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To show support and gratitude for health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers keeping communities safe during the COVID-19 emergency. Old Dominion University is illuminating its Education Building blue during May, as part of the national #LightItBlue campaign. Photo Chuck Thomas/ODU

Critical Conversations in EducationMoving Toward Just & Inclusive Learning (2021-2022)

The purpose of this series is to explore the myriad settings where educational and mis-educative experiences occur in relation to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Ecological systems theory (c.f., Bronfenbrenner, 1977) posits that human development and learning occurs across the lifespan in multiple social and cultural environments, including school and out-of-school settings. Recent and ongoing acts of violence against minority groups, such as Asian, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (ABIPOC) and individuals with disabilities, reflect enduring overt and institutionalized racism, discrimination, and oppression. Simultaneously, ongoing individual, community, and institutional efforts promote both dialogue and action to forward social mobility and transformative change. Accordingly, when considering the learning landscape of in/justice and ex/inclusion, we believe it is crucial to explore the many educational and professional settings where these experiences occur.

At Old Dominion University, we pride ourselves in being a public, minority-serving research institution that values active civic engagement. The Moving Toward Just and Inclusive Learning Series is sponsored by a generous gift by President Emeritus Broderick and designed to spark candid and uncomfortable examinations of learning across education and professional studies.

Moving Toward Just & Inclusive Learning Events

America for Americans - Xenophobia in U.S. History from the Colonial Era to COVID-19

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Erika Lee, University of Minnesota

Date: January 24, 2022, 4:00-5:30pm

Location: Virtual (Zoom)

The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But as award-winning author and historian Erika Lee will discuss, the US is also a nation of xenophobia. Fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants have been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial era to today. Benjamin Franklin ridiculed Germans for their "strange and foreign ways." Americans' anxiety over Irish Catholics turned xenophobia into a national political movement. Chinese immigrants were excluded, Japanese incarcerated, and Mexicans deported. Today, Americans fear Muslims, Latinos, the so-called browning of America, and are calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus." Drawing from her new book, America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States, Lee forces us to confront this history and explains how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens America.


One of the nation's leading immigration and Asian American historians, Erika Lee teaches American history at the University of Minnesota, where she is a Regents Professor, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, and the Director of the Immigration History Research Center. The granddaughter of Chinese immigrants, Lee grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, attended Tufts University, and received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She was recently elected into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, testified before Congress during its historic hearings on discrimination and violence against Asian Americans, was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, (also known as the nation's "brainy award,") and named President-Elect of the Organization of American Historians.

Dr. Ericka Lee
Visit Erika Lee's Website Virtual Registration

Social Mobility in Professional Studies

Keynote Speaker: Dr. James Worsley

Date: February 15, 2022, 4:00-6:00pm

Location: Education Building, Multipurpose Room 1106

It is not easy being a Black man in America, navigating the barriers of social and upward mobility. The aftermath of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the lives destroyed during the insurrection at the Capitol revealed that our nation has more work to do. Peggy McIntosh (1989) eloquently explained in her article, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, that Whites have an advantage when compared to Blacks that engage in similar activities and circumstances. Today, Blacks and other minorities are still trying to maneuver through society with cultural norms, traditions, and customs which impact their success in social and upward mobility. Through an interactive workshop experience, Dr. Worsley will share his personal, mentoring and executive-level experiences with participants and facilitate a candid and uncomfortable conversation that brings awareness to social mobility needs. Collectively, through group participation, attendees will discover strategies for future implementation in their respective settings.


Dr. James Worsley is an executive leader with 20 years of local government experience and serves as Chesterfield County, Virginia's Deputy County Administrator for Human Services and an Adjunct Professor at Old Dominion University. Worsley grew up in rural North Carolina, attended University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and received his Ph.D. in Leadership from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Dr. Worsley is a Distinguished Professional honored by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). He is past chair of the NRPA Supervisors' Management School and the National Certification Board. Worsley was successful in leading two park and recreation agencies to achieve CAPRA Accreditation and he also served on the Council on Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions. Dr. Worsley proudly maintains the CPRE certification and is a member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. Recently, Worsley was appointed to the Board of Directors for Project Discovery of Virginia. Dr. Worsley is married to Tara Worsley and they have three amazing children. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering at the foodbank with his family and volunteering with the oldest Black collegiate fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., which was founded in 1906 on the campus of Cornell University.

James Worsley
Read Framing the Problem of Barriers to Upward Mobility for African Americans in Parks and Recreation Register Now

The Origins of Justice: Developing Inclusive Youth

This event is open to the public.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Melanie Killen, University of Maryland

Date: March 17, 2022, 4:00-5:30pm

Location: Virtual (Zoom)

Although human societies provide protection from harm and enable the construction of collaborative and mutually beneficial social structures, they also pave the way for social hierarchies that deny equal treatment to certain portions of the population. Developmental science research reveals that children are aware of status and hierarchies, often reject the status quo, and seek to rectify social inequalities, citing concerns of fairness and equal treatment. Challenging inequalities is costly, however, and we identify the barriers as well as the catalysts. With age, children's knowledge of groups, theory of social mind, and experiences of cross-group friendships enable them to begin to critically evaluate unfair practices, rectify inequalities, and act on their fairness principles, particularly in peer contexts.


Dr. Melanie Killen is Professor of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, Professor of Psychology (Affiliate) and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland. She is the author of six books, including Children and Social Exclusion: Morality, Prejudice, and Group Identity (2011), and serves as the Editor of the Handbook of Moral Development (2008, 2014) with Judith Smetana. Her research, funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is on moral reasoning, social exclusion and inclusion, stereotypes and bias, the origins of prejudice, social inequalities, morality and theory of mind, and the role of inclusive school environments on child development. She was commissioned by Anderson Cooper to conduct a study on racial bias in childhood which was aired on AC360, Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture" and won an Emmy Award in 2013. Dr. Killen is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

Melanie Killen
Read Children and Social Exclusion: Morality, Prejudice, and Group Identity Watch AC360, Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture Virtual Registration

Reflecting on Inclusion as a Subjective Experience

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Justin Haegele, Old Dominion University

Date: December 1, 2021, 12:00-1:30pm

Location: Education Building, Multipurpose Room 1106 and Virtual (Zoom)

Since its introduction into educational vernacular, inclusion has become an international buzzword that now underpins educational policy and practice. However, the meaning of the term inclusion is contentious, and appears to change depending on the context in which it is used. In this presentation, the speaker will discuss inclusion as a subjective experience, and the implications this orientation has on research and practice. He will then provide a detailed overview of his research which has focused on amplifying the voices of persons with disabilities to understand, from their perspective, their experiences with inclusion. The presentation with conclude with a discussion about how to move educational research forward utilizing this conceptualization.


Justin A. Haegele is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Movement Sciences at Old Dominion University. His research focuses within the interdisciplinary field of adapted physical activity, with a primary interest in examining how individuals with disabilities, more specifically those with visual impairments or autism spectrum disorder, experience physical activity participation. Dr. Haegele has received several awards designated for emerging scholars in physical education and adapted physical activity, including the David P. Beaver Young Scholar Award from the National Consortium of Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities, the Mabel Lee Award from the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE), the Hally Beth Poindexter Young Scholar Award from the National Association of Kinesiology in Higher Education, and the Elly D. Friedmann Young Professional Award from the International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity. He is also a Research Fellow with the Research Council of SHAPE. Currently, Dr. Haegele serves as Associate Editor for Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly and Quest.

Justin Haegele

Dr. Justin Haegele
Associate Professor in Human Movement Sciences at Old Dominion University

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