Whole Student Inclusion – Interview with Dr. Heidi Mirza

Professor Heidi Mirza is a pre-eminent scholar on feminism, intersectionality, and Black studies.

What does it mean to include the whole student?  This is the question at the heart of this interview with Kalyan Balaven for the Inclusion Factor and Professor Heidi Mirza.

In this interview Dr. Mirza covers what it means for institutions to include the whole students.  She gives an example of a school that seems to have done it and explains why, she explores the culture of brochurism in independent schools and universities and talks about what real representation looks like, and finally touches on the impact for diversity in faculty.

“Professor Heidi Mirza is an icon—for over 4 decades she has been a champion for inclusion on a global level as the pre-eminent scholar for Black Feminist Studies, Intersectionality, and the role of Education in relationship to Diversity and Inclusion in the world. I met Heidi in 2013, in Brighton, UK, after she had finished addressing our group of diverse global educators on what the real challenge of inclusion was, specifically speaking to the cost paid by the individual being included, when they became an exemplar or token for the institution, but could not thrive as a full community member due to the way they were being included.  I was struck by the sophistication of her presentation, the nuance she provided, and the guidance she willingly shared.  I approached the podium to share my gratitude and was surprised to find a kindred spirit, one who I still call my sister, and reveled in how many connections we had beyond the topic at hand—later I invited her to America, where she visited the school I was working at, and she single-handedly helped us move forward in leaps and bounds in our understanding of the complexity in the intersection of identity, within an eduscape, our responsibility as educator’s therein.”

This conversation builds on the last Inclusion Factor interview conducted by Kalyan Balaven with former NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf about inclusivity in organizations. It is also a series of resources focused on the Whole Student Inclusion and a critically well-received micro book on Whole Student Education.

Whole Student Education Guide by K. Balaven

A key part of inclusion in schools is “seeing” the whole student so that the whole student can thrive. To this end, Inclusion Factor’s own Kalyan Balaven offers a guide to understanding the hurdles that need to be overcome in order to create a culture that champions the whole student. In it he writes:

“I believe we begin to create a culture of learning when we see and come to know each individual student. This whole student culture becomes tangible, when we use a fluid method via curriculum, in order to focus on establishing a relationship with each student, and thereby catalyzing the learner within. I believe this culture is established when the eduscape allows learners to create and set their own parameters for engaged learning. Finally, this culture spreads when all forms of power are laid bare, and active learners are allowed to tap into their own hidden power, in order to find their power within.”  

This succinct paper gets to the heart of what these three challenges are, examines the critiques citing classical theorists, educational pundits, and uses a key teacher journal to offer practical feedback in service to whole student education.

Brought to you by Inclusion Factor Press, get your copy of 3 Key Challenges to Whole Student Education today.