Cook Center Faculty Affiliate Dr. Malik Henfield Named New Founding Dean

Malik Henfield Named Founding Dean of the New Institute for Racial Justice of Loyola University Chicago

Dear Loyola Community,

I am pleased to announce that Malik Henfield, Dean of the School of Education, has agreed to become the Founding Dean of the new Institute for Racial Justice (IRJ) of Loyola University Chicago.

The Institute for Racial Justice is a mission priority for our University. This institute will be the first of its kind at a Jesuit university, implementing a transdisciplinary center for research and education around racism and racial disparity in our society. The Institute aspires to gain a greater understanding of racism in all of its forms and to find new ways of connection and action to facilitate greater equity and justice. At the core of the activities of the IRJ are research, education, and community engagement to build community and create capacity by collaborating with individuals, groups, and organizations that seek out, identify, and ultimately eliminate the cultural manifestations of racism and xenophobia that limit the fuller realization of humanity and liberation within the University, the city, the nation, and the world.

Dr. Henfield has led the initial development and planning for the IRJ, and his leadership and scholarly background will serve well as founding dean. He has published numerous articles and books and spoken widely about his research, which situates Black students’ experiences in broader contexts to explore critically how personal, social, academic, and career success is impeded or enhanced by school, family, and community settings and policies. As a counselor educator, he has worked tirelessly with many school systems and policymakers across the country to diversify the counseling profession.

The development of the Institute is happening in parallel with Anti-Racism Initiative (ARI), our University-wide effort to engage and address racism and work toward authentic change in our community and in academic professions. The ARI seeks to build a more just community, improve our recruitment of students and faculty of color, and infuse anti-racism in our teaching and curricula.

The IRJ is part of the bigger vision for the future of the University. We aim to become a University devoted to tackling the most complex and urgent social problems in the world. Tackling such complex problems require us to work across schools in a deeply transdisciplinary manner. Thus, the IRJ joins other such efforts at the University such as the recently formed School of Environmental Sustainability and the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health.

As we have announced to the School of Education, Dr.  Henfield will step down as dean on January 1 and will be succeeded by Interim Dean Markeda Newell. Dr. Newell has served as senior associate dean since the fall of 2019 and can capably guide the School through this critical phase in its history. We thank Dr. Newell for taking on this important task.

Please join me as well in thanking Dean Henfield for his service to the School of Education and Loyola. We look forward to his contributions in making the new Institute a distinctive contribution to our mission and a center for productive scholarship and action addressing the most urgent and complex issues facing our society.

Together in Loyola,

Norberto M. Grzywacz, PhD
Provost and Chief Academic Officer