Baylor School of Education associate professor Dr. Lakia Scott became the first Baylor faculty member to be named as the university’s “Champion of Change” earlier this year.
Baylor University launched the “Champions of Change” awards to recognize and acknowledge the accomplishments of faculty, staff, and alumni (one of each annually) who have demonstrated efforts to “foster greater appreciation and advancement of diversity, inclusiveness, and equity for communities of color at Baylor and in Waco.” A diverse and representative volunteer advisory committee sought nominations and made the final selections for the inaugural honorees.
Scott’s efforts in equity enhancement have included promoting the recruitment and retention of first-generation college students and students of color through advising student organizations; establishing a reputation for being empathetic and supportive of students from traditionally marginalized backgrounds; and focusing her research on multicultural awareness, diversity practices, and urban education and literacy.
“I am humbled by this recognition, and I do not take this honor lightly,” Scott said. “This notion of being a champion of change truly challenges us to continue in our efforts to call into question and/or critique the structural and systemic barriers that limit human flourishing. While I am grateful that my efforts have been noticed, there is still so much to do, especially in thinking about equitable education as a right, not a privilege, for all students in our country. I am thankful to do my part in Waco — the strides made here can provide a national model for evoking true change in education.”
For three years, Scott served as the Chair of the Campus Diversity Committee and currently serves on the President’s Diversity Council. Scott also won Baylor’s Diversity Enhancement Award in 2018 and this year is the recipient of Baylor’s Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award (tenure-track) She is the founding director of Baylor’s Freedom Schools, a summer literacy enrichment program for elementary and middle school youth which focuses on culturally relevant teaching practices and the utilization of multicultural literature in order to bridge summer learning loss.
Teaching in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and serving as the department’s graduate program director, Scott is a recognized scholar in the field of Urban Education. Her credits include a host of research publications, co-authored and co-edited books, book chapters, and educational evaluation reports.
When the awards were presented at the end of the spring semester, Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone said, “The impact of this year’s Champions of Change echoes far beyond the halls of Baylor University, reverberating well into the greater Waco community. Each of these amazing leaders embodies the character and commitment to equity we seek in reflecting Baylor’s Christian mission.”
The impact of Scott’s work has indeed reverberated beyond campus, as she also received recognition from the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, receiving their “Waco Under 40” Award honoring “dynamic young leaders under the age of 40” who are making an impact in the greater Waco community.
Scott said, “I believe strongly that through service, love, and intentionality, we can transform our community spaces in ways that translate to human flourishing. I am honored to be among my esteemed peers and colleagues who also consider themselves servants of the greater Waco community.”
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