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Whitworth to host Kate Shuster for Jan. 20 lecture on state of civil rights education

January 9, 2015

Whitworth University will host education specialist and statistician Kate Shuster, Ph.D., who will present a lecture, “The State of Civil Rights Education in the U.S.,” on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall. This lecture is free and the public is invited to attend.

Shuster is the author of a seminal 2011 study, commissioned by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which examines how states in the U.S. teach the history of the U.S. Civil Rights movement. In the original 2011 report, Washington State received a failing grade; in 2014, an updated report showed that Washington earned a “D,” marking minimal improvement.

In her lecture, Shuster will review the motivation for the original study, the means by which she graded states, and her overall findings as they have been updated in 2014. She will also answer the question: Where are we now in our efforts to educate todays’ students about the history of the U.S. Civil Rights movement?

"Students' ability to understand the struggles of past groups, possibly different from themselves, is a big first step in developing empathy and becoming well-rounded," says Whitworth speech communications major Elizabeth Porter, '16. Porter is largely responsible for Shuster’s visit to Whitworth. Porter is also overseeing implementation of a student-led volunteer program to bring college students from throughout Washington State into K-12 classrooms to teach U.S. Civil Rights history.

Shuster is the president of Shuster Consulting and holds a doctorate in educational studies from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of Teaching the Movement 2014: The State of Civil Rights Education, and its 2011 edition. To learn more about Shuster, visit her website at

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or