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University of Memphis

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
3720 Alumni Ave
Memphis, Tennessee 38152
(901) 678-2000
School Information
"Located in a quiet residential neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee, the UofM is a major research institution. What you learn here builds a sense of intellectual engagement that will empower you to make a difference in life and throughout your career. Founded in 1912, we welcome more than 21,000 students to campus every year. Diversity is one of our strengths. Students and faculty come from all over the world to be a part of the UofM experience. The campus boasts 25 Chairs of Excellence and five state-approved Centers of Excellence." The university has over 250 areas of study and employs over 900 full-time faculty. (Source: (Source: (Source:
General Information
The University of Memphis recently launched its "Eradicating Systemic Racism and Promoting Social Justice Initiative." The "Curriculum: Infusing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice into Existing Courses/Curriculum" work group will "identify/develop critical curriculum review questions and protocols; integrate culture and climate as supports to curriculum content..." No Critical Race Training sessions are yet required of students. See developments below:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • One of the goals of UM's Division of Research and Innovation is to "[d]evelop and promote methods to retain, recruit and support a diverse student body and faculty cohort."
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • The Office of Institutional Equity offers "Implicit Bias and Microaggresion Awareness" training as part of its "Discrimination & Harassment Prevention" course.
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • "The primary goals of this workgroup are to identify/develop actionable frameworks for diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice; identify/develop critical curriculum review questions and protocols; integrate culture and climate as supports to curriculum content, methods and teaching and learning; and accumulate and disseminate models for curriculum self-assessment, program planning and continuous improvement."
Program and Research Funding
  • "The Community Engagement, Policy and Advocacy Workgroup is tasked with identifying strategies that would utilize university resources to address racial disparities in the broader Memphis community."
  • UM's Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change "advances its mission of teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change primarily through education, research, innovative campaigns, and community engagement."
  • One of the "research focus areas" for the Department of Anthropology is "Religion, Identity Politics & Critical Race Studies" which is described as follows: "Like many cities, Memphis is a crossroad of trade and commerce with multiple, intersecting histories. Our faculty and students work toward understanding the complex interactions of political categories and personal identities through continuing research and community partnerships--both in Memphis and beyond."
  • UM's Public and Nonprofit Administration curriculum includes a "social justice and social change track" which would "prepare students to analyze social justice issues, effectively engage in nonprofit advocacy and lobbying, participate in the policy arena, and lead community grassroots efforts."
  • On June 22, 2021, the university hosted a virtual lecture on the, “importance of critical race theory. The speakers maintained that Critical race theory was a vital, necessary part of all levels of education because it offers the true history and understanding of this country.”
  • The College of Education’s Race, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee hosted a number of events and teaching series focused on “advancing an environment where diversity, social justice, and equity are paramount.”
  • The university provides a number of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources including sample syllabus statements on equity and inclusion.
  • In February 2022, the Claremont Institute Center for the American Way of Life published a report titled "Critical Social Justice in Tennessee Higher Education: An Overview," which states that Critical Social Justice "undermines equal protection of the law— creating different standards of justice for minorities and the supposedly oppressive majority." The report draws connections between CSJ and DEI program/initiatives at UM and states the following: "Recent controversies about woke grants at University of Memphis do not come as a surprise. Memphis has a Strategic Action Plan with DEI sown into it and a dedicated university-level DEI administrator. One should expect a more specific DEI plan in the coming years, with a great build-out at the university level. Colleges have begun the process of adopting DEI: six of its twelve colleges have either committees or strategic plans dedicated to DEI."
  • Social Justice Initiatives programming at UM "seek to empower students to challenge injustice and pursue equity in today's world" and to "encourage ongoing dialogue about the intersections of students' identity with other social identities, provide avenues for advocacy around pertinent issues affecting a multitude of communities, and to educate the campus and local communities on the richness of racial histories and cultures."
  • Dr. Celia Rousseau Anderson is a "Professor in the Secondary Education program area in the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership" and has co-authored several chapters for the "Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education."
  • The research of Associate Professor and Coordinator of African American Literature, Dr. Shelby Crosby, "threads together critical race theory, black feminism, and literary historical frameworks to interrogate an American national story."
  • Through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Diversity Ambassador Program "encourages students to take an active role on campus and promote awareness toward issues of multiculturalism, equality, and social justice."
  • UM Libraries provide "Black Lives & Contemporary Resistance" resources which has the purpose of "provid[ing] local and national context to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and to activism for racial justice more generally."
Symbolic Actions
  • The university recently launched its "Eradicating Systemic Racism and Promoting Social Justice Initiative."
Last updated March 15th, 2024
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