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Anti-Black Racism Curriculum Development Fund recipients

Eleven projects that address anti-Black racism receive funding from the Faculty of Community Services
April 19, 2021

Photo: Students from the Urban Development (MPl) program

The inaugural Faculty of Community Services (FCS) Anti-Black Racism Curriculum Development Fund is supporting eleven projects this year with a total of $45,000 in funding. 

The curriculum development fund was established in January, 2021 to support schools to redesign curriculum to be more inclusive of critical Black scholarship and Black studies, drawing particularly on current Black Canadian scholarship.

Anti-Black Racism Abolitionist Midwifery Education Program Curriculum Project

Karline Wilson-Mitchell, Director, Midwifery Education Program

This project plans to create a manual of best teaching practices for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) preceptors, educators and academic leaders to create curriculum, policy, and infrastructure to deliver trauma-informed anti-Black racism content in midwifery education. Developed under the leadership of Karline Wilson-Mitchell, director, Midwifery Education Program, and Stacey Alderwick, principal, Alderwich & Associates, the manual will include:

  • Strategies that will support BIPOC preceptors to work in culturally concordant placements in a trauma-informed manner
  • Application of evidence in scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Social equity philosophy
  • Historical and structural underpinnings of Anti-Black racism that may intersect with Anti-Indigenous racism 
  • Contextual principles and frameworks by which to evaluate current curriculum and placement policies
  • Assessment tools that specifically measure implicit bias, white-bodied hierarchical-facilitated trauma and benchmark cultural and professional humility

These best practices will become the foundation of a future textbook for midwifery education in diverse populations.  

Anti-Black Racism and Early Years Creative Arts Curriculum

  • Charlene Ryan, Associate Professor, School of Early Childhood Studies
  • Jason Nolan, Associate Professor, School of Early Childhood Studies  

Music education is notoriously white and classical, and while many recognize the problem, they are faced with the challenge that this issue is systemic. In light of this, School of Early Childhood Studies associate professors Charlene Ryan and Jason Nolan will broaden the dialogue and commitment to action on anti-Black racism in the Creative Arts II course. This is a required fourth-year course that focuses on developing knowledge and skills to effectively engage in the creative arts with young children. While Ryan and Nolan have striven to make the course progressive, contemporary, diverse and inclusive, they have found that these ideals go beyond what the typical music or creative arts textbook in early childhood studies features. Ryan and Nolan are developing a textbook for early years creative arts education that is diverse and inclusive in all ways, not least of which involves the music explored and employed. Working with a BIPOC research assistant, Ryan and Nolan hope to identify Black creative arts scholarship, music, literature, creative work, and pedagogical practices that will further nuance the ideas in the course.  

Black Disability and Mad Perspectives Speaker Series: An Open Educational Resource Project

Eliza Chandler, Assistant Professor, School of Disability Studies, on behalf of the School of Disability Studies’ Anti-Black Racism Committee

Disability activism, policy, and scholarship have historically been remiss in addressing the complex intersections of ableism with other systems of oppression as well as the diverse social locations of disabled people. In the hopes of building anti-racist, ableist and sanist training into preexisting courses, the School of Disability Studies’ Anti-Black Racism Committee proposes to curate a Black Disability, Deaf, and Mad Perspectives Speaker Series. Called ‘Perspectives’, the series will consist of three online, accessible discussions featuring Black disabled, mad, and Deaf scholars, artists and community activists. The discussions will be recorded, developed into open educational resources and disseminated across schools in FCS. Each discussion will engage a specific theme, social issue, or approach which aligns with a key curriculum area in the school. Topics may include: 

  • Blackened madness, anti-Black sanism, and responses to the crisis in congregate and carceral care
  • Black disability and mad studies perspectives on death and vitality within the Canadian nation/state
  • Black English/sign language interpretation: the politics of representation, interpretation, and labour.
  • Black-led responses to COVID-19

Building an Inclusive Studio Curriculum Together: Centring Black Urbanism in a Systematic Review and Reimagining of the Planning Studio Curriculum 

