In a recent article, University of Missouri students propose to eliminate institutional racism by hiring additional Black professors. The limited available pool will have a minimum impact. Eliminating institutional racism will require leaders who possess the leadership characteristics that promote positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships.

According to the article, Missouri: Can hiring more black professors shift institutional racism?, the students have placed several demands for a transition away from institutional racism. On Oct. 20, Concerned Students 1950 released a list of demands, which included compulsory programs on racial awareness with the inclusion of students and staff, more mental health professionals of color, and increasing the number of African American faculty and staff to 10 percent by the 2017-2018 school year.

The demands that the students seek are unrealistic due to the present pool of Black professors available. It would require hiring an additional 414 new people. The ten percent increase would require the university to exceed the present levels at other universities. For example, the University of Mississippi has the largest percentage of African America faculty and students, which is estimated at 6.29 percent and 15.26 percent respectively.

Instead of hiring new Black professors, students should seek to eliminate institutional racism by insisting that future leaders possess the leadership characteristics needed promote positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships.

What leadership characteristics will eliminate institutional racism by promoting positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships?

Promoting positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships requires several leadership characteristics which include social justice, feminist, participative management, transactional, and transformational leadership characteristics.

  • Ethics is the foundational leadership component necessary to promote positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships. The leader’s ethical beliefs must correspond to personal and professional code of ethics that will eliminate institutional racism.
  • The leader will require several change processes to promote positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships. The leader will possess precision skills that surface as a need to research information before developing a solution. They will research teacher-student classroom relationship bounded system by conducting a case study. They will develop a teacher-student classroom relationship literature review and an urban student classroom behavior document. They will use Systems Thinking to analyze more deeply the teacher-student classroom relationship bounded system.
  • Other change processes that the leader will use involve participation by teachers and students. They will use the tipping point strategy by recruiting teachers to participate in the project as speakers. They will conduct several meetings with students and incorporated reflective practice.
  • Servant leadership qualities are necessary to promote positive teacher-student classroom relationships. Servant leaders take precautionary steps, remove obstacles, empower followers, and are persuasive.
  • Participative management is essential to eliminating institutional racism by promoting positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships. Participative management focuses on self-reference, relationships seen and unseen, information sharing and deciphering, and self-organization.
  • Promoting positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships requires social justice. Social justice educational leaders define and create theories and practices that ensure greater opportunities for all students.
  • Transformational leadership is necessary for promoting positive teacher-student classroom relationships. Transformational leaders develop shared visions within the organization, use research teams or school improvement teams as a way of sharing power, and allow teachers to experiment with new ideas. Transformational leaders create a reflective thinking process that results in rethinking patterns of historical behavior and enables followers to look at problems from different angles, and facilitate second-order changes.
  • Transactional leadership is vital to the success of eliminating institutional racism by promoting positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships. Transactional leaders require compliance from employees in exchange for expected rewards, and bureaucratic authority empowers transactional leadership.
  • The feminist leadership characteristic is the final quality that is necessary to eliminate institutional racism by promoting positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships. Feminist leaders create student-centered schools by ensuring staff members treat students with respect and dignity.

While it is commendable that some Missouri students and staff have a passion to eliminate institutional racism, it is only possible by demanding that the university hire leaders that have leadership characteristics associated with promoting positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D. www.positiveracialrelationships.com PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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