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Professors of Equity

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Leticia Gonzalez Pileski, Psy.D., LMFT

Professor of Equity in Education

SDSU's Center for Community Counseling and Engagement

Dr. Letty Gonzalez Pileski identifies as a Latinx American female, clinician, professor and an international educator. She is the Executive Director for San Diego State University’s Center for Community Counseling and Engagement, Adjunct Faculty in the College of Education, is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and an AAMFT Approved Clinical Supervisor/Mentor.

Dr. Pileski has been actively involved in both domestic and international educational efforts since 2005 in the United States and abroad (Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Mexico). She co-founded and developed International continuing education programs, providing global workshops and sensitivity training to both graduate students and practicing professionals.

She joined the Professors of Equity summer 2020 in effort to collaborate with San Diego State University’s dedication to social justice and inclusive pedagogy.

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Sureshi Jayawardene, Ph.D.

Professor of Equity in Education

Department of Africana Studies

Sureshi Jayawardene, Ph.D. is a scholar of the African diaspora in the Indian Ocean world. Her research and teaching interests examine epistemologies, memory, diasporic consciousness, family and kinship formations, spirituality, and expressive cultures among the Siddis, Sheedis, and Ceylon Africans in South Asian Black geographies. For over 2 decades, Dr. Jayawardene has engaged in equity issues within higher education, in the areas of student advocacy and activism, social justice organizing, antiracism work, addressing implicit bias and microaggressions, and establishing equitable faculty hiring practices. 

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Cali Linfor

Lecturer

Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies

Cali Linfor (she/her/hers) is a 20 year lecturer in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies at San Diego State University. She came into the department after completing an MFA in Creative Writing at SDSU. A poet, editor, activist and essayist, her academic interests reside in Third Space Rhetorics, Diaspora Rhetorics, Composition Studies, Critical Race Theory, Curriclum Studies, Disability Studies, Queer Studies, Gender Studies, Indigenous Studies and their intersections. She, along with her colleagues in RWS has recently been awarded a three year NEH Grant for Hispanic Serving Institution to shift the focus of SDSU’s RWS curriculum from a focus on European Rhetorics to Global and Third Space Rhetorics.

In addition to teaching composition, creative writing, critical reading and thinking, and rhetoric, Linfor has dedicated most of her professional life to the fight for equity through curricular change and professional development of teachers across the disciplines and the segments of education. When not working with her SDSU students, Linfor collaborates with faculty from elementary school to university around issues of alignment, inclusion, skill based learning, and curriculum.

Her work has been pivotal to the removal of remedial courses in the CSU and Community College systems as well as the implementation of multiple measures for course placement. She has led equity efforts in terms of systematic and structural oppression for minoritized students both in terms of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and policy in statewide and local initiatives such as The Compact for Success, The College Avenue Compact, Early Assessment Programs, and the California Community College Basic Skill Initiative.

Most recently, Linfor’s equity work centered on utlization the networks created in her decades of regional partnerships to create safe educational passagage ways for queer youth, young adults and students from elementry school through univestity with parternships with the SDSU Pride Center & LGBTQ Studies, San Diego City Schools, and Southwestern’s CHEL program. She has also devoted her time to mutual aid at risk staff and faculty during the Pandemic. Linfor is also working toward the creation of a SDSU Disability Cultural Center and is an Ambassador for Universal Design for Learning. This year, she was honored with a Diversity Leadership Award, for her decades of advocacy.

Linfor is a founding member of the Lacuna Collective, an art collective that creates space for voices that often have none. Her book of poetry A Book of Ugly Things, appears in Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems which won a San Diego Book Award.and centers a disabled worldview. She is a member of the American Writing Program's Disabled Writers Caucus.Currently, Cali is completing a second book of poetry entitled I, Animal.

Linfor is a proud member of SDSU's Pride and Disability Employee Resource Groups.

To the Professor of Equity Team, she brings joy as an act of resistance and a centering of futurity and survicance.

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Daniel L. Reinholz, Ph.D.

Professor of Equity in Education

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Daniel L. Reinholz, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at San Diego State University. Broadly speaking, Dr. Reinholz’s research focuses on creating tools for educational transformation, to improve equity and mitigate systemic oppression. Their research is primarily situated within three interrelated areas.

Disability Justice. Dr. Reinholz’s work is grounded in a disability justice perspective that attends to the intersections of ableism, racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression. As a disabled educator, Dr. Reinholz aims to open opportunities for disabled students, especially those who are multiply marginalized. Disability justice provides a lens and a vision for what a truly transformative and liberatory education system could look like.

Equity Analytics. Dr. Reinholz is a co-developer of the EQUIP tool, which is a free web-based classroom observational tool for tracking patterns of implicit bias in teaching. EQUIP is designed to empower teachers, professional developers, and researchers to understand and improve equity in classroom teaching. EQUIP provides data to help illuminate the subtle and sometimes invisible racialized and gendered patterns that play out in classroom participation, which can serve to privilege some students over others.

Institutional Transformation. Ultimately, the goal of Dr. Reinholz’s work is to change the education system so that it can be more just and better serve the needs of all students. For this reason, they study education from a systems perspective, and develop new models that can be used for change. They are a working group leader in the Accelerating Systemic Change Network (ASCN), which aims to support researchers to better use change theory in their projects.

Together, these three areas of research work in conjunction, beginning with a vision for what the education system could look like, using analytics to help draw attention to that vision.

