VDK Academy for Social Change
The Virgie Dunlap-King (VDK) Academy for Social Change is a program designed to help
students discover their potential for becoming change-makers in our community. The
academy is intended for student leaders who want to make an impact on our campus.
The academy will include service work, mentorship opportunities, and working on a
student's personal leadership journey - all with a cohort to grow and learn with.
Students will also have the opportunity to graduate with Leadership Distinction through
our COLD Certificate Program.
Our cohort for the 2022-2023 academic year has already been selected, but please check back April of 2023 for next year's VDK application.
The VDK Academy for Social Changewas established in 2019 in remembrance of Virgie M. Dunlap-King. Virgie taught English at Tanana Middle School for 24 years before retiring in 1997. During her time there, she realized there was a lack of Black educators in the schools as well as in Administration positions. With minimal representation, Black students weren’t receiving the mentorship that they needed. As a result, she put together the idea of a conference to provide students the opportunity to interact with professionals who looked like them. For the past 32 years, the African-American Student Leadership Conference (AASLC) has brought speakers from around the nation to facilitate workshops concerning self-esteem, goal-setting, higher education, Black history, and public service.
The African-American Student Leadership Conference (AASLC) project was dreamed up and designed by Virgie and continued her legacy of advocating for students. During her time in college Virgie was an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement. She marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and worked directly with Stokley Carmichael. She knew that action solves problems and even organized a boycott of businesses in her hometown that treated Black customers poorly.
An active member of multiple civil rights and service organizations, she often held office or represented local chapters on the national level. Her commitment and work have left a lasting imprint on her middle school students, Conference attendees, and the city of Fairbanks.
Theory and Outcomes
The VDK curriculum is based on the Social Change Model of Leadership developed by Helen and Alexander Astin in 1996.
The Social Change Model of leadership development has two primary goals. To enhance student learning and development; more specifically, to develop in each student greater:
- Self-knowledge: Understanding one's talents, values, and interests, especially as these relate to the student's capacity to provide effective leadership
- Leadership competence: The capacity to mobilize one-self and others to serve and work collaboratively
And, to facilitate positive social change at the institution or in the community; that is, undertake actions which will help the institution/community to function more effectively and humanely.
Components of the Student Leadership and Involvement Co-Curricular Opportunities for Leadership Development (COLD) Certificate Level 3 are also at the core of the VDK Institute for Social Change. These components include clarified values, spiritual awareness, social responsibility, commitment, and controversy with civility. These components are adapted from the third level of the Social Change Model.
- Students will be able to recognize their personal values and belief systems and apply those values in goal setting and decision making.
- Students will be able to describe the importance of community involvement and the ways in which they can influence social change.
- Students will apply knowledge of social problems in designing and implementing their Nanook Legacy project.
- Students will be able to illustrate effective communication and analyze their personal lens.
- Students will be able to determine their personal commitment to social change and create an action plan for sustained involvement.
Program Highlights from our 2019-2020 Cohort