Adjunct Assistant Professor and SOCS Diversity Advocate
Social and Cultural Sciences
Dr. Marcia Williams’ received her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Minnesota in 2008. Her areas of specialization are race, culture and education.
Ph.D., 2008, University of Minnesota
Her work challenges cultural deficit explanations of the racial gap in academic achievement – which posit that under achievement among blacks’ stems from an oppositional identity that encourages poor performance in school. Dr Williams’ dissertation, entitled, “Race, Identity and Education: An Ethnographic Study of Critical Student Agency In A Midwestern Elementary School” explores the culture of an elementary/middle school in which there was no racial gap in academic achievement.
Principles of sociology, inequality, race and ethnic relations; African American social thoughts, experiences of oppression
SOCS Diversity Advocate
To be a student of color at a predominately white University presents a unique set of challenges. Perhaps the most insidious among these is the denial of one’s existence. For too long, the racial hostility recounted by students of color has been trivialized by accusations of ‘oversensitivity’, ‘being PC’ or attempts to ‘suppress freedom of speech’. It took the tragic murder of George Floyd for much of white America to wake up to the reality that systemic racism, white privilege and white supremacy are not the paranoid imaginings of people who are ‘making race an issue’ but are instead various components of the very REAL racism that is very endemic to American society.
As part of a multi-pronged effort to address systemic racism, the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences has developed the position of Diversity Advocate; the purpose of this position is to assist students of color in navigating a predominately white space that too often has been dismissive at best. As the current Diversity Advocate, Dr. Marcia Williams will provide a safe environment for students of color to share their experiences of racism in the Social and Cultural Sciences Department and the campus at large. Dr. Williams is committed to listening to student concerns in a manner that is empathetic, respectful, and validating. She will assist students in developing a plan to address their concerns and provide support and assistance throughout the process. In addition, Dr. Williams will facilitate a group for SOCS students of color to discuss their experiences on campus in a form that is both collaborative and community building. Dr. Williams looks forward to working with group members to create a safe space for students to elevate their voices, speak their truth, and create a sense of belonging that they have so long been denied.