Student organization strives to increase diversity of future teachers

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
December 1, 2011

While sitting in class, Devante Stubbs noticed he was the only African-American student. In that moment, he decided to do something to change that.

Stubbs, along with other students and staff members at Indiana State University, took the initiative to create an organization dedicated to increasing diversity in education.

"When we have diversity in our classrooms, it prepares us for the real world that we have to face," Stubbs said. "It also helps us become tolerant of people that are in a different race than us. I figured if there was an organization to support our minorities, then we could possibly keep them within the major."

Stubbs developed the African American Student Educators (AASE) student organization to bring African-American students into the education field.

Brad Balch, dean of the Bayh College of Education, believes that AASE is a positive addition to the college.

"Continuing to diversify our education majors so they are representative of the K-12 students they will serve is a laudable and important goal that is well-aligned with our mission's recognition of a diverse and ever-changing world," Balch said.

Chad Becker, faculty advisor of AASE, hopes the organization will be a "diversifying element" of the university. Becker was asked to be advisor by the Bayh College of Education dean's office because of his interest in multi-cultural education.

"ISU needs more diversity in teaching in the education program," Becker said. "We are attempting to recruit not only future teachers for the organization, but also African-American students with an interest in thinking more deeply about education issues."

Students interested in education issues who are not education majors are still welcome to be a part of the organization.

"AASE helps contribute to a larger educational community on our campus," Balch said. "The organization will provide essential supports for our African-American students."

Students involved with the organization have had the chance to speak with high school students about transitioning into college, participate in a leadership retreat, volunteer with the Bayh College of Education, and attend various campus programs to talk about AASE.

"The turnout for these events has been mind-blowing," Stubbs said. "Every time we are seen out in the public, people are astonished by the work ethic of our organization and the values that we stand upon."

Karla Foster, the organization's graduate advisor, has recognized the growth of AASE in the past few months.

"We started with about seven dedicated students," Foster said. "That number has more than doubled now with approximately 15 to 20 regular members and the numbers continue to grow."

Foster says she is also benefiting from being a part of the organization.

"I get to see the growth of members, keep student aware of what is going on in their major, and encourage camaraderie between the members," Foster said. "I enjoy how being involved in AASE has strengthened my students' character and deepened their passion for their major."

"I have been pleased with how quickly Devante and Karla are moving with this organization," Becker said. "They have got a lot done since AASE has been around."

Photos:
http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/African-American-Student/i-XZBSzJW/0/L/113011africanamericanstudented-L.jpg
http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/African-American-Student/i-2nz749G/0/L/113011Africanamericanstudented-L.jpg
Devante Stubbs leads a meeting of the African American Student Educators. ISU Photo/Tony Campbell

Contact: Chad Becker, Indiana State University, Bayh College of Education, assistant professor, at chad.becker@indstate.edu

Writer: Britany Dean, Indiana State University, Office of Communications and Marketing, media relations assistant, at bdean7@sycamores.indstate.edu