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FSU Anti Racism Grant Recipients


Dear FSU Members, 

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023-2024 academic year anti-racism grants.

As part of the 2020-2023 contract negotiated by the FSU and UMB administration, the university agreed to establish a “$25,000 pool of funding in each year [of the contract that] shall be allocated to and distributed by the provost’s office in consultation with the FSU to support anti-racism activities for faculty and librarians.”   We had such a great response to the grant program that we were able to increase the funding to $45,000 in our new 2023-2024 contract (see Article 26.6.1.(a).2). 

FSU members answered the call and submitted 22 proposals for anti-racist initiatives.  The FSU’s Anti-Racism Committee evaluated the proposals and made recommendations to the provost’s office, who then approved them.   Not surprisingly, $45,000 was not near enough to fund all the wonderful proposals, but the Anti-Racism Committee is excited by the range of initiatives that are being supported by these Funds.   Please see a short description of the proposals below and attached

We would like to thank the members of the Anti-Racism Committee (Chris Barcelos, Trei Martin, Mickaella Perina, and Jared Poole) for all their hard work in reviewing and selecting grant nominees.


Caroline Coscia                             Sana Haroon

Senior Lecturer II                          Professor

Political Science Department        History Department

President                                        Vice President    


Funded Proposals for 2023-2024 (in no particular order) 

  1. Susan Field, Senior Lecturer, English, and colleagues

Amount: $4,000

Title: NTT Labor Based Grading Project

There is growing recognition that traditional approaches to student evaluation can reproduce racialized hierarchies. A group of our NTT colleagues are researching grading contracts, a novel approach to evaluation advanced by rhetoric and composition scholar Asao Inoue at Arizona State University. Grading contracts are operate on a labor-based model of assessment, emphasizing and recognizing what students can control (namely, their labor) rather than factors outside of their control, such as their proximity to Standard Academic English. This group of colleagues are implementing grading contracts among first-year composition students. They will present their findings to other faculty members teaching composition at UMB and at academic conferences as they prepare a manuscript for publication.


  1. Keith Jones, Lecturer, Africana Studies

Amount: $3,675

Title: Bargaining for the Common Good & Addressing Racial and Social Justice

This panel and discussion aim to provide a safe and supportive space for critical conversations among UMass Boston students, faculty, and staff that address ways to build greater unity within our union to focus more on open bargaining as well as on the kinds of concrete structural interventions necessary to become an anti-racist and health-promoting public research institution.


  1. Susan Tan, Assistant Professor, English

Amount: $400

Title: Race, Ethnicity, and Literature Reading Group

A proposed Race, Ethnicity, and Literature (REL) reading group will bring interested students together to read diverse books and discuss them in community. This reading group will also offer the first twenty students who sign up free hard copies of the book we are discussing.  This effort will create safe spaces for BIPOC students, introduce all students to new stories and voices, and encourage students to feel ownership over the books and stories they value.  Our aim is to make sure that REL serves our BIPOC students, creating space for conversations and narratives that reflect our students’ lives and enrich their learning experiences.


  1. Authors: Mona Abo-Zena, Serra Acar, Katie Brayden-Calias, and Da Hei Ku Mona Abo-Zena, Serra Acar, Katie Brayden-Calias, and Da Hei Ku

[Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Early Childhood Education and Care, CEHD]

Amount: $4,000

Title: Connecting the dots between past, present, and future: Understanding oppression in the

early childhood education workforce in order to re-build towards intersectional justice

Description: This 3-part webinar series will connect the dots between how racism, particularly the system of chattel slavery, continues to marginalize ECE providers in terms of status, salary, and work conditions. These qualities affect turnover and a range of child and student outcomes. Each 90 minute webinar will be composed of individuals with a range of personal-professional perspectives representing policy, practice, transdisciplinary research, and community-based perspectives engaging in 60 minutes of re-framing and 30 minutes of interactive discussion and planning. It will follow a “what, so what? now what?” protocol to link current and planned anti-racist action. The first seminar will focus on historical explorations of early care and education workforce issues, the second will focus on current perspectives and policies, and the third will focus on racism in higher ed teacher education.


  1. Authors: Suha Ballout [Department of Nursing] and Patricia Krueger Henny [Department of Leadership in Education]

Amount: $3,675

Title: A Teach-In and Speak-Out For the Times: Pathways to Social Repair and Campus Transformation/ Solidarity, Healing, and Empowerment: Confronting Embodiments of Racism & Racism-Induced Weathering at UMass Boston


Part of a series of events funded by the FSU anti-racism grant opportunity, this workshop will provide a safe and supportive space for UMass Boston students, faculty, and staff to examine and apply two concepts from public health to the ongoing need for enacting anti-racist and health-promoting work in the day-to-day operations at UMB: “embodiment” and “weathering.” The workshop will focus on unity, recovery, and empowerment in the face of the detrimental effects of racism on individual and collective wellbeing. It invites participants and speakers to engage in participatory processes that acknowledge the challenges posed by racism while emphasizing collective resilience and positive change. Drs. Ballout and Krueger Henny will facilitate along with two renowned public scholars, Dr. Nancy Krieger and Dr. Arline Geronimus, who are experts on embodiment and weathering, respectively.


