It takes many different tools and strategies to promote diversity, said Wendi Manuel-Scott, director of African and African American Studies at George Mason University.
Many of the classes Manuel-Scott teaches in George Mason’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences focus on people and communities that have been historically marginalized.
She works to ensure that all students feel included by making sure their voices are heard in the classroom and by encouraging them to be unafraid to show up authentically and share their point of views, Manuel-Scott said.
She takes it a step further by encouraging student interaction with the community. Manuel-Scott formed a partnership with Sterling Middle School in Loudoun County, so students there can interact with Mason students who worked with them on developing good time management and study skills.
“Loudoun County is home to me. I’m completely committed to investing in Loudoun,” said Manuel-Scott, whose children attend schools in the area.
Sterling Middle has many students who speak English as a second language or who come from families who are experiencing financial challenges, she said.
The program started with the younger students visiting Mason; in just two days more than 250 students visited the campus, she said. Next, Mason students went to Sterling Middle.
“They have been transformed by working with the middle school students,” Manuel-Scott said. “It was an opportunity to engage in social justice.”
Her dedication to promoting diversity has earned Manuel-Scott the Karen and Hector Alcalde Medal for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion, which will be presented at Commencement on May 20.
May 18, 2017 / Adapted from a story by Jamie Rogers