Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D., joined the Higher Learning Commission Annual Conference on April 9 to moderate a discussion with Dr. Sarah Lewis, Associate Professor of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies at Harvard University, the final keynote speaker for the conference.
Dr. Lewis presented on the exploration of the history and implication of racial justice in higher education. She also discussed transformational change on a personal level and the importance of leading with humility, empathy, and tenacity to create change on an organizational level.
“We often see conversations around justice as requisite for conversations to do with diversity and equity, and we skip over the humility that it requires,” Dr. Lewis said. “The work of being vulnerable is a strength of leadership and crucial for all of us to harness.”
Dr. Crossman moderated the conversation with Dr. Lewis as a member of the Higher Learning Commission, on behalf of Adler University. He also participated as a leader of an institution committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and to working with students, faculty, and staff to hold the institution accountable for creating a learning environment truly reflective of the University’s mission.
“The true courage comes from our staff, students, and faculty who are Black, who are pointing out mistakes to administrators, and then we have to lean into that with humility and ownership in order to that real courage that I am grateful for, and we all are, in this moment.” Dr. Crossman said.
Dr. Lewis added, “This work is not about identifying culprits, it’s about shifting culture. The more we can depersonalize the information that someone is offering, the more we can come together on a common mission and consider how our culture needs to shift so that we can all, not just students of color, faculty of color, administrators of color, we all have a society in which we are honoring the full extent of human life.”
Read more about the Higher Learning Commission Annual Conference: Crisis and Community.