Dare to Research Identity

Sherry Watt


Associate Professor

College(s): Education

Sherry Watt’s research on privileged identity exploration has expanded understanding of the ways people react to difficult dialogue related to social issues, a topic she explores extensively as an author and editor of the book, Designing Transformative Multicultural Initiatives: Theoretical Foundations, Practical Applications, and Facilitator Considerations. Watt finds that these reactions interrupt productive dialogue that could lead to change because those with a privileged identity and who hold power respond defensively as they explore the realities of racism. The fear and the entitlement disrupt their ability to listen responsively and interfere with their willingness to share power. A recent article of Watt’s—one of several that have appeared on the website for Krista Tippett’s On Being—argues for treating racism as we would treat a disease. Watt, who has won accolades for her transformative work in higher education, is a facilitator with almost 20 years of experience designing and leading educational experiences that involve strategies to engage participants in dialogue that is meaningful, passionate, and self-awakening.

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