Domestic Diversity Institute at NMU

 

A three-day Domestic Diversity Institute – the first of its kind at NMU – will be held Sept. 14-16 in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center . It will feature keynote presentations by four nationally recognized diversity consultants, breakout discussions, presentations by NMU faculty and staff, and a luncheon/strategy development session for the campus community. The latter is scheduled from noon-4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16.

 

The institute, titled “Diversity Stimulation: Transforming Attitudes, Community and Curriculum,” is sponsored by the university’s Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Committee (ECDC) and the King-Chavez-Parks Initiative.

 

“The president has given a charge to the ECDC to ascertain the level of attention given to diversity issues and to make some recommendations,” said Mary Etchison (Counseling and Consultation Services). “The institute is an attempt to educate the campus and greater community, as well as K-12, on the issues of domestic diversity. The last day is dedicated to the campus-wide forum so that the university community can have input on recommendations that will ultimately affect the future of domestic diversity initiatives at NMU.”

 

The following consultants will participate: Pamela Ann Martel, a higher education consultant for the King-Chavez-Parks Initiative and member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota; Paul Gorski, an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education at Hamline University; Brandon Wilson, a college outreach associate for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program; and George B. Thompson, the executive director of the Diversity Council in Rochester, Minn.

 

Martell will deliver a keynote presentation titled “Enhancing Native American Student Membership in the Social and Intellectual Communities of K-12 and College Communities.” It is scheduled from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14. Martell grew up in rural Michigan and has been involved in educational programming since 1976 with a special emphasis on Native American students. Martell will also participate in a luncheon and panel discussion with NMU faculty from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. The topic will be “Major Native American Issues in the Academy.”

 

Gorski will present “White Privilege and the Achievement Gap” from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14. He conducts workshops and offers guidance to schools and educational organizations. He created and maintains the “Multicultural Pavilion” and the “McGraw-Hill Multicultural Super Site,” two Web sites that are focused on multicultural education. He is also on the board of directors for the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME). Gorski will deliver a keynote presentation, “Defining Multicultural Education,” from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. He will also have a luncheon and panel discussion with the faculty titled “Transforming Curriculum across the Academy” from noon to 1:30 that afternoon. His discussion will cover topics including curriculum reform, characteristics of multicultural curriculum, and stages of inclusion within communities.

 

Wilson will also present at the faculty luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 15. His speech is titled “Passing the ‘Torch of Tolerance’ for Years to Come—Success Stories from Teaching Tolerance.” Wilson has appeared on NBC’s Today Show and BET’s Ed Gordon Show, and has been featured in Jet and Black Enterprise magazines. He has conducted training programs and workshops throughout the country for public schools and higher learning institutions, and advises college and university presidents and senior-level administrators across the country on ways to build campus communities that promote inclusion. Wilson will facilitate discussion on such subjects as how to recognize hate crimes and bias incidents, how to diagnose institutional racism and bigotry, and how a bias incident can be used to teach tolerance.

 

Thompson (no photo available) will present “Effecting Change for a More Inclusive Community” from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. Thompson has held positions on several community and state boards, including Rochester Human Rights Commission, Citizens Youth Violence Intervention Council, NAACP and a school board cultural diversity committee. He has received numerous awards, including the Mayor’s Medal of Honor, 1999 and 2001 NAACP awards for community service, and the 2001 Indo-American award for Public Service.

 

NMU faculty and staff presenting at the institute include Judith Puncochar (Education), Jaspal Singh (English), Shirley Brozzo (Diversity Student Services), Leann Miller (Dean of Students) and Rodney Clarken (Education).

 

The goals of the institute are to provide tools and stimulation for personal, academic and community inventory; assist in enhancing knowledge, attitudes and passion for domestic diversity; expose ways to transform communities and curriculum to be inclusive and informative about domestic diversity; encourage communities, K-12 schools and universities to make and teach positive and inclusive efforts to learn, know, accept, honor and respect domestic diversity; and introduce methods communities and schools can use to develop strategies to help create welcoming and safe environments that help all its students and citizens from all domestically diverse backgrounds to thrive.

 

The ECDC will present its recommendations, based in part on outcomes of the Domestic Diversity Institute, to President Les Wong by the end of the semester. For more information, go to ECDC .

 

 

 

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Updated: October 26, 2005

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