Flennaugh named interim associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion

November 3, 2022

Associate Professor Terry Flennaugh, a recognized scholar of and advocate for improving urban education, has been appointed interim associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the Michigan State University College of Education. 

Flennaugh leads a class in 2017.
Flennaugh leads a class in 2017.

Flennaugh began in the role on Nov. 1, 2022. He succeeds Professor Terah Venzant Chambers, who held the role since April 2020; she is currently serving as associate dean for the MSU Graduate School. 

In the role, Flennaugh will work with the college community to create and sustain a culture and workplace that is caring, open and safe for all. Recent initiatives from the office include an ongoing workshop series on supporting the Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA) community, a college reading club using books from diverse authors and, most recently, an ofrenda on the first floor of Erickson Hall. The ofrenda, in collaboration with student group Rueda Latin@, is part of a university-wide effort to recognize the Day of the Dead with a shrine honoring departed family and friends. 

“I am honored and humbled to accept this role,” said Flennaugh. “This is an exciting opportunity to reflect on what has been successful through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and imagine new ways in which our college can be attentive to the needs of our community.”  

Flennaugh’s most recent work centers on improving racial equity in teacher preparation programs. He is the leader of a grant funded by the Hewlett Foundation examining national teacher preparation programs, finding elements that work and suggesting improvements for the betterment of all.  

He is also the co-editor and author of “Expanding College Access for Urban Youth: What Schools and Colleges Can Do” (Teachers College Press, 2016).  

Since joining the College of Education in 2011, Flennaugh has been committed to improving offerings within Erickson Hall and throughout the university. 

He was one of the co-creators of the Black Male Summit, a conference on building effective relationships with Black males and boys in K-21 contexts. He has been instrumental in the planning and success of the college’s Teacher Education Academy, Early Success Scholars and the Urban Educators Cohort Program. He has helped sustain the Urban Education Speaker Series, which has brought notable scholars to campus who, among other topics, focus on equity in schools, critical literacies and emancipatory education. And he has served as leader for student groups, including the college’s Future Teachers of Color, an informal gathering for people to discuss experiences and network.  

Flennaugh’s commitment to supporting students comes from his own background.  

“I had been told ‘no’ in a lot of different contexts my whole life,” he said in 2014. 

After encouragement from an influential teacher who saw and nurtured his potential, Flennaugh applied to and graduated from the University of California Los-Angeles.  

He hopes through his research and outreach—and now through his role in the college’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion—that he can help be a change agent for others, to help them believe in themselves and find and forge their own futures.  

“Simply believing or not believing in your students can make the biggest difference in their lives,” he said. “My goal is to transform [higher education] so it [becomes] more inclusive and responsive to the community.” 

Learn more about Flennaugh’s academic journey in the 2014 New Educator magazine.