Venzant Chambers named Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion

May 27, 2020

Terah Venzant Chambers, an urban education and education policy scholar and a leader in local and national spaces, has been named the College of Education’s associate dean for equity and inclusion.

“Equity and inclusion is the cornerstone of everything we do in the College of Education,” said Venzant Chambers, professor of K-12 educational administration.

Terah Venzant Chambers headshot

In her new role, which began on May 16, Venzant Chambers will work with faculty, staff and students to create a culture and workplace that is caring, open and safe for all. Among her responsibilities, she will develop and deliver a plan addressing the college’s commitments to these goals, and identify and implement initiatives to make change. She is the second to hold the position, following Dorinda Carter Andrews who was named Department of Teacher Education chairperson in May 2019.

“Fostering a sense of belonging and community has been important to me throughout my life and career, and is the bedrock for the research I do,” said Venzant Chambers, who will still maintain some teaching and research responsibilities. “The great work we do as a college—from a faculty, staff and student perspective—is predicated on this idea that we feel like we’re part of a community. It’ll be my role to help facilitate that feeling of connectedness to help people attain their objectives and goals, which in the end helps all of us be better.”

Centered on community

Venzant Chambers has served as a leader in several capacities before. Currently, she is an elected member of the East Lansing Public Schools Board of Education, and recently finished a term as president of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA).* In the college, she recently served as co-coordinator of the graduate certificate in Urban Education and director of the Educational Leadership doctoral program.

In addition to being a professor of K-12 educational administration, Venzant Chambers is affiliated with the college’s Education Policy program. Her research has centered on post-Brown K-12 education policy and urban education leadership, particularly the ways within-school segregative policies influence African American students’ academic achievement and school engagement.

She is also dedicated to her community: In 2018, she helped create the “I March, I Stand” exhibits honoring sexual assault survivors and providing an avenue for the community to share their voice. She was recognized in 2019 by the MSU Center for Gender in Global Context with an Inspirational Woman of the Year Award, recognizing her commitment to the campus and greater community.

Terah’s record on working to enhance equity and inclusion includes outstanding scholarship and leadership experience.

She will bring commitment, energy and knowledge to this important work.

College of Education Dean Robert E. Floden

Community is also what is guiding Venzant Chambers on her first steps in the new role and during these unprecedented times.

“Equity and inclusion should be at the center of how we respond to this pandemic as a university and as a college,” she said. “This is a new and unexpected challenge that will take time and thought. How are we going to get through this together? What are the needs of everyone?”

She will spend time “on the ground” having conversations and working with individuals to see how everyone across the college has been impacted in different ways.

“It is important to look at how we can be proactive in providing the best support to everyone to be whole, healthy and continue to do the teaching, research and outreach that makes our college so great.”

*In early 2020, it was announced that MSU will help lead the nation’s efforts to improve school leadership by serving as headquarters for two major institutions. The University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), of which Venzant Chambers is past-president, will be hosted by the MSU College of Education beginning July 1. Professor Gerardo R. López serves as the organization’s current president and as editor of Educational Administration Quarterly. EAQ, the leading research journal in the field, will also be based at MSU.

López and Venzant Chambers headshot
López and Venzant Chambers