Professor Rachel Griffin delivered the Inclusive Excellence Keynote for the Washington State Community and Technical College System, which hosted 600+ student services professionals representing the 34 community and technical colleges in the state. Her talk was titled, "Privilege, Oppression, and Complexity: Our Institutions are of the World We Live In.”
The conference is held every three years to foster professional development and institutional innovation. This year’s theme was “The Student Experience: Focus on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,” and Dr. Griffin's keynote was anchored by the premise that social justice should not be reduced to political parties or dismissed as "liberal." Rather, a critical/cultural lens underscores dignity, autonomy, and safety as elemental to social justice and human rights. Dr. Griffin argued this stance implicates all student service professionals in conversations about social justice because students’ dignity, autonomy, and safety always matter in higher education. She has delivered well over 100 anti-sexual violence and Inclusive Excellence presentations on campuses and at conferences nationally and internationally.
Dr. Griffin is a newly appointed Assistant Professor of Race and Communication in the Department of Communication. She was previously tenured at Southern Illinois University (SIU), where she earned SIU’s Department of Communication Studies 2016 Outstanding Teacher Award. As a critical intercultural scholar, her research interests span Black feminist thought, critical race theory, sexual violence, popular culture, sport, and education. In 2015, she won the Scholar-Activist Award by NCA's Critical Cultural Studies Division and the Rex Crawley Outstanding Service Award by the NCA African American Communication Division and Black Caucus.