  1. Authors: Azizah J. Jor’dan [Exercise and Health Sciences] and Tahirah Abdullah [Psychology]

Amount: $5,000 

Title: Promoting Anti-Racism through Continued Community Care among UMB Black Women Faculty


Description: The UMB Black Women Faculty Group was established in 2022 to create a dedicated space for Black women faculty members across departments and colleges to connect, mentor, consult with, support, and uplift each other. This continued funding will address the unwavering need to strengthen recruitment, retention, and promotion of Black women faculty on campus through peer mentoring. In 2023-2024, the group will five community care gatherings for 27 Black women faculty focused on topics chosen by the members, which may include thriving in academia as a Black woman; transitioning from faculty to administration roles; mentorship strategies; psychological safety; and self-care. These gatherings will support members in the disproportionate amount of labor they do on campus in their communities to advocate for health and racial justice. 


  1. Author: Tony Van Der Meer

[Senior lecturer, Africana Studies, CLA] 

Amount: $3,675

Title: A Teach-In and Speak-Out for the Times: Pathways to Social Repair and Campus Transformation/ Sankofa Conversation on Structural Racism for the Times


This panel is part of a series of events providing a platform for open, constructive dialogue and proactive engagement on a variety of antiracism and health-promoting conversations relevant to our campus transformation. It will address the broader context for imagining the importance of the structural interventions required and the leadership necessary to becoming an anti-racist and health-promoting public research institution.

Moderated by UMass Boston Faculty, the panel will engage prominent voices of scholars and practitioners in a conversation about the urgent solidarities we need on this campus to bring about authentic institutional change. Panelists will include Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History; Krystal Two Bulls, Co-Executive Director of Honor the Earth; and Dr. Joyce Hope Scott, Clinical Professor, College of Arts & Sciences, Boston University and President of the Pan-African Forum.


  1. Author: Kerrie Wilkins-Yel

[Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology, CEHD]

Amount: $3,000

Title: Towards Advancing Gendered Racial Equity in Greater Boston’s STEM Education Ecosystem


This study seeks to comprehensively promote gendered racial equity in STEM at community colleges through the implementation of the I CAN PERSIST STEM Initiative at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC).

Since its inception at UMass Boston in 2021, the ICP STEM Initiative has supported approximately 30 WOC in STEM. Results from the 2022-2023 annual survey indicated that 100% of scholars reported that they “do not feel alone in STEM because of support from the ICP STEM Initiative” and 95% of scholars reported that the “ICP STEM Initiative motivated my STEM professional goals.” With the Fall 2023 inaugural cohort, the pilot group includes 12 Black and Brown women in STEM from BHCC.

The aim is to surround these 12-community college (CC) scholars in this exact milieu. As part of their year-long participation, the CC scholars in the ICP STEM Initiative, will participate in an array of activities including STEM Career, Wellness, and Transfer Success Seminars, Empowerment Forums, immersive STEM experiences.


  1. Abbey Eisenhower, Ph.D. Professor, Psychology;  Margaret Vaughan, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Psychology; Evan Auguste, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Psychology; Susanna Gallor, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Psychology; Vivian Ciaramitaro, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Psychology; Tashauna Blankenship, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Psychology

Amount: $2,500

Title: Enhancing Our Pedagogical Goals Around Anti-Racism in Psychology Teaching


To better integrate an anti-racism focus into Psychology department courses, several faculty have proposed to invite guest lecturers to help them to apply an anti-racist lens to their course material.  The pedagogical goal of fostering a classroom environment where students and faculty can engage in informed, open, conversations about anti-racism as it pertains to the field of Psychology, will be furthered by these speakers’ presentations in a number of courses and discussions.


  1. Lindsay Fallon, Ph.D., Associate Professor & Director, School Psychology Ph.D. Program; Allison B. Smith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sport Leadership and Administration; Meredith R. Maloney, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Counseling, Department of Counseling and School Psychology

Amount: $2,400

Title: Sustaining Anti-Racism Efforts in Counseling and School Psychology, Continuing our Phillis Wheatley Peters Emerging Scholar Conversations and Social Justice Lunch and Learn Series


The funds requested in the proposal will support two successful anti-racism initiatives within CEHD’s Department of Counseling and School Psychology (CSP).  Both initiatives are intended to advance the Department of CSP’s racial justice agenda through meaningful dialogue, reflection and action.

The “Phillis Wheatley Peters Emerging Scholar Conversations” offers a unique mentorship opportunity to three students with minoritized racial and ethnic identities in CSP, and spotlights the scholarship of six faculty, particularly those who are racially and ethnically minoritized, to the rest of the department.

The “Social Justice Lunch and Learn Series” continues a speaker series that has been funded in the past two years from another racial justice grant. Leading racial and social justice advocates in their respective fields will lead three 60-minute panels, hosted for the department (and opened to others in CEHD and the University to attend virtually) to focus on issues of social and racial justice in education, psychology, and sport (the focus areas of our department). 



  1. Karen Grayson, Senior Lecturer, English Department

Amount: $3,675

Title: A Teach-In and Speak-Out For the Times: Pathways to Social Repair and Campus Transformation


The proposal is for a two-component event in which participants will be invited to connect, socialize, collaborate, and discuss over light refreshments:

  1. Award winning educator and writer, Felicia Rose Chavez, co-editor of The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT and the current Creativity and Innovation Scholar-in-Residence at Colorado College, will read from The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom, take questions, and discuss the twin goals of anti-racism in education - decentering whiteness and decentering authority. 

In an interactive setting, students will then: present results from the survey “Exploring Anti-racism and Health Promotion at UMB”; dramatize student narratives that capture their experiences at UMB; name and identify issues to be addressed; and suggest reforms, while acknowledging existing anti-racist, health promoting practices at UMB.

  1. Ashley Phillips Callahan, MA, MT-BC, board-certified music therapist, will lead attendees in a healing musical experience in which we navigate our harmonies and dissonances together in community. Her work seeks to promote experiential liberation through expressions of the self, particularly of the musical variety.