M.Ed. Student Profile: Devan Church

Name: Devan Church

Twitter: @ChurchDevanBC

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

Undergrad Institution & Major: University of Utah, Gender Studies

Favorite Food: Pastrami and Chopped Liver on Rye

Why did you choose the ELP program at the U?: I am very interested in social justice and advocacy in higher education. The ELP program has both theoretical depth and practical concepts built into the curriculum.

What are your dreams for your future? I’d like to work with a Community College or trade education program to bridge the gap between open access institutions and traditional Universities. Ideally, I would be able to work in a place that has strong ties to folk, jazz and blues music – NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City, New Orleans etc….

What is a skill you hope to develop? Break Dancing, Skateboarding, Rhythmic Flow……… Writing(the eternal struggle)! Better Assessment!!!!

What is something unique about you that you would like us to know? I’ve been playing the guitar for 20 years, and studying jazz and blues for 15 years.

Where would you go on a dream vacation if money/time did not enter into your thought process? I’d love to go to New Orleans, followed by a trip to Eastern Europe to document the Slavic accordion and brass band folk music of the region.

What is your favorite place to study/work? Graduate Student Reading Room FTW!


Social Justice Leadership in Action

By Andrea Kalvesmaki, ELP Graduate StudentAndrea Kalvesmaki

Last week, I experienced social justice leadership in action. It was raw, it was real, and it provides a lesson for all universities in the face of rising rates of violence and vitriol toward students of color. Invited as visiting speaker for the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), I was presenting on ways in which we can systematically interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline with professor Joseph B. Tulman, director of the Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic and the Took Crowell Institute for Youth. Prof. Tulman and I were presenting a systems theory analysis regarding how youth and children can end up incarcerated, and how specific law can intervene and provide reinforcing feedback loops that keep young people out of the juvenile criminal system. It was then especially poignant to be interrupted, mid-presentation, to attend a press conference by the President of UDC regarding student Jason Goolsby, who was detained with a high school friend on the streets of DC for upwards of two hours because a woman called 911 to report she ‘felt uncomfortable’ about the boys’ presence outside of a local area bank. The bank in which Jason Goolsby, an exemplary first year scholarship Freshman at UDC, had an account.

As a student of educational leadership and policy, I was intrigued by how UDC addressed this situation, and especially how President Ronald Mason not only defended both boys (one of whom is not a student at UDC) and presented a call to action at the institutional level to ameliorate racial injustice. Dr. Julian Vasquez-Heilig has published my blog post on this event. Please visit Cloaking Inequity at http://cloakinginequity.com/2015/10/16/alleged-police-harassment-udc-president-stands-for-students/