Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Randall Westbrook

Alumnus Dr. Randall Westbrook has been extremely successful since graduating with his masters and doctorate from the GSE. Dr. Westbrook was recently a guest editor and contributor to The Journal of Negro Education and authored “Elusive Quest: Reflecting on Bell and Brown” for the Harvard Law School Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice.

The summer 2018 edition of The Journal of Negro Education was a tribute to the educational legacy of W.E.B. DuBois in celebration of his 150th birthday. DuBois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer and editor and attended Harvard University where he was the first African-American to earn a doctoral degree. Dr. Westbrook’s piece as a guest editor and contributor for The Journal of Negro Education discussed some of the implications of DuBois’s work, highlighted social justice issues, and explored the statistical persistence of the social underclass that DuBois first examined over a century ago. “He was easily one of the most intellectually credentialed in the world, but because he was an African-American man, some of the most prestigious universities in the world would not grant him a title which was reflective of his contributions to social justice and educational practices. My goal in contributing to this journal was to reflect on and acknowledge the incredibly important work that DuBois did during his time.”

In addition to contributing to The Journal of Negro Education, Dr. Westbrook also wrote an article for the Harvard Law School Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice titled “Elusive Quest: Reflecting on Bell and Brown.” In this article, Dr. Westbrook highlighted the legacy of law professor Derrick A. Bell, Jr. and discussed the impact that his work created in the education and social justice fields as well as Bell’s critical examination of the famous Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. The case was monumental because it unanimously ruled that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Dr. Westbrook said, “The work of Bell and the legacy of the Brown case are still relevant today… We see problems in education and schools right now that stem back to the era of racial segregation in schools.”

Currently, Dr. Westbrook is a lecturer in the School of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Dr. Westbrook graduated from the Rutgers GSE in 1995 with his master’s degree in Sociology of Education, and later returned to pursue his doctorate in Philosophy of Education. During his time as a master’s student, Dr. Westbrook had the opportunity to meet the late Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor, who was recently honored by the GSE with an endowed chair in his name. Dr. Proctor was one of the most influential activists of his time and was a friend and mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson. “Dr. Proctor changed the course of my future… He is the one who advised me to pursue a degree in the Social and Philosophical Foundation Program. I am so grateful to have been able to meet such an incredibly influential man and to have my life changed by him.” Along with Dr. Proctor, Drs. James Giarelli from the GSE and. Leonard Bethel, GSE Alumnus and founder of the Africana Studies program here at Rutgers, were two GSE faculty members who helped Dr. Westbrook achieve success during his time at the GSE.

Dr. Westbrook has a wealth of knowledge, history, and experience that informs his advocacy work on racial and social justice. His work as a contributor to The Journal of Negro Education, in his article for the Harvard Law School Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice, and as an educator has always been pursued to Advance Excellence and Equity in Education.