Williams College Hosts Lecture on Uncovering Unconscious Bias in Schools

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., October 25, 2019—Tracey Benson, assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte, will deliver a talk titled “Unconscious Bias in Schools” at Williams College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 4:15 to 6 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3. A book signing will follow the talk.

The talk is centered around Benson’s new book, Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism (Harvard Education Press, 2019), co-authored by Sarah E. Fiarman, director of leadership development for EL education. The book draws upon literature on change management, leadership, critical race theory, and racial identity development, and references the growing research on unconscious bias to guide readers in creating the foundation necessary to confront it: awareness, trust, and a learner’s stance. Regardless of the time, effort, and resources educators allocate towards supporting academic achievement for students of color, unconscious racial bias continues to be overlooked. However, by raising awareness about unconscious bias, the book shifts conversations among educators to disrupt patterns of perception that perpetuate racism and institutional injustice.

Benson received his Ed.D. in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and his M.S.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining the faculty at UNC Charlotte, he was a principal coach, high school principal, middle school vice-principal, district trainer, proficiency specialist, and elementary school teacher. He firmly believes that student achievement and teacher efficacy is contingent upon equity-driven schools and district leaders, and his current research focuses on implementing operational systems of principal growth and development for pre-service principals and sitting school leaders, which has been realized in the Houston Independent School District. Through his published case studies, he also prepares school leaders to use data to tackle inequity and structural racism in K-12 education.

This event is sponsored by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Program in Democratic Studies, the Department of Africana Studies, the Program in Teaching, and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This event is part of the Schumann Fund Initiative on Race and Democracy, now in its second year.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications 413-597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map