Roland Mitchell believes that efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are necessary because all students deserve to see someone like them in educational spaces and feel that higher education is an option for them.
“As a black woman who grew up in low-income North Carolina, I understand that part of the reason I’m here is that I was able to see and interact with other black people who went to college.” she said. . “As a result, getting a college diploma seemed a possible option.”
Mitchell is currently an assistant professor at education consultant program and one of the co-chairs Council for Multicultural Initiatives and Diversity (COMID). She entered NC State School in January 2018.
Mitchell does not consider it possible to have strong and effective education systems if diversity, equity and inclusion are not prioritized and focused.
“The reality of our world includes barriers that prevent people from marginalized groups from getting high-quality K-12 education and seeing educators who are similar to them,” Mitchell said. “Barriers will not go away on their own, so our job is to deliberately focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Mitchell believes DEI’s efforts help soften barriers and give people the tools, confidence and support to fully unleash their potential.
“As a result, we get a fair distribution of funding, stronger schools, graduates who are better prepared for careers and / or higher education, and more efficient higher education institutions,” she said.
Mitchell’s research interests include exploring access to counseling and mental health services for historically marginalized communities. She saw firsthand how COVID-19 widened the digital divide and created a significant barrier in low-income and rural communities.
Mitchell is also planning a study that examines how professional school counselors were able to move to virtual learning. It will gather information on the support they received or lacked during the pandemic and how it affected their ability to provide counseling services to students and families.
“My hope is to bring awareness; I don’t think it can be too much, ”she said. “But more than that, I hope all of our research inspires change.”
She was also recently invited to work on a joint project with Halifax County schools, in particular with the school counseling department, for the 2022-23 school year.
“As a counselor, my job will be to use their existing skills, add more training and hopefully make them feel better prepared to support their schools through a strong comprehensive counseling program,” Mitchell said.
Another goal of this collaboration is to use research and data to demonstrate the hard work and progress that is happening in the school counseling departments of Halifax County.
“Often schools and students in low-income areas are reflected in the deficit model, emphasizing that this is not the case and believing that students, families and teachers lack something,” she said. “It’s not at all … there’s talent and potential everywhere if we take the time to look.”
Mitchell’s role as an educator in the counselor education program also allows her to incorporate DEI into her work.
“Our goal is graduate consultants who have an unconditional positive attitude, compassion and hope for the students, clients and families they serve,” she said. “In addition, we want them to appreciate and practice advocacy in their community.”
In the counselor education program, faculty members work to help students recognize and confront the internal bias that all people bring to the table, unpack where it comes from, challenge beliefs that do not serve them, and work to ensure that bias does not interfere with their skills and counseling techniques.
“To start the conversation, we use elements like reading, case studies, media and handling issues,” Mitchell said. “It’s also important that we provide a safe space so that all students can have honest discussions without fear of academic retaliation or peer harm.”
For other students and members of the NC community community, Mitchell encourages those unfamiliar with COMID to participate in their future activities.
This year, in collaboration with Professor and Senior Adviser on Diversity, Justice and Inclusion Joy Gaston Gales, COMID held a series of discussions on topics such as anti-racism and self-care during the DEI, combating micro-aggression and racial gaslighting.
Mitchell also recommends that those involved in DEI work deliberately take care of themselves.
“To engage fully and effectively, you need to be healthy and holistic, mentally, physically and spiritually,” she said. “So when you’re reading this, take a moment and think about what you can do to recharge, and then take the time to do it.”
This story was written by Jale Moody
Roland Mitchell uses diversity, equity and inclusion to help build strong education systems in schools up to 12 and higher
Source link Roland Mitchell uses diversity, equity and inclusion to help build strong education systems in schools up to 12 and higher