Ellen Cushman is the perfect scholar to hold the prestigious title—a public intellectual incomparably suited to be the College of Social Sciences and Humanities’ inaugural director of Civic Sustainability, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiatives.
“Over the past two decades,” Cushman says, “I’ve been thinking, writing, and teaching about the strengths of diverse learners in classrooms and communities as well as the problems they face.”
Her research centers on literacy in tribal and urban communities, with a particular focus on exploring language’s role in the everyday struggle for dignity, respect, and change.
As a Cherokee Nation citizen, her work is informed by the tribe’s ethic of reciprocity. “We have a social responsibility to each other,” she says, “an obligation to the people with whom we make knowledge.”