Arcadia University Receives $300K Grant to Enhance Initiatives of CASAA

By Dan DiPrinzio | July 28, 2022
CASAA leaders meet around table with students

Arcadia University has received a one-year $300K grant for the 2022-23 academic year to support the Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action (CASAA) in its efforts to promote antiracist research and pedagogical innovation at the University. 

Specifically, the grant, made by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will enable Center leaders to implement key initiatives such as the CASAA Scholar-Advocates Program and expand the CASAA Microgrants Program for faculty and staff scholarship. In addition, grant funds will be used to develop and implement the collaborative Praxis for Teaching Race program, led by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Mentoring (CTLM). Through this work, “CASAA is poised to be a national leader in antiracism scholarship and advocacy,” says Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jeff Rutenbeck. “The Kellogg Foundation’s support of these efforts will be transformational.”

“Each initiative funded in this grant will help advance innovative research across the disciplines to counter racism and promote social justice while also helping build a groundswell of advocacy to create more equitable systems and structures,” says lead proposal developer and CASAA Associate Director Dr. Christopher Allen Varlack. “As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. noted in ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail,’ ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,’ and so we must build a strong coalition of researchers, social advocates, and agents of change to envision pathways for countering racism, achieving racial equity, and resolving future challenges of systemic racism we may face.”

The CASAA Scholar-Advocates Program

Because the culture and systems of racism are constantly evolving, a central goal of CASAA is to promote research—through an intersectional lens—and to establish a network of researchers concerned with advancing our understanding of race, racism, and antiracism in the past as well as the contemporary world. The CASAA Scholar-Advocates Program will provide faculty and staff participants with release time to engage in research, access to additional travel and professional development funding, and a modest stipend to accelerate this important and timely work. The Scholar-Advocates will address a variety of issues such as interconnections between U.S. asylum law and white supremacy, racism in LGBTQIA+ student organizations at PWIs, Black music as a vehicle for addressing social injustices, and more. CASAA Scholar-Advocates will share their work at a symposium in Spring 2023.

The CASAA Microgrants Program

The WKKF grant will also enhance the CASAA Microgrants Program launched at Arcadia this past spring. The program will offer participants funding to host focus groups, for conference travel and other forms of professional development, for books and resources, etc., with increased funding made available to support collaborative, interdisciplinary projects on race-related issues in education and/or the world. Recipients of microgrants under this program will present their research to the public as part of the CASAA Race Matters Forum, establishing a stronger bridge between the University and local communities, many of whom are the target demographics for the research, reforms, and initiatives at the center of these projects.

The Praxis for Teaching Race Program

Funds within this grant are also devoted to launching Praxis for Teaching Race, a collaborative program led by Arcadia’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring (CTLM) designed to build and extend the University’s capacity to implement its Combating Anti-Black Racism Initiatives (CABR). This program will advance existing efforts to support both practical and pedagogical approaches to designing antiracist curricular infusion, leverage existing research on teaching and learning practices that promote racial equity and inclusive excellence, and implement best practices across the entire Arcadia academic landscape. Dr. Jodi Bornstein, Acting Faculty Director of CTLM, says, “We see this as an essential program that will engage all community stakeholders in building a stronger community around antiracist work.” This grant will allow us to create an educational environment that brings Arcadia’s vision of a “values-based learning community [that] reflects the world in which we want to live” to fruition in substantive, measurable, and meaningful ways. 

“Ultimately, we recognize that insufficient progress has been made in our global efforts toward achieving racial equity and justice,” says CASAA Founding Executive Director Dr. Doreen Loury. “We are therefore deeply appreciative of the WKKF support, and I am honored to have played a role in the Center’s first grant before I leave as Founding Executive Director in the fall. These initiatives are vital as we work to establish a repository of antiracist scholarship, educational resources, and data-driven recommendations for institutional reform. At the same time, they will drive important dialogue with the community and leaders of social justice efforts that can move the needle forward to a more just and more equitable world.”

About the Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action

The Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action (CASAA) was established in 2021 at Arcadia University as an interdisciplinary academic center that brings together individuals from the University, community, and wider world to (re)shape the thinking and mindset about racism across the globe with the intent to not only combat racism but also promote racial justice and equity. CASAA is based in Glenside, Pennsylvania. For more information, visit 

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work, and life. For more information, visit