After half a century of work pioneering the field of multicultural education at the University of Washington College of Education, James A. Banks will retire in January.

Banks, who holds the Kerry and Linda Killinger Endowed Chair in Diversity Studies and founded the UW's Center for Multicultural Education, paved the way for generations of faculty and shaped the minds of countless K-12 teachers during his career. In a recent conversation with Columns magazine, Banks answered a series of questions submitted by fellow faculty, campus leaders and alumni of the College about his journey as a scholar, where he's found inspiration for his work and more.

Responding to a question from Gloria Ladson-Billings (MA ‘72), professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, about the opportunities that UW afforded him, Banks commented on the freedom her had to pursue his interest in studying Blacks and other people of color.

"[I]t was not easy, in 1969, to study Black folks, gay folks, disability folks, or gender," Banks said. "Young people today don’t realize that we had to really struggle to get our work seen as legitimate. The College of Education allowed me to be myself. It allowed me to blossom. I was a Black Southern kid. I had a good journey at Michigan State. I needed a community that was embracing, reinforcing — and I found that at this University."

Read the complete conversation in Columns magazine.


Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications