What our partners say about us

Dr. Crum is an incredibly dynamic and engaging facilitator! For our staff and board, she offered them terminology in order to have a shared language when discussing identity and systems, which allowed for open and productive sharing. This foundation gave an opportunity for the group to reflect on their biases both individually and with each other. The positive feedback we received following the training was consistent. If you are considering a speaker or facilitator for an upcoming meeting or training, I highly recommend Dr. Crum!

Sarah Pariser

Director of Grants & Programs

The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio

Dr. Crum is a consummate researcher and dynamic speaker who packs a lot of important insights into her instructional time. Her presentation to Wexner Center staff was accessible to people on lots of different levels and we all walked away with practical tools to move our dialogue forward as a team. I especially appreciated her deep incorporation of fundamental skills in arts education: analyzing visual culture can both reveal the sources of our biased viewpoints as well as provide a pathway for understanding multiple truths.

Shelly Casto
Director of Education
Wexner Center for the Arts

Oh I did so enjoy your workshop at CMA recently! OK, so enjoy may not be the precise word since sometimes you made me aware of some things I say or do that are not so attractive which was more uncomfortable, than enjoyable. But I am glad for it. You have a lovely way of “holding a mirror up” to your audience, me, to reveal what my words or actions might sound like to others. But you do it in such a kind, non-judgmental way, that I didn’t leave feeling defensive or crappy. I left your session feeling more aware and thoughtful about some small things I can change or do differently to be more inclusive and generous to people different than me. I’ve learned that it takes a lot of courage and mindfulness to be non-judgmental. I applaud you for modeling that for the rest of us!

Hope to work with you again soon.


Merilee Mostov

Chief Engagement Officer

Columbus Museum of Art

In March 2015, Dr. Melissa Crum spoke to a crowd of 150 YWCA Columbus Leadership Luncheon attendees on the theme “The Power of Women Rising” to commemorate Women’s History Month. Dr. Crum eloquently spoke about the intersection of structural inequality, education and the politics of empowerment in a manner that was accessible to broad audiences. I appreciate that she uses liberatory concepts, methodologies and praxis-based approaches (rather than deficit based-models) to uplift our children and community. Further, her personal narrative about the courage and conviction required to pursue her passion through education and entrepreneurship is a testament to her commitment to social change, which greatly inspired all of our attendees. For example, many left comments such as “I truly enjoyed Dr. Crum’s story,” “Loved Dr. Crum’s talk,” and “Dr. Crum was very motivating- I took a ‘pep talk’ back to my desk to finish the day! Thank you for bringing this experience to us.” We look forward to working with her again in the future!


Sierra Austin

YWCA Director of Leadership and Social Justice Programs  

Melissa recently gave a guest talk via skype in my class on Planning for Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley. She and her project partner, Roderick Watson, Jr., gave an overview of how they worked with 8th grade students on an environmental justice project in the Linden neighborhood. They were honest, informative, and engaging. The students got a lot out of the talk and have been able to incorporate insights from the talk into themes from the rest of the course. I am truly grateful that Melissa and Roderick were able to share their time with us!


Hayden Shelby

Instructor, University of Califorina Berkeley

Big shout out from The Nehemiah Center Club 180 Xtreme members (6-8 grade)!!! Our adult volunteers were equally grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this awesome workshop!! The following statement was from a 1st day volunteer that asked if she could sit in following her initial interview: 
The literacy methodologies and interactive practicum led by Dr. Crum was a very profound and viral literacy EXPERIENCE. The educational encounter was engaging, evoking critical thinking, and encouraging literacy. The students imagination and creativity,collaboration,physical activity/exercise,theater arts/acting and verbal skills were stimulated and called into action. There was a significant amount of serious discussion but there was also a lot of FUN and enthusiasm!!!! At times one or more of the children would call out " more... more, can't we do that again!!!! Kudos Dr. Crum


Tondra K Frisby

Nehemiah Center

Dr. Melissa Crum conducted a 90 minute workshop to my OSU undergraduate art education students in February 2015. The workshop was called "Deficit Ideology and Disabilities." The presentation followed a clear movement through semiotics, socialization, deficit ideology and disability. Dr. Crum demonstrated her knowledge regarding the need to "start from the beginning" when it comes to issues of oppression. Dr. Crum's inclination to introduce the history of socialization made the discussion about deficit ideology extremely stronger because it gave the students a clear foundation that offered them not only the language to talk about oppression and issues of power, but it walked the students through implicating themselves in such issues. There were "ah ha" moments and realizations of privilege that I am sure would not have happened had not Dr. Crum began the conversation where she did. Dr. Crum's presentation was personable and welcoming and she created a safe space for my students explore tough topics. The language Dr. Crum used was non-accusatory, which plays a major role in executing an effective experience in diversity training and in critical explorations of power. I appreciated Dr. Crum's workshop; it was inspiring and I think any educator who decides to invite her into their learning environment will be thoroughly pleased.


Joni Boyd Acuff

Professor, Art Administration Education, and Policy

The Ohio State University

I had the pleasure of organizing an event on campus where Dr. Crum led a workshop for more than 50 people--most of them students majoring in education. The workshop encouraged conversations about sometimes thorny topics and people felt secure in sharing and asking questions.

