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Educational Policy Studies News

Ladson-Billings talks about mentorship from former UW chancellor Shalala

November 15, 2018

Donna Shalala, a former chancellor at UW-Madison, was recently elected to Congress and will be representing Florida’s 27th congressional district.

According to interviews in a new article from Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Shalala has an impressive history of leadership, even before she ventured into politics.

Gloria Ladson-Billings
Among old colleagues and friends of Shalala interviewed is Gloria Ladson-Billings, a recently retired professor with the School of Education. Ladson-Billings had taught with the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Policy Studies, and Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis since transferring to UW-Madison at Shalala’s persuasion in 1991. Before moving on to serving as the president of the National Academy of Education, Ladson-Billing held the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education at UW-Madison.

Through all her achievements, Ladson-Billings cites Shalala as a mentor who helped not only her, but many other “women and minorities gain employment, tenure and advancement” in higher education.

Ladson-Billing tells Divers Issues that she remembers fondly her time under Shalala’s tutelage, referring to herself and a group of black women faculty members at UW-Madison as “the Class of Shalala.” She recalls the former chancellor’s determination to create a diverse faculty at UW-Madison, describing how Shalala recruited her away from a teaching position at Santa Clara University, and created within this group a network of support for black female faculty members.

Many of Shalala’s former “students,” including Ladson-Billings, reflect on her strong leadership and predict great endeavors and development in diversity during her time as a Florida Congresswomen.

To learn more, check out the article on this Diverse Issues web page.

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