Challenging adult learners that enter into our educational institutions is an integral part of a faculty member’s day. What becomes particularly important is remembering who our students are and how they make meaning of their world, their community, and themselves. What and how will they contribute to the future citizenry in our country and other places across the globe?

Students in ED 660: Diversity, Inclusivity and Social Justice in Higher Education discuss the current socio-political climate and the impact the current climate is having on institutions of higher education. Those that are served by them as well as those of us that work in them or plan a future career working in higher education, are required to problem solve issues that affect the students they serve.

During our class conversations, several graduate students voiced desires for learning to better understand the ways they can contribute to inclusive and socially just campus climates. As an educator for thirty plus years, I know we need more socially conscious practitioners. Developing practitioners that can examine and deconstruct issues that are affecting our institutions is critical, particularly, now when we have policies and laws that exclude as opposed to include. The recent executive order to ban travel to and from select countries, or legislative realities like the HB-52 Bill in North Carolina, known as the bathroom bill, are two good examples.

Some students are being or have been held back from returning to their studies in the United States. Others have or are experiencing holds on research and global learning opportunities that are critical to foster a climate of inclusivity – one that will actually aid in the safety of all in the United States.

Transpersons in North Carolina are being asked to use only a restroom facility that identifies with their sex assigned at birth. That means that colleges and universities are being challenged to provide an inclusive climate when a state law is explicitly demanding otherwise. A recent Chronicle of Higher Education blog post initiated an interesting conversation about the conundrum of bathroom usage on a college campus. How do you feel about that blogger’s perspective?

By Dr. Kathy McCleaf

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