  • Zhixi Zhuang, Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Samantha Biglieri, Assistant Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Victor Perez-Amado, Assistant Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Steven Webber, Assistant Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Summer Sutton, Assistant Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Shelagh McCartney, Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Pamela Robinson, Professor and Director, School of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Nina-Marie Lister, Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Ronald Keeble, Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning

Systemic racism has long been inherent in the planning discipline and practices as an act of racial exclusion. Moreover, the Black community has been the target of social and spatial discrimination and this continues today. With this grant opportunity, associate professor Zhixi Zhuang and her colleagues plan to place a focus on Black urbanism and anti-racism at the core of the School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP) studio curriculum. The studio program is the backbone of both undergraduate and graduate teaching at SURP. The five courses under review focus on developing visual literacy, design and communication tools, and land use planning skills. However, there is a lack of emphasis on how future planners should apply a decolonized, anti-racist, and equity-based lens to tackle urban issues. This grant will support the school to ensure that studio courses critically engage Black urbanism as a way to transform planning education from its white supremacist ideological frameworks and instil the values of equity, diversity and inclusion. Working with faculty, students, alumni, and members of the Black urbanism community in a series of curriculum review, co-definition, research, and redesign activities, the school will co-create a renewed studio curriculum that positions future planners to combat anti-Black racism, along with social and spatial injustices.  

Foregrounding Black Urbanism and Planning in Canada: Creating Education Material through Digital Storytelling

Magdalena Ugarte, Assistant Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning

School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP) assistant professor Magdalena Ugarte will partner with Abigail Moriah and Simone Weir (Black Planning Project, external link) to co-design a client-based studio aimed at creating short educational videos about Black urbanism and planning in Canada. Covering topics such as histories of Black displacement and disenfranchisement through planning, experiences of Black resistance, and the contemporary work of Black communities, the videos will foreground Black experiences within and against planning as told from the perspectives of Black activists, community builders and planning practitioners. The films will help advance the Black Planning Project's vision to promote the contributions of Black planners in Canada and will be used for teaching purposes at SURP, supporting the school’s efforts to address anti-Black racism through its curriculum. The material will be publicly accessible to other Ryerson schools and to the wider community. Students enrolled in the course will engage in community-based research and video production, providing an experiential learning opportunity to engage with Black perspectives in planning.

Infusing an Anti-Black Racism Lens into Midwifery Curriculum

Manavi Handa, Associate Professor, Midwifery Education Program

Globally, education and health care professions are being held to account to address systemic racism and long standing barriers for Black students and community members. With this in mind, Midwifery Education Program (MEP) associate professor Manavi Handa aims to begin to redesign the MEP curriculum to integrate an anti-Black racism lens. The project will engage Black MEP students as research assistants to review two to four courses in the program, and identify areas where Black scholarship can be integrated into course materials. In addition, the research assistants will help to create new course content that centres Black voices and addresses topics such as the lost history of Black midwifery in Canada and maternal/newborn morbidity and mortality for BIPOC individuals. The project will explore how to incorporate new course content into different levels of the program, beyond the two to four courses reviewed during this phase.

Teaching Anti-Black Racism in Social Work 

  • Olufunke Oba, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work
  • Valerie Borum, Director, School of Social Work  

Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in the fabric of Canadian life, with varied manifestations and adverse effects on Black people and society as a whole. A new course, developed by Olufunke Oba, assistant professor and Valerie Borum, director, aims to address a gap in the School of Social Work curriculum and provide students in FCS with the foundational knowledge needed to combat anti-Black racism in their everyday lives. Launching as an elective course in fall 2021, the course will prepare students -- future community service professionals -- to centre the wellbeing of Black people in their professional practice. Students will gain:

  • An understanding of concepts needed to address the impact of white supremacy on Black communities and the complicity of the social work profession
  • A deeper knowledge of the historical, ideological and cultural context of anti-Black racism in Canada, the United States and internationally
  • The skills and knowledge needed to impact racial attitudes
  • The ability to critically examine media narratives and representations of Black people

The course will utilize a variety of learning activities, including simulations, sharing circles, lectures, community action projects, elder teachings and creative initiatives.

