Spalding receives $200,000 grant to promote equity in education

Spalding University plans to use a grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation to conduct an independent “campus climate survey” that identifies gaps in justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

The findings will be used to increase best practices campus-wide, according to a press release from the school.

Overall, the $200,000 grant will support the “development of a comprehensive campus plan for diversity and inclusion initiatives” and the university’s Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI), according to the release.

Spalding’s new Chief Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Steven Kniffley said, “This investment will allow Spalding to expand its capacity” in several ways.

Kniffley, a clinical psychologist who is a professor and scholar on matters of race and racial trauma, went on to say the grant would:

— “support faculty in the use of culturally responsive teaching practices,

— “create programming and policies that affirm the intersecting identities of Spalding staff, and

— “develop initiatives that will foster the ‘whole’ student and promote a community of diverse learners committed to social change.”

The James Graham Brown Foundation’s president and CEO Mason Rummel said the foundation believes in equity in education.

“The foundation’s postsecondary funding prioritizes programs focused on achieving equitable student outcomes because we believe that equitable educational attainment will increase economic and social mobility for Kentuckians,” said Rummel. “Fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging on campuses is critical to student success, and we support Spalding’s efforts to identify ways to do just that.”

Spalding’s work in recent years aimed at advancing justice, equity, diversity and inclusion on campus and beyond includes:

  • Spalding’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Studies program has a unique curriculum that emphasizes restorative justice and criminal justice reform.
  • The Collective Care Center, which is led by Kniffley and is a division of the Spalding School of Professional Psychology’s Center for Behavioral Health, is one of the nation’s only behavioral health clinics to specialize in the treatment of race-based trauma and stress.
  • Faculty and staff leaders from CPSR, the School of Social Work and the School of Professional Psychology recently launched a professional development and training certificate program in antiracism for companies, organizations and individuals called Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey.

The James Graham Brown Foundation has also supported Spalding’s justice and equity work in the past. In 2015, the foundation contributed a $500,000 matching grant for the development of educational programs focused on restorative justice.

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