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Last modified: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

IU Bloomington launches initiative for a more inclusive campus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 16, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A campus-wide series launches this week with the purpose of engaging all Indiana University Bloomington faculty, students, staff, administrators, alumni and emeriti in building a culturally diverse and culturally literate campus.

Called ARC 2010! -- Attention, Reflection, Connection, Taking Steps Toward an Inclusive Campus -- the initiative will employ panel discussions, lectures, workshops and conversations to address diversity as a subject and process of intellectual inquiry that is informed by practice and that informs future practice.

"ARC 2010 underscores the fact that cultural diversity is valued on this campus, and we understand that we all have a responsibility to respect and encourage diversity," said Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson. "The organizers of ARC want to facilitate meaningful conversations and sustained inquiry that will help shape our collective future. I commend them for their efforts and invite all faculty, students and staff to take part in this worthy enterprise."

Starting now and continuing through April, ARC 2010 will seek to prepare IU Bloomington for coming demographic changes, enhance its goal of internationalization and position the campus to meet the challenges and opportunities of the global 21st century world.

Key elements of the initiative include:

  • Attention -- working together to address challenges. Given projected demographic changes, budget cuts and new federal guidelines for educational reporting, how will IU Bloomington build a culturally literate and diverse community while collectively addressing challenges?
  • Reflection -- mapping practices and setting priorities. The campus will take stock of resources and practices, map existing relations for coordinating diversity efforts, locate gaps and overlaps, and come up with a road map for IU Bloomington's diversity mission.
  • Connection -- cooperatively building for the future. Participants will examine how to rethink existing paradigms of diversity in response to the needs and vision of the campus diversity mission and how units can collaborate to make the best use of talents and resources.
Joan Pong Linton

Joan Pong Linton

Print-Quality Photo

Each element will include a panel discussion to frame the issues, at least one lecture to connect the campus to broader cultural and national contexts, and workshops to provide multiple sites for conversation and to generate ideas for future action.

"An inclusive campus is a community in which everyone feels supported, and has a stake in its well-being," said Joan Pong Linton, a professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences and an organizer of the initiative. "Inclusion is a process that begins with acknowledging cultural differences -- some visible, some not -- and that makes understanding differences a common goal and common ground for inquiry. It is a subject of inquiry that is both intellectual and affective, that is curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular. It partakes of every aspect of campus life and develops the whole person, whether you are student, faculty, staff or administrator. It is democracy in the making."

Other faculty organizers include, from the College of Arts and Sciences, Arlene Diaz from the Department of History, Valerie Grim from the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, and Romayne Rubinas Dorsey from the Department of English; and from the School of Education, Gerald Campano from the Department of Literacy, Culture and Language Education.

The initiative begins this Thursday (Feb. 18) with a panel discussion titled "Attention: Working Together to Address Challenges," from 12:30-2 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union Georgian Room. Panelists will be Kevin Brown, professor in the IU Maurer School of Law; Pamela Freeman, director of the Office of Student Ethics; and Elinor Ostrom, the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science and the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences.

Thao Nelson

Thao Nelson

Also on Thursday (Feb. 18), there will be a lecture at 3 p.m. in the IMU Georgian Room by Eileen Diaz McConnell, a faculty member at Arizona State University. She will speak on "U.S. Demographic Trends, Population Projections and Implications for IU and Other Universities."

On Feb. 24, IU alumna Thao Nelson, vice president of Credo Management Consulting, will host a workshop titled "Shift Happens: Think Globally, Respond Locally." The event, at noon in the IMU Georgian Room, is the official kickoff event for ARC 2010 and was organized with the IU Asian American Alumni Association.

Additional panels, lectures and workshops will take place in March and April, with information to be released as the events are scheduled.

The initiative defines diversity as the policies and practices of inclusion that promote understanding of cultural differences and encourage cooperation across boundaries of race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, gender, generation, abilities and sexualities. A campus is culturally diverse, organizers say, when all of its members, especially those from underserved populations, can thrive and succeed, individually and collectively.

Funding for the initiative comes from the Multidisciplinary Ventures and Seminars Fund overseen by the IU Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs. Additional sponsors include the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education, the Maurer School of Law, the School of Library and Information Sciences, the Asian American Studies Program, and the Latino Studies Program. In addition, the School of Informatics and the Office of Marketing and Communications in the Kelley School of Business are co-sponsors of the kick-off event for the series, with publicity support coming from the School of Journalism and the IU Auxiliary Services.

For more information on the initiative and listings of workshops and additional events, see ARC 2010 Web site, http://www.indiana.edu/~arc2010.