Feb. 23-25: Minnesota State Mankato’s 46th Annual Pan African Conference to Address Closing the Equity Gap in Education

Event to be held virtually

February 01, 2022 | Events

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Mankato, Minn. –
Minnesota State University, Mankato’s 46th annual Dr. Michael T. Fagin Pan African Conference, scheduled to be held virtually from Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 23-25, will feature presentations by state and national education leaders on “Closing the Equity Gap in Education: Moving Beyond Conversation Toward Identifying Best Practices!”

The conference is open to the public, higher education professionals and students, K-12 educators and parents. According to a summary of the conference theme, “the 2022 conference proposes that educators move beyond discussing the education equity gap, focus on the question of how school cultures and curricula marginalize students of color, identify best practices that allow us to best serve our students of color, and reflect on innovative ways to move the needle forward and reimagine the world of education.”

The public registration cost is $75 ($50 for non-Minnesota State Mankato students). Discounted group registration is available. Registration is free for Minnesota State Mankato students and employees. Complete registration information for the Feb. 23-25 virtual conference is available at www.mnsu.edu/panafricanconference.

Conference speakers, in order of their presentations, are listed below. Complete speaker information is available here.

The first featured speaker, Andriel Dees, is scheduled to present Thursday, Feb. 24 from 9:45-10:45 a.m. Dees currently serves as the vice chancellor for equity and inclusion for the Minnesota State system, providing oversight responsibilities for the systemwide strategy to support diversity, equity and inclusion. Dees has a Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law and bachelor’s degree in English from Hampton University.

Speaking Thursday, Feb. 24 from 12-1 p.m. will be Tia Brown McNair, vice president for diversity, equity and student success for the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Brown McNair is the vice president in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, D.C. 

Speaking in a facilitated discussion Thursday, Feb. 24 from 2-3:30 p.m. will be Alan C. Page, retired associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Page is Minnesota’s first African American on the court and one of the few associate justices ever to join the court initially through election, rather than appointment by the governor. 

Speaking Friday, Feb. 25 from 10-11 a.m. will be Stephanie Burrage, deputy commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Education. Burrage works closely with Commissioner Heather Mueller to promote education policies and initiatives focused on closing the achievement gap, supporting high-quality teaching, using innovative strategies to improve educational outcomes and ensuring all scholars graduate from high school well-prepared for college, career and life. 

Leading a workshop Friday, Feb. 25 from 2-3:30 p.m. will be Andratesha Fritzgerald, founder of Building Blocks of Brilliance Education. Fritzgerald is the author of “Antiracism and Universal Design for Learning: Building Expressways to Success” (CAST, 2020), winner of a Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Speaking Friday, Feb. 25 between 4 and 7 p.m. during the conference’s closing ceremony will be J. Luke Wood, dean’s distinguished professor of education and vice president for student affairs & campus diversity at San Diego State University. He is the co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL), a national research and practice center that partners with community colleges to support their capacity in advancing outcomes for students of color.

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Media interested in covering the conference may contact Kenneth A. Reid, director of African American and Multicultural Affairs at Minnesota State Mankato, by phone at 507-389-6207 or by email at kenneth.reid@mnsu.edu.)

The 2022 Pan African Conference co-chairs are Reid and Angela Titi Amayah. Titi Amayah’s research focuses primarily on leaders and their roles in readiness for change. Her other areas of interest include the experiences of women leaders in various cultures.

The Pan African Conference is committed to developing and enhancing the leadership skills in collegiate Black young adults, as well as provide opportunities for academic scholars, professionals and community members to discuss issues that affect descendants of Africa on a local, national and international level.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 14,546 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which includes 30 colleges and seven universities.

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