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Jennifer Ashton

Dr. Jennifer Ashton

Chair, President's Council on Diversity & Inclusion
(585) 395-5546
jashton@brockport.edu
Office:  208 Brown Building

PCDI Chair’s Statement

I am honored to serve as the 2018-19 Chair of the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI). My work with campus-wide diversity initiatives dates back to 2012 when I joined the Professional Development (PD) Committee of the PCDI. Since 2014, I have represented the Department of Education and Human Development as a member, and served as the Chair of the PD Committee from 2015-2018.

As an Associate Professor of Inclusive and Special Education I have long been immersed in learning about the ways in which privilege impacts people’s experiences in society. With my focus on education, specifically disability and special education, I have seen how the intersections of race, class, gender, sexual identity, religion, and dis/ability can create complicated, mis-portrayed, and often unjust realities for many people. As an inclusive teacher educator, I try to model how engaging in difficult or uncomfortable conversations creates space for growth and change within our learning communities. I feel that it is my responsibility to bring these discussions to my classes so that my students, future teachers, are prepared to question the reproduction of narratives that perpetuate injustice so that they can act as change agents to facilitate the transformation to a more just education system for all. My work with the Professional Development Committee was a natural extension of my work in the classroom, as I assumed the familiar role of an educator in providing SafeZone, Racial Justice, and Dis/ability related workshops.

PCDI Leadership Vision

As chair of the PCDI, I will continue the work of social justice and inclusion that has become such an integral part of my personal and professional identities, but on a more systemic level. I, like my students, will now be challenged to serve as an agent of change within a larger structure to help transform our community into a more inclusive space. One of my first tasks is to spend time learning more about the membership and charter of the PCDI. I would like to broaden representation in the PCDI to not only ensure that we reflect the diversity of the college, but to include departments and programs who are not currently represented in the PCDI membership.

The work of social justice and inclusion at Brockport is ever-evolving, as structures are continually created and revised through the efforts of people who seek to make our campus climate and community more inclusive. As such, I think it is important to re-examine the existing charter of the PCDI within the context of the Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to make sure that the PCDI is structured and positioned to support the many campus constituents and stakeholders who are already doing this vital work.  Additionally, I want the PCDI to be known campus-wide as a working group where the concerns, ideas, and voices of the Brockport community are heard, supported, and acted upon. Brockport has made it clear that the work of equity, diversity, and inclusion is an institutional priority through the Better Community Statement, the Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and the college’s Strategic Plan for the Future, but the work is not done.  I welcome this opportunity and look forward to being a part of Building a Better Brockport, Together.

Last Updated 5/26/21