Fostering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Within the Classroom

Dr. Danica Fulbright Sumpter

Meet Danica Sumpter, PhD, RN, UT Austin School of Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor, and one of this year’s Macy Faculty Scholars. Dr. Sumpter (BSN ’01) has been recognized for her innovations in teaching and was named a University Provost’s Teaching Fellow in 2019. Her work as chair of the Family, Public Health and Nursing Administration Division, co-chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at the UTSON and her involvement with the Black Mamas Community Collective, have all fueled her aspirations of becoming an expert in anti-racist teaching praxis.

As a Macy Faculty Scholar, Dr. Sumpter is working to develop a Toolkit for Anti-Racist Teaching (T-ART). The T-ART seeks to equip and empower health professions faculty with resources and training to promote the best practices for teaching how institutionalized racism persists as a significant "pre-existing condition" underlying numerous health inequities.

During the Fall 2020 semester, she taught the first iteration of ‘Race, Power, Privilege and Health’. This graduate level elective was developed in response to student requests for an increased curricular focus on racism and social justice issues in health and health care. For this Spring 2021 semester, Dr. Sumpter is teaching another new course titled, ‘The Art & Science of Teaching Nursing’. This graduate level course allows her to facilitate a deep dive into cognitive and neuroscience literature to help students cultivate and foster an evidence-based teaching praxis.

In addition to these courses, Dr. Sumpter is also conducting a systematic review of multidisciplinary literature examining best practices for teaching about racism. She recently launched a faculty needs assessment to uncover what faculty in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work need to know to be able to cultivate an anti-racist teaching praxis.

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Sumpter co-launched the UT Austin School of Nursing’s faculty and staff book club with Dr. Karen Johnson in the spring of 2018. In Fall 2021, she is looking forward to utilizing this learning community as a ‘testing ground’ for some of the anti-racist teaching strategies found in the multidisciplinary literature she is currently examining.

We honor Dr. Danica Sumpter for her leadership in developing a more equitable teaching praxis within nursing education and for her contributions to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of Dr. Sumpter’s work as a Macy Faculty Scholar and will hold space for faculty members looking to reimagine and redesign their courses with anti-racist teaching praxis in mind.