Michele Dillon, dean of the College of Liberal Arts (COLA), has appointed Kabria Baumgartner, associate professor of English and American studies, as the inaugural faculty fellow for equity and inclusion in the college for a four-year term.
“Professor Baumgartner is a terrific scholar, teacher, mentor and colleague,” says Dillon. “I greatly appreciate her willingness to take on this new and important role. As Dean, I reiterate COLA’s commitment to building a more inclusive and equitable college. While the achievement of this goal will require the engagement and support of the entire COLA community, Professor Baumgartner will be especially critical in moving us forward.”
Among the initiatives Baumgartner will lead are drafting a proposal for a COLA mandatory social justice requirement; the establishment of a center for race and culture; coordinating faculty workshops on teaching race and decolonizing syllabi; organizing COLA student cohorts to study race-based topics; and scheduling programming that showcases the work of Black, Indigenous and other people of color.
"I'm honored to take on this new role as faculty fellow for equity and inclusion. It’s an important and welcome opportunity to help build a safe, equitable, just and anti-racist community of learners and scholars in the College of Liberal Arts,” says Baumgartner. “Thanks to the ongoing efforts of staff, students and faculty, I believe that the College of Liberal Arts is well-positioned to lead on this critical issue and achieve lasting change."
Baumgartner specializes in nineteenth century African American history and literature. Her first book, “In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America” (New York University Press, 2019), won The Mary Kelley Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. Baumgartner was also recognized this year as a Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Emerging Scholar for 2020. She is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Phillips Library, the National Park Service, the Organization of American Historians and the Spencer Foundation.