change
The application for the Symposium consists of these parts:

I. Application Form & Agreement to Policy on Full Participants
II. Application Documents

1. Names and contact information of colleagues participating in embedded project group (2 to 5 people, only)

2. Academic CV (4 page limit)

3. Letter from dean in support of participation in this program, including embedded project. This request should be made prior to the submission of your application materials.  

4. Written response to these 3 prompts (no more than 1500 words in total):

Prompt #1       

Please provide an assessment of the racial climate at the school.  What kinds of measures has your school already undertaken (recently and/or historically) to create a climate of racial equity, justice, and belonging for minoritized colleagues? What is the readiness of your school for an embedded project on issues of race, racism, and healing? Please be candid.

Prompt #2

Please provide a succinct auto-biographical statement about your own work in issues of justice and empowerment at your current institution. What has been your interest in, and activity in, engaging institutional racism? What is your track record in working with issues of equity, justice, and racial woundedness? Are you a change agent in your current institutional context?

Prompt #3

Too often the educational imagination cannot see the necessity of teaching issues of racial justice in the religion and theological classroom or confronting issues of injustice in institutional ecologies.  In what ways is imagination, creativity, collaboration and partnership necessary to the work of anti-racism?

Policy On Deadlines

The program deadlines are meant to facilitate application by a wide array of participants, as well as create fairness in the selection process. Program deadlines also assist administrative staff who work to support each group and all programs.  The Wabash Center will, when we see the necessity, extend the deadline of an application process.  We will rarely, if ever, extend the deadline for individual requests.  We ask participants, as well as recommenders, to respect these important deadline boundaries.  Adherence to deadlines foster fair-mindedness and a spirit of collegiality. Should an issue need to be arbitrated, please be in touch with the Director of the Wabash Center.

Applications Due October 5

Applicants will be notified of decision
by October 12, 2020

Questions about the Symposium?
Dr. Paul O. Myhre
Senior Associate Director


Participants in the Symposium will receive an honorarium of $3,000 for full participation in the online sessions.  Honorarium for members of the embedded project is $250 each.

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