Racial Equity: Understanding Racism in Dietetics and Building an Inclusive Profession and Practice

Enza Gucciardi, Associate Professor; Graduate Program Director, School of Nutrition

In a study of Canadian dietetic education, dietitians have reflected that they want to ensure they are being culturally safe and inclusive, however, there are limited opportunities to engage in development around social justice and building the appropriate advocacy skills. To address this need, Enza Gucciardi, associate professor and graduate program director, plans to develop online modules for graduate students and preceptors in the School of Nutrition to familiarize them with anti-Black racism issues and explore the ways that oppression is entrenched in society. Through reflective and interactive learning activities, the online module will provide participants with opportunities to critically reflect on their implicit bias, how they might be upholding these structures, and strategies to unlearn and combat racism. The online modules will address topics such as: 

  • What racism is and how it gives way to anti-Black racism
  • The relationship between privilege, oppression and racism
  • Evidence of anti-Black racism in the healthcare system and how it is reinforced by academic and professional settings
  • The consequences of anti-Black racism on health outcomes
  • How to be an advocate for racial equity within organizations

The project will recruit and engage subject matter experts with lived experience to consult on the creation, implementation and evaluation of the online modules.    

Redevelopment of Farm Health and Safety Module in Sectoral Applications II Course

Craig Fairclough, Contract Lecturer, School of Occupational and Public Health

Black migrant workers from the Caribbean often experience significant hazards and deplorable living conditions while working on farms in Canada. With this in mind, Craig Fairclough plans to redevelop the farm health and safety module in the OHS 823: Sectoral Applications II course. Working with research assistants and a consultant, Fairclough plans to gather data on the working conditions of Black migrant farm workers, and the occupational health and safety hazards they experience in their day-to-day lives. The team will also explore the mental health impacts that poor living conditions have on the workers. By exploring these issues in class, students will have an opportunity to learn about anti-Black racism in the agriculture sector, and prepare to address and manage these issues in their professional lives.  

Representing Critical Anti-Black Racism in Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum

  • Annette Bailey, Associate Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing
  • Josephine Wong, Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing 
  • Mandana Vahabi, Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing 
  • Oona St. Amant, Associate Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing 
  • Andrew Barrett, Student, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing 
  • Roye Uwoghiren, Alumna, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing

Racism, and specifically anti-Black racism, impact on all dimensions of health, making this a crucial area of response in nursing care. But nurses, like other professionals, are products of Eurocentric education that does not go far enough to equip them with the knowledge and skills to identify, respond to, and disrupt anti-Black racism in healthcare. This project, led by Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing associate professor Annette Bailey, aims to improve the integration and uptake of critical anti-Black racism knowledge across the Collaborative and Post-Diploma Undergraduate nursing curricula, and prepare nursing students for the care of diverse patients and communities. The project will:

  • Organize an online forum with nursing scholars, alumni, and current students to explore how anti-Black racism must be addressed in nursing curriculum
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of core nursing courses
  • Make recommendations for course redesign related to the inclusion of critical Black scholarship and delivery of anti-Black racism

Speaking the Unspoken: Revising Curriculum with an Anti-Black Racism Lens 

Fatih Sekercioglu, Assistant Professor, School of Occupational and Public Health

Fatih Sekercioglu, assistant professor, School of Occupational and Public Health, will review and revise the content of four courses offered by the school using an anti-Black racism lens. The courses under review, Pollution and Waste Management, Infection Control, Housing and Built Environments, and Environment and Emergencies, include significant components of health equity and social justice principles. Working with student research assistants from the Black community, Sekercioglu aims to revise the course materials to serve Black students and the entire Ryerson community inclusively and holistically. This work will also lay the foundation for Sekercioglu’s future course development for the school's new graduate program.