Multicultural Education with Associate Professor Ericka J. Fisher '96

By Pam Reponen

Open to upper-class students, the course examines key conceptual and philosophical topics related to multicultural education in the United States. Focusing on various socio-historical perspectives for the study of race, gender and culture in the increasingly diverse U.S. educational system, students explore the impact of these issues on classroom teaching and learning and the structure and organization of schools.

Weekly seminar and student participation in a community-based learning component (CBL) with the Worcester Public Schools


Class participation; maintenance of a CBL journal; two short papers; and a final research paper and presentation

On the day HCM visited class

Update on students' initial experiences at their CBL sites. Lecture and discussion based on topics covered in Rafe Esquith's Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire and James Banks' An Introduction to Multicultural Education (fourth edition), specifically the chapter titled "Teaching with Powerful Ideas"

Additional sample texts

The Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol, In the Deep Heart's Core by Michael Johnston, Losing Our Language by Sandra Stotsky, Why Are So Many Minority Students in Special Education? by Beth Harry and Janette Klingner

Professor bio
Associate professor and current chair of the department of education, Ericka Fisher joined the College faculty as an assistant professor in 2003. A 1996 graduate of Holy Cross with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology, she received her master's degree in school counseling and Ph.D. in social justice education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. A keynote speaker at conferences and events and the author of various articles for professional journals, Fisher is currently completing a book-length manuscript about public schools in America.

Professor quote

"Holy Cross students become leaders in their communities and often are in roles that afford them the opportunity to make decisions that impact the lives of others," says Fisher, above, standing. "This course provides students with a conceptual and philosophical framework that transcends the institution of education. This framework provides insight into how to contribute to transformative and structural change in our society. ... My hope is that the class inspires and empowers them to collaborate with others and to make change in their future work, whether that is as a teacher, community leader, policy maker or physician. They should leave the course knowing they can contribute greatly to society, and transformation can happen anywhere."

Student Quote

"This course has increased my understanding of the issues related to multicultural education in the United States ... by opening my eyes not only to the reality of today, but also to the hope of tomorrow," says Kristen Vartanian '12 of Worcester. "... Multicultural Education is a course that goes over and beyond by teaching life lessons from inside the classroom."


Multicultural Education fulfills a requirement for students pursuing a minor in education, a six-course program open to students of all majors that focuses on the field of education as a liberal arts discipline. This class also satisfies a course requirement for students enrolled in the Teacher Education Program, designed for students interested in either pursuing licensure at the undergraduate level or preparing  for a graduate teacher educator program.