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Price Brings National SEED Project Back to Ursinus Community

Simara Price, assistant professor of biology and assistant dean for academic affairs, was accepted into the SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project, a highly competitive, nationally recognized program that empowers educators to become leaders in the areas of equity and diversity.

SEED was created in 1987 by Peggy McIntosh, author of the paper, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” McIntosh believed teachers could be leaders of their own professional development. SEED partners with schools, organizations and communities to develop leaders who guide their peers in driving personal, organizational, and societal change toward social justice.

Each year, 50 participants begin with New Leaders Week, an intensive workshop that this year was moved to an online platform and delivered over the course of two weeks due to the impact of COVID-19.

“One of the key concepts of SEED is that in order ‘to create the most effective environments for learning and flourishing, we need curricula, teaching methods, and workplace practices that are gender fair, multiculturally equitable, socioeconomically aware, and globally informed.’ I love that SEED emphasizes the importance of that work happening in the classroom from educators to students,” says Price.

Price was first introduced to the SEED Project by Rebekah Adens ’01, director of cultural competency for charter schools in the Philadelphia area, and Adens’ colleague Ryan Glover, when they organized a bias training workshop for the biology department. They encouraged Price to apply to the program.

“What interested me about becoming a SEED leader and bringing SEED to our campus was the prospect of being able to support my colleagues who are interested in deepening their understanding of how to provide a more just experience for all of our students and community members,” says Price. “Specifically, I was drawn to the emphasis on educational equity and how important awareness of privilege and oppression is in the classroom. It is also an opportunity for me to continue to develop personally and professionally to be my most just and equitable self.”

Price—who is also co-director of the Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good—admits she was nervous about the application process, but credits Meredith Goldsmith and Mark Schneider for providing support from the Dean’s Office. “Acceptance is dependent upon multiple things, including whether SEED feels the applicant and the institution have the ability to host and learn how to facilitate the seminars; an adequate understanding of what SEED is; and the intentions to move towards social justice,” says Price.

With continued support from SEED over the coming year, Price will design, coordinate and facilitate an ongoing seminar on campus. “The seminars are designed for a cohort of 15-25 faculty and staff to meet on a regular basis for at least 90 minutes a session for a total of at least 25 hours,” says Price. “After I finish New Leaders Week(s), I will send out a solicitation for interested faculty and staff, especially for those that want to support and participate in DART (Diversity Action Resource Team).”