Welton named Rupple-Bascom Professor

Anjalé Welton was appointed by UW–Madison campus leadership as the Rupple-Bascom Professor, which confirms the high esteem in which she is held by her colleagues.

AJ Welton

Welton, who chairs the School of Education’s highly ranked Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, focuses much of her work on how educational leaders talk about and address race and racism in their school communities. She is also committed to providing professional development for educational leaders on issues of race and equity.

“It’s terrific that Professor Welton has been awarded the Rupple-Bascom Professorship,” says School of Education Dean Diana Hess, who was serving as UW–Madison’s interim provost this past summer when Welton’s appointment was made. “Her scholarship is exemplary and has had tremendous impact in many communities. She is a first-rate teacher and an accomplished leader who is also rightfully recognized for her commitment to working directly with practitioners.”

Welton joined the faculty at UW–Madison prior to the start of the 2020-21 academic year, and before that had served since 2011 as a faculty member in the Department of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Welton’s research specific to racial equity and justice also considers the role of student and community voice, leadership, and activism in education reform and transformation.

Book cover for Anti-Racist Educational Leadership and Policy
Welton co-authored the award-winning book, “Anti-Racist Educational Leadership and Policy.”

Her most recent book, co-authored with University of Missouri’s Sarah Diem, is titled “Anti-Racist Educational Leadership and Policy.” In 2020, it received the Taylor and Francis Outstanding New Textbook Award in Behavioral Sciences and Education, and in 2021 it earned an American Educational Studies Association (AESA) Critic’s Choice Book Award.

Each chapter in the book unpacks a policy issue such as school choice, school closures, standardized testing, discipline, and school funding —  and analyzes it through the racialized and market-driven lenses of the current leadership context. Full of real examples, the book equips aspiring school leaders with the skills to question how a policy addresses or fails to address racism. It also provides action-oriented strategies to develop anti-racist solutions, and the tools to encourage their school community to promote racial equity. A book review published in the Teachers College Record called the work a “must-read book for anyone interested in both antiracism and educational policy.”

Some of Welton’s prior professional experiences include being the coordinator of a leadership and empowerment program for urban youth, a facilitator of an urban education teacher preparation program, and a teacher in large urban districts.

The Rupple-Bascom Professorship will provide Welton with discretionary funds over the next five years to be used for research- and scholarly-related activities.

“School leaders need help cultivating school communities that are racially equitable and just,” says Welton. “The resources provided by the Rupple-Bascom Professorship will help further my existing research-practice partnerships with school leaders engaged in anti-racist change.”

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