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Penn State Forms New Center For Racial Justice

Penn State has announced plans to create a new Center for Racial Justice that will build upon the work of the Select Penn State Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias, and Community Safety. Most of its efforts will go toward research and scholarship surrounding racism and racial bias.

The new Center for Racial Justice will be housed in the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), which, according to a press release, aims to foster research addressing critical human and social problems. Senior Vice President for Research Lora Weiss will be in charge of the new center and will host an inviting community for scholars and researchers to come together and combat racial bias.

Some of the responsibilities of the new center include:

  • Support cross-disciplinary, cross-methodological research activities across Penn State’s 24 campuses, including professional schools; outreach and extension; and in the arts, sciences, humanities, law, medicine and social sciences
  • Provide resources for new faculty hires in partnership with colleges and campuses using the institute model
  • Create a fellowship program that enables faculty to focus on critical research topics within the scope of center activities through seed grants that can lead to external funding or through term appointments that foster broader collaborations
  • Support different viewpoints, approaches, and models in the goal of addressing racial justice
  • Create an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows through scholarships and project support.
  • Coordinate additional relevant research-based activities in collaboration and partnership with other institutes and centers in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research
  • Enable the development of racial justice pedagogies through educational tools for faculty and staff, workshops and public forums, as well as through other mechanisms
  • Drive service and outreach opportunities that promote public discourse and the broad transfer of knowledge
  • Support the university in its efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion

In a release, Penn State President Eric Barron said the center’s formation is just the latest step in the university’s mission as a top research institution.

“While this is just the beginning, the formation of Penn State’s Center for Racial Justice is the result of our University community taking action together toward continued growth, and I am grateful for the commitment of the leaders guiding this effort,” he said.

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About the Author

Charles Reinert

Charles Reinert is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. He hails from Norristown, Pennsylvania and is an avid Philadelphia sports fan. He loves playing his guitar, the color blue, and Tetris. If you feel the need to give him any positive or negative feedback, you can follow him on Twitter @charles_rein10 or email him at [email protected]


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