Christian Curriculum

“Champion of diversity” | New Exhibition Pays Homage to K-State Teacher’s Work in Education | Characteristics


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Alan Boyer said that when thinking about how to honor his father’s legacy, he didn’t want a simple monument or nameplate with no history.

“He was such a humble man; he wasn’t the type to hunt for stardom, ”Boyer said.

Boyer’s father, James Boyer, is the subject of a new exhibit called “Champion of Diversity” at K-State College of Education, unveiled on May 12.

Roy Garrett, who is the senior exhibits and operations manager at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, designed the display that sits on a wall in a wide hallway on the first floor.

Boyer, who died in May 2017, was the College of Education‘s first black full professor and one of the university’s first diversity advocates.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the school of education, said Boyer’s work has focused on creating learning environments that better encompass the diverse cultures and backgrounds of student populations. Boyer has written several textbooks and numerous articles with formulas for removing racism, sexism, elitism, ageism and disability from educational materials, programs, student activities, and policies.

“He was brilliant,” Mercer said.

Mercer, a K-State alum, said her last memory of Boyer was at a college reunion. Boyer was an avid pianist but had no formal musical training. Instead, he learned to play by ear.

“He just sat down at the piano in that house and started playing and singing,” Mercer said. “It’s a wonderful memory.”

University administrators recruited Boyer in 1971, and Mercer said he quickly became a fundamental figure in the College of Education. Mercer said he helped “forge a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, before we use those words.”

“Because of him, the (College of Education) was ahead of our time,” said Mercer. “Our programs were stronger because of the lens he gave us.”

Alan Boyer said his father had the opportunity to help future teachers “really understand how to teach children of color, children in urban and rural communities.

“I think he took full advantage of this opportunity,” said Boyer.

Boyer said his father left the University of Houston to join K-State as public schools across the country disintegrated and university officials at the time intentionally brought him in.

“They wanted someone who could be a voice for children of color and a voice for all teachers, regardless of race, so that they had the tools and knowledge to help inspire all the children in their classrooms. “Said Boyer.

Alan Boyer graduated from the AQ Miller School of Journalism in 1985 and is now a visiting professor and teaches courses in advertising and sports communication. He said the artifacts and stories shown in the exhibit were from a hardcover book he found in his father’s collection of scholarly papers.

“It’s probably about 3 or 4 inches thick,” Boyer said. “This is one of the many books my father wrote throughout his time at K-State.”

Boyer said his father was discussing the possibility of donating his scientific work to the university’s archives department before his death in May 2017. Now he has said he will grant his father’s wish by sending items from his collection to the university archivist, in addition to the documents included. in the exhibition.

Mercer said there were still several College of Education faculty members who were working with Boyer and they held him in high regard. She said Boyer kept everything – from handwritten lecture notes to newspaper clippings – and that her research into diversity and equity in education shaped the college’s academic atmosphere.

$ 383 Superintendent Marvin Wade had Boyer as a teacher while he was studying education at K-State. He said he didn’t remember the class, but that he “definitely remembered” Boyer.

“He left a lasting impression,” said Wade. “It wasn’t just the content, I remember, it was it that engaged people and encouraged them to think more deeply about issues.”

Wade said he recalled conversations with Boyer that presented different perspectives on teaching and learning that opened his eyes to the discrimination or disadvantage some people face.

“He would just say, ‘Now really think about this’ and put us in situations where we would be uncomfortable looking at each other,” Wade said. “He knew a lot, and it was evident in our conversations that he knew a lot, but he didn’t just lecture us.

Wade said the issues Boyer addressed are still relevant topics of discussion today. He said Boyer would make the topic relate to the students by incorporating stories from his own life. Born in Winter Park, Florida in 1934, Boyer was the third of nine children. Boyer’s wife Edna was one of 12 children, and Alan Boyer said his mother was there next to his father every step of the way.

“I would call him my ‘steel magnolia’,” said Boyer. “She is wise, she is a Christian woman, she is truly a remarkable person to know.”

In addition to being a teacher, Boyer was the founding pastor of the Fellowship Temple Church of God in Christ in Manhattan. Edna Boyer, 83, still lives in Manhattan and is the chair of the church board. Boyer was also a recording artist; at 16, he released a gospel single with his brother.

Alan Boyer said his future retirement plan will be to browse his father’s collection of around 1,500 gospel albums and possibly loan them to music programs in schools across the country. He said the walls of the family garage were lined with custom shelves designed to hold his father’s work.

“My father’s work helped amplify some things that a lot of students still face and that people aren’t always aware of,” Boyer said. “I think there will be opportunities for his work, his thinking, his writings, to be made available for research in the future, and to be incorporated into the curriculum of the future.

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