San Francisco State University Hires 'Anti-Racist' Science And Engineering Dean

Chris Menahan
Aug. 22, 2023

STEM needs to revolve around "anti-racism," according to San Francisco State University.

From The College Fix, "San Fran State hires 'anti-racist' engineering dean":
San Francisco State University appointed a new dean to lead the College of Science & Engineering "to create an environment of multiculturalism, inclusiveness and equity," according to an announcement.

Professor Diane Harris currently teaches in the psychology department. "Her research has focused on the development of eating disorders within communities of color," according to the university.
The college tasked Harris with "institutionalizing an anti-racist multicultural community within the college" and "implementing the goals and objectives of the Strategic Action Plan developed by the CoSE Anti-Racism Task Force and completed in August 2022."
According to San Francisco State University, "The inspiration for the position began in 2020 when CoSE issued a statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd and others, such as Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery."

SFSU's announcement continues:
Among the overarching goals of the Strategic Action Plan is the goal of assessing the racial climate that CoSE students, faculty and staff experience in their academic endeavors. Although eradicating racism is a worthy goal, Harris knows it's a lofty one and she points out that this work is very complex.

"We will be constantly evaluating our policies and practices to discern whether or not they are effective in allowing us to change the existing racial climate to an inclusive and equitable community of multiculturalism," she explained. This process requires commitment from faculty, staff and students, as well as time, effort and resources to facilitate the building of an anti-racism, multicultural community.

Another goal of the CoSE Strategic Action Plan aligns with the commitment across SF State and the CSU system to generate a climate of anti-racism through social justice for diversity, inclusion and equity.
It's nice of them to use the proper "DIE" acronym rather than "DEI."
Building partnerships between CoSE and other colleges throughout the SF State community will advance social justice, create a climate of anti-racism and produce a community of multiculturalism, inclusion and equity across campus.

The work toward achieving the intended goals for creating a multicultural, inclusive and equitable community is intensive and requires experience. Harris has plenty of experience with the community at SF State based on both her childhood and professional experiences.

"I think all of this really started with my mother," Harris said. Her mother worked full time while attending some classes at SF State and later became a longtime credentialed teacher for the Berkeley Unified School District. Harris recalls accompanying her mother to class as a child and often waited in the library while her mother attended class. She marveled at the librarians' kindness (and patience) and fondly recalls pretending to be a college student. These experiences and the support from her family inspired Harris to pursue her education and to become a licensed psychologist, credentialed school psychologist and SF State professor. Harris never forgot those early SF State memories and deeply cherishes them.

In the Psychology Department, Harris has been the graduate coordinator for the school psychology concentration, taught and trained graduate students in the clinical psychology concentration and taught clinical psychology courses to undergraduate students prior to her recent appointment as assistant dean. Her research has focused on the development of eating disorders within communities of color. Harris' commitment to service is evidenced by many positions of leadership in professional and civic organizations at local and national levels, and at SF State she has participated and held leadership positions in numerous on-campus service committees.

Harris also has served as one of the co-principal investigators for the NSF Advance IT Catalyst and a co-investigative team member for the NSF Transforms grant. These grants aim to examine the institutional policies and practices and transform the climate at SF State to an inclusive and supportive environment for the advancement of faculty women, especially women of color, in the academic STEM-related professions.
How is this new "anti-racist" environment going to be inclusive towards the average high IQ, pale, male, STEM student?

[Header image of San Francisco State University's "Malcolm X Plaza" by Webbi1987 via Wikicommons, CC BY-SA 3.0, Overlaid thumbnail photo of Dean Harris by Paul Asper via SFSU.]

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