Events during the past few days have thrust the University of Florida into the national spotlight and have raised questions about political influence, academic freedom, anti-racism activities and free speech under the First Amendment. The university’s administration has voiced its support and begun taking action, for example reversing a highly controversial decision and forming multiple task forces to explore these issues.
In our College of Education, we teach students to ask imperative questions and create important solutions that improve education for all students. We support our faculty’s work to advance education, both in and outside the classroom. We are eager to work together with stakeholders from around the college and university to find solutions that champion academic freedom and continue advancing issues of anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.
We strive to create a vibrant, diverse and inclusive environment at the college. To this end, we have revised the educator training program to reflect equity pedagogy, enacted EduGator Allyship through the Faculty and Policy Council, created the IDEA Excellence Fund, enhanced the Holmes Scholars Program, and are searching for an Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement. Further, a team of students, faculty and staff formed the Collective for Black Student Advancement to identify action items to enact positive change.
As we face new issues that challenge our core beliefs, the College of Education will fully support academic freedom and First Amendment rights. Our mission, to prepare exemplary practitioners and scholars, to generate, use and disseminate knowledge, and to collaborate with others to solve critical educational and human problems in a diverse global community exists because our scholars, with dynamic research agendas reflecting a variety of viewpoints, apply their knowledge and expertise to strengthen society.
There is a great deal of work to be done to promote equality and justice. The one thing that will remain unwavering is our commitment to our faculty, students, staff and alumni as we advance education practices for the betterment of all students and our society. My door is always open to individuals or groups who would like to discuss this further.
Glenn E. Good, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
College of Education
University of Florida