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Amy Sanchez Arteaga, MFA

Lecturer of Art History

Amy Sanchez Arteaga makes art, teaches, and writes about living as a transborder subject between the Californias. Since 2010 she has worked as part of Cognate Collective, a binational research and art collaboration that explores how cultural and economic exchange between transnational communities can be mobilized to build networks of solidarity that defy solidifying (geo)political boundaries. She is a lecturer in the department of Art + Design where she teaches Latin American Art History, Border Art History, Feminist Cultural Production and Contemporary Art Theory. Her research is interested in the intersection of Art theory and Art practice as critical aesthetic praxis, the influence of feminisms of the Americas on collective and community-based art practices, and Sound Art.

Sanchez Arteaga holds an MFA in Art from UC Irvine with an emphasis in Critical and Curatorial Studies, where she also completed the Critical Theory and Graduate Feminist Emphases. As part of Cognate Collective she has exhibited work locally and internationally at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Getty Center, The Craft Contemporary, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, FLACSO Arte Actual in Quito, Ecuador, and the Organ Kritischer Kunst in Berlin, Germany. Regionalia, a monograph of their collective work, was published by X Artists' Books in 2020.

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Roy Whitaker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department for the Study of Religion

Dr. Roy Whitaker is an Associate Professor of Black Religions and American Religious Diversity in the Department for the Study of Religion. He researches intersectionality and transdisciplinary literature, such as hip hop and spirituality, and Africana philosophy of religion from a global comparativist perspective to understand unique African American searches for self-realization through emerging and alternative religious and philosophical movements. He examines theories of religious pluralism in African diaspora cultures that center on epistemologies of emancipation and praxes of liberation.

Dr. Whitaker is passionate about equity issues marginalized communities confront, particularly Black men, in academic disciplines and higher education more broadly. He’s facilitated anti-racism workshops, developed social justice, anti-oppression curriculum, and implemented diversity initiatives. He assists SDSU in realizing its strategic plan of ‘equity and inclusion in everything we do.’

Dr. Whitaker is published in the Journal of Contemporary Religion [https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13537903.2020.1864105?journalCode=cjcr20], Journal of Ecumenical Studies [https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/35284], Public Religion Research Institute’s Spotlight Analysis [https://www.prri.org/spotlight/what-does-american-identity-mean-a-cultural-legacy-of-pluralism-and-exclusion/], and The Washington Post [https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/06/buffalo-shooting-replacement-theory-violence-whites-blacks-terrorism/], as well as cited in the San Diego Union-Tribune [https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/religion/story/2021-06-13/how-hip-hop-gravitated-toward-religion], and he has been interviewed by KPBS Public Media [https://www.kpbs.org/podcasts/the-parker-edison-project/2021/may/05/rap-and-religion/].

Dr. Whitaker enjoys hiking, tennis, running half-marathons, cultural centers, and attending live concerts, like blues player Keb’ Mo’ and jazz singer Gregory Porter.

If you have questions please email us at [email protected].

Events

This is a communal space led by women of color faculty and dedicated to participants who identify as women of color faculty interested in coming together to cultivate fellowship and deepen their engagement regarding the lived experiences of BIPOC women in higher education. Following up on the momentum of the inaugural reading circle with women faculty of color in spring 2020, this circle aims to expand communal relations and intellectual exchange. Weekly readings will be assigned and discussion prompts offered to guide engagement at each session. The selected text for the group will be provided in paperback free of charge as long as participants commit to at least 4 out of the 5 sessions.
This three-part series focuses on how insights from the disability justice movement can be applied to our classroom teaching and learning environments to advance the goal of collective liberation. Disability justice focuses on collective liberation, with particular attention to how ableism intersects with other systems of oppression such as racism, cisheterosexism, imperialism, and capitalism. Disability justice is a movement that was founded by Black, Brown, working class and queer, disabled activists, who aimed to achieve a level of intersectionality that was not present in either disability rights or racial justice movements.
This program builds a cohort of faculty members with a strong commitment to equitable teaching in their classrooms who would like to become members of a community of practice focused on the thoughtful use of data to inform improvement to their instruction. Our goal is to create a cohort of equitable teacher-leaders on our campus in alignment with SDSU’s strategic priorities. The learning community meets approximately every other week during the course of a semester. Between meetings, each participant will record a Zoom lecture to be coded with the EQUIP observation tool, which focuses on equity in classroom participation. EQUIP will generate actionable analytics that can be used as a source of reflection and ongoing improvement. During the community meetings, we will work together as a group that is collectively focused on improving equity in instruction at SDSU. This is an opportunity for faculty members to receive intensive support and meaningful data about their own practice and build a community of similarly committed individuals. At the end of the program, participants will be asked to complete a reflective evaluation and to share what they have learned with their departmental colleagues.
This is a six-part co-learning seminar for faculty who would like to unpack the stress responses (e.g., frustration, anger, exhaustion, withdrawal, escapism, acceptance of racist attributions, etc.) associated with the systemic racial oppression and white supremacy in academia. Guided by a critical race approach, participants in this co-learning seminar will process together, listen to each other, discuss the racialized positioning of faculty experiences in white academia (i.e., BIPOC). Together participants in this seminar will strategize actionable ideas on how to work with the realities that faculty and people of color are socialized and expected to survive racial battle fatigue and whiteness in order to “make it” in academia. Past participants are welcome to re-engage with this group.