New UK, NAACP research initiative will focus on educational equity, civil rights, and social justice

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The University of Kentucky announced Thursday an unprecedented partnership between its College of Education and the nation’s largest civil rights organization, the NAACP.

“This initiative comes at an opportune time,” Dean of UK College of Education Julian Vasquez Heilig said.

That time is one of nationwide unrest over racial injustice.

In an attempt to get to the core of the issue, the collaboration is an education and research initiative focused on civil rights, social justice, and educational equity.

It’s a first of its kind,” Heilig said. “There’s no playbook for this kind of work, but we’re excited to roll up our sleeves and get ready.”

The initiative will mean new opportunities for UK students to participate in research and internships in education-focused civil rights work.

But, its impact will reach far beyond just the university’s campus.

“The best practices that we know work will go directly into communities across the nation,” Heilig.

Those best practices will be distributed through things like workshops for teachers on creating civil rights curriculum, community listening sessions, summits for educators and K-12 students, and more.

It's an unprecedented collaboration that the university hopes will show its commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“The University of Kentucky is going to be the center of the national conversation about education and civil rights,” Heilig.

For the university’s full announcement, click here.

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