Lina Darwich

We are pleased to welcome Lina Darwich, PhD, assistant professor of teacher education in the elementary program.

What prior experience do you bring to this new position?

Before coming to Lewis and Clark, I was a faculty member at The University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Education. At UBC, I was involved in the Teacher Education Program where I coordinated and taught several courses. The courses I taught focused on human development, diversity and social justice, and on creating supportive and caring learning environments for all students.

My research is linked to diversity and our universal and basic need to belong. I have studied the experiences of LGBQ youth in their schools and the role of adult support. I have also examined ethnic minority youths’ ethnic identity, their experiences with discrimination, and their sense of belonging to school and to country of resettlement.

How do you see yourself contributing to the work and mission of your department and the Graduate School as a whole?

My commitment to diversity and equity in education guides my teaching and research. As a teacher-educator, I have the opportunity to raise future educators’ consciousness of issues of social justice, equity and diversity. I can also urge them to become active agents of change toward more inclusive, caring, and equitable learning environments for their own students.

In my work I have also focused (and will continue to focus) on social emotional learning (SEL) for both youth and teachers and on mental health literacy for educators. SEL involves helping children and adults develop their knowledge and skills in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, violence prevention, building healthy relationships, and ethical decision making.

I am excited about bringing my skills and expertise to Lewis and Clark because they strongly align with the Graduate School’s focus on compassion and social justice!

What drew you to the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling (GSEC)?

I believe in the mission, vision, and guiding principles of Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. Compassion, community, social justice, and equity are integral to GSEC and they are the core of my teaching philosophy and practice.

What work and projects lie immediately ahead of you upon your arrival at GSEC?

There are several projects that I am very excited to start working on. One project involves developing the child and adolescent development course. For example, one goal is to have elementary and secondary Teacher Candidates (who are taking this course) collaborate and learn from one another. Another “project” is more research oriented, and involves continuing my work on aspects of the school climate that promote diversity, social justice, and the well-being of students and teachers.

How to you foresee this position challenging you professionally?

You cannot separate education and schooling from their surrounding environment. Being new to the college, city, and state, what I think is both challenging and exciting for me is learning about the schools and communities that the Teacher Education Program at Lewis and Clark serves. I am really looking forward to spending time and to collaborating with educators and students in Portland’s different schools and communities. I want to support our Teacher Candidates in meaningfully and thoughtfully serving their communities.

What do you find especially unique about the graduate school and/or what do you see as its greatest asset?

I think that the Graduate School’s strongest assets are its people, and the positive climate that they have created. Each person I have met has a strong commitment to education and social justice. Every interaction has been very welcoming.

I am new in Portland and very excited about exploring my new home!