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Last modified: Monday, February 1, 2010

IU takes steps toward an inclusive campus

Seminar series supported by Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 1, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new three-part series of of panels, talks, and workshops will help inform Indiana University Bloomington's diversity mission. The Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund -- overseen by the IU Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs -- has awarded funding in support of a series, "Attention, Reflection, Connection: Steps Toward an Inclusive Campus." The series begins this month and is open to all students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni.

A panel discussion kicks off the series on Feb. 18, 12:30 to 2 p.m., in the Indiana Memorial Union Georgian Room. Panelists include: Professor Kevin Brown, Maurer School of Law and emeritus director, Hudson and Holland Scholars Program; Pamela Freeman, associate dean of students, and director, Office of Student Ethics; and Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, professor, Department of Political Science.

A talk will follow at 3 p.m. by Eileen Diaz McConnell, associate professor of sociology, Arizona State University.

In these sessions, as well as those to follow in March and April, participants from a variety of cultural and institutional backgrounds will meet to address three key areas of concern examining the following themes and questions:

  • Confronting the Realities: How do we diversify the IU Bloomington campus, in view of the coming demographic changes and the new federal guidelines for educational data collection? How do we get beyond "bean-counting" to build a culturally literate, culturally diverse community on our campus?
  • Living and Learning: How do we go about creating a socially just environment for all -- majority as well as minority -- students, faculty, staff and administrators? How might we help develop intercultural skills by engaging students, staff, faculty and administrators outside their cultural comfort zones? How do we prepare current and future faculty on their specific diversity challenges in the classroom? How might we make use of human and institutional resources in integrating local and global diversity through research and engagement? How might faculty and students collaborate with staff and administrators in undertaking institutional research on diversity by way of informing future policy?
  • Rethinking Diversity: Are the current terms and paradigms under which the campus operates adequate in the face of demographic shifts? How might we conceptualize a new language for the 21st century with such terms as "incorporation" (from political science) and the "underserved" (from education and public health)? How might we reclaim "multicultural" as a term that is accessible, inclusive and empowering to students?

Goals of this series are to develop an inventory of proven practices for a culturally diverse and literate campus, generate a roadmap for IU Bloomington's diversity mission through new and existing campus relations, assist in the coordination of multicultural efforts and collaborations, and establish new projects and publications in research, teaching and engagement.

"Cultural literacy is something we learn by living, and live by learning: this is the idea behind our series," explains Professor Joan Pong Linton, member of the investigative group that has put the program together.

Elinor Ostrom

Photo by Chris Meyer

Elinor Ostrom

Print-Quality Photo

IU faculty members involved in this research are: Joan Pong Linton, associate professor, Department of English and interim director, Asian American Studies Program; Arlene Diaz, associate professor, Department of History and director, Latino Studies; Valerie Grim, associate professor and chair, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies; Kevin D. Brown, professor, Maurer School of Law and emeritus director, Hudson and Holland Scholars Program; Romayne Ruibinas Dorsey, lecturer, Department of English and director, Creative Writing Pedagogy; and Gerald Campano, associate professor, Department of Culture, Literacy and Language Education.

Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund

The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs oversees the Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund that is designed to provide support for new projects of full-time faculty and librarians from at least two different disciplines. Its purpose is to furnish seed money to help collaborative projects get underway and thereby encourage interdisciplinary exchange, intellectual growth into new and multidisciplinary areas of inquiry, and external grant funding emanating from such activities. To apply, go to http://www.indiana.edu/~vpfaa/grants.shtml or e-mail vpfaa@indiana.edu.