University of Northwestern – St. Paul announced the "Pathway to Teaching Scholarship" in honor of Dr. Yvonne RB-Banks at the UNW Scholarship Symposium on Friday, May 11, 2018. The first student awarded the Pathway to Teaching Scholarship for the 2018-2019 school year was Alexus Harrison in recognition of her scholarship and service within the elementary education program in Northwestern's School of Education. The award provides a teacher education candidate with $1,000 to help lower the cost of tuition.
"It is our hope and prayer that funding through this scholarship will support the development of Christian teachers from traditionally underrepresented populations in E-12 classrooms as well as those who may be first generation college students," said Dean of the College of Professional Studies and Professor of Elementary Education Dr. Susan Johnson.
The Northwestern community chose to honor Dr. RB-Banks for several reasons. During the 2017-2018 school year, Dr. RB-Banks was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Black Women in Higher Education (ABWHE).
She received the Lifetime Achievement Award due to her career in higher education, outstanding accomplishments in mentorship, advocacy, advancement and leadership resulting in the profound and positive impact on the intellectual, social, and emotional development of students.
"Dr. RB-Banks was effective in bringing her passion for serving students and her skills in advocacy to bear on educational challenges faced by students at both the Pre K-12 and higher education levels. Dr. RB-Banks’ ability to integrate faith, reason, and practice have enabled her to have a profound influence on the next generation of Christian teachers," said Dr. Johnson.
Prior to coming to Northwestern in the fall of 1998, Dr. RB-Banks worked in the public school system for approximately 17 years, where she taught and developed programs for children needing services related to special education in Pre K-12 schools.
"Her professional passion has been found in the advocacy of access for those often marginalized at the doors of higher education," said Dr. Johnson.
In 2017, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities magazine published her piece "Diversity Matters," which discusses her experiences as an African American female scholar in Christian higher education.
Dr. RB-Banks also contributed to the work of several non-profit boards and is a regular contributor to several higher education publications. She has traveled to over 17 countries presenting at international conferences on topics related to educational access for women and the over-representation of African American males in special education.