Conference Chair's Message | Webster University

Conference Chair's Message

Actions for Social Justice in Education! 

As the theme of this year's conference suggests, our goal is to focus on what we are doing to act in socially just ways to ensure that a school is a safe place where children and young people can find themselves and learn to engage in the authentic practice of democracy. Thank you for taking the time to engage with us during this conference and we welcome you to Webster University.  

Dr. Basiyr Rodney

I am Basiyr D. Rodney, Chair of this year's conference committee. Before, anything else, let me express gratitude to all of the members of the conference committee, Tracey Brenner, Lisa Davis, Rebecca Fortner, Jim Fuller, Elvir Mandzukic, Peggy Peel, Kathleen Schmidt, and Dr. Paula Witkowski. It is with great care and pleasure that we endeavored to create a conference experience to engage, stimulate, inspire and inform.  

This year's conference has a number of key highlights, first, we want to focus our theme on the practical work of ourselves and our broader community in working towards equity in education. By highlighting these different leaders and varied pathway's we demonstrate that the only centralizing principle to the work, is a desire to see our children, youth and communities thrive in freedom and justice. We see this conference as a catalyst for bridging individuals across networks and promoting further education equity action within Webster University, throughout the Webster Groves community, and across the Saint Louis region.  

Secondly, we want to engage each other in authentic engagement and self-analysis, thus our keynote Billie Mayo speaker presents us with a focused topic discussion around the question: 

What Can Educators and Students do to Dismantle Racism?  

It is our anticipation that this well-regarded and expert presenter will provide participants not just with knowledge but also with tools to further your own work in whichever context you engage.  

Finally, we want to keep the conversation going, after the four breakout sessions we convene a community panel to learn about local initiatives with which our partners in districts and non-profit groups are engaged. Targeted conversations around breaking the School to Prison Pipeline, providing for equitable early learning experiences and district advocacy for their underrepresented and vulnerable students will be key aspects of this community conversation. Our panelists Charles Burton of Saint Louis Public Schools (SLPS), Adelaide Lancaster of We Stories, Regina Gray of Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) and John Simpson of  Webster Groves School District (WGSD) will round out our conversation.  

You may submit questions to the participants via…or place under community panel… 

I could not close this message without acknowledging the support and sponsorship of the School of Education and the Beatrice Kornblum fund. Furthermore, our sponsors from the Alumni Center and the Student Government Association (SGA) have offered invaluable support in order to engage their respective networks. I am humbled by the support and excitement that they brought to this project.  

We anticipate that this conference will provide you with insight and actions that will fuel your own understanding of equity in education work. Continue the conversation with us through the school of education Facebook Page.

Thank you and welcome again. 

Dr. Basiyr D. Rodney 
Associate Professor 
Education Technology