Program Directing as Critical Praxis: Efforts to Embed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Values Into an Athletic Leadership Master’s Program

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Jill Kochanek Department of Physical Education and Health Education, Springfield College, Springfield, MA, USA

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Inclusive learning environments are necessary for all students to thrive. Such environments require that teachers and students engage in a critical praxis: iterative reflection and action that attend to social identity, power/privilege, and oppression for social justice promotion. In this conceptual paper, I overview my efforts as a program director to engage in a critical praxis and embed diversity, inclusion, and equity values into the fabric of an athletic leadership master’s program at a teaching-focused college. Strategic efforts described include creating a mission statement, conducting a needs assessment, developing a curriculum to promote critical capacity building in tandem with supporting sport–social justice student research, and recruitment of students with minoritized identities and nontraditional backgrounds. I conclude with future directions aimed at ensuring that graduate students have an inclusive and empowering educational experience that helps them develop as inclusive, equity-minded leaders.

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