Dr. Crum's presentation included important background information as well as recent findings from multiple research projects around the country. The participants in our workshop have already shared with me how helpful they found the event and how happy they are that they attended.

I'm so happy to think of so many of our education majors going into the workforce with this foundation to inform their behavior with their students.


Judy Carey Nevin

Ohio University Lancaster-Pickerington Library Director  

On February 15, 2016, I had the opportunity to attend teacher training on multiculturalism with Melissa Crum and Keonna Hendrick. I took many valuable lessons away from the training and it has further shaped my instruction in the classroom. After the training, I had the confidence to start the conversation on multiculturalism with my students. I began to share discussed topics with my students and they were excited to engage with one another as we discussed cultural appropriation, cultural exchanges and cultural assimilation. The interesting thing I found is that they were hungry to learn and embrace multiculturalism. I was able to join them in the conversation not just lead it. When teachers have the opportunity to move out of a power position and embrace student empowerment, it can yield amazing results.


John Garrott, Allen High School- Visual Arts Department Head

International Baccalaureate Visual Arts HL, SL

Pre-AP/IB 3D Design Portfolio

Jewelry Design II


The Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise partners with Mosaic Educational Network on an ongoing basis. The access to information and resources that benefit the local creative community is outstanding. Wonderful collaborator!


Sonia BasSheva Manjon

Associate Professor & Director

The Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise Arts Administration, Education & Policy


I recently invited Dr. Crum to be the guest speaker for my school's National Honor Society induction ceremony and I could not be more pleased with the experience she provided! Speaking in front of 700 students, 40+ faculty members, and over 100 guests, Melissa shared insights she had gleaned from academic research about what is truly important in determining a person's likelihood to succeed. She spoke about grit and growth mindset and shared that employers are looking for creative problem-solvers who take initiative to overcome obstacles. Melissa engaged the audience from the moment she stepped up to the podium and had a greater impact in 8 minutes than I thought was humanly possible. Students have praised her speech as enjoyable and thought-provoking and there are still parents and coworkers asking me for a copy of her speech! Melissa is an incredible scholar, artist, and resource for our community and I strongly recommend engaging her as a speaker at your institution!


Anna Bock Mullins

Spanish Teacher and National Honor Society Coordinator at Bishop Hartley High School

Dr. Melissa Crum's Hip Hop Literacy Series was an integral portion of my Freedom Schools site's added curriculum in our afternoon activities. It became a gateway that opened my scholars up to authoring their own stories through unpacking Kendrick Lamar's in his single "I". My scholars were amazed at how in looking closely at the lyrics, there was a lot more happening than they thought. I heard my scholars say on the first day say things like:

"Wow, that was deep" 
"I didn't know Kendrick had bars like that"
"So what he's actually talking bout here is how the media is saying one thing about who he is and he ain't accepting it"
"I liked the ghetto picket signs and the devil in the bowtie, I don't know why I just connected to it I guess".

They started unsure of whether they only being scholars had the ability and credibility to be able to interpret and dissect an artist's song but by the end of our weekly sessions were able to pick apart ideas about depression as they saw it in their lives and reflected on it in their songs. More than their experiences, Dr. Crum was able to pull im research in order to help them make full on informed opinions about sadness and how it affects them as well as what they could do to try ro counteract it. Our final day, to this end, was spent making thankful jars, vision boards, and postive posters so my scholars were able to have tangible take aways as well. The Mosaic Education Network is doing some amazing things and I'm thankful we were able to share in it. Knowing Dr. Crum's body of work, I expected my scholars would get everything out of it I intendes for them and more. More surprising was the impact it had on my staff and myself. We looked forward to our Wednesday afternoons and were sad to see her go. As we participated with our scholars, we learned as much as them and were able to both teach and learn more about one another. This was helpful in growing our Freedom School family into a more cohesive unit.


India Bean

Freedom School Summer Program Counselor

I cannot speak more highly about Melissa and Keonna’s ability to facilitate difficult discussions about significant societal issues in a way that helps participants feel able to question how the privileges they do and do not enjoy shapes how they experience and understand the world. As an educator given the responsibility to interpret and discuss artworks from cultures to which I do not belong, their Multicultural Critical Reflective Process is essential for me unpacking the values I hold and becoming more aware of how I might overlay them onto the discussions I facilitate. As I continue with the process, I know it will help me, and the museum’s entire staff of educators, be more thoughtful and more respectful of the works of art and audiences with which I work.


Anne Kindseth

School Programs Manager

Crow Collection of Asian Art

Melissa's recent presentation to the Columbus-Athens Schweitzer Fellows was witty, engaging, and very thought provoking. As a Fellow for Life, she understands the highs and lows that occur during the Fellowship project year, and her message is that much more meaningful. She will be a regular at future Schweitzer Fellows' retreats and meetings.


Chip Bahn

Program Coordinator for the Columbus/Athens Albert Schweitzer Program

Melissa's diversity training for 1girl facilitators was insightful and thought-provoking. Her presentation was applicable to the lives of our volunteers - which made it easy to understand and relate to. All of the feedback we received from the group was incredibly positive. We are so glad that we decided to have Melissa and the Mosaic Education Network handle our diversity training this year!


Shelby Kretz

Executive Director of 1girl  

Mosaic Education Network

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