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K-State Today

October 7, 2020

KSUnite: Difference Makes Us Stronger

Submitted by KSUnite Planning Committee

Next Tuesday, Oct. 13, Kansas State University will gather virtually for the fourth annual KSUnite event. The 19 sessions slated for the 2020 KSUnite are to engage, educate and empower our community on the diversity and inclusion continuum. Sessions are divided into two periods. Levels of engagement have been added to the sessions this year to include introductory, intermediate and immersive.

Period 1 breakout sessions are highlighted below and will take place from 2-2:50 p.m.

Introductory sessions

• Choice of Weapons: Art to Open Minds — Doug Barrett, director of photography, 400 North Creative, and Aileen Wang, curator, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University.
The title draws from the autobiography of artist Gordon Parks, who wrote: "I chose my camera as a weapon against all the things I dislike about America — poverty, racism, discrimination." Barrett and Wang will share personal stories about combining passion for the arts with desire to effect change.

• From Deficit to Possibility: Indigenous Presence at K-State and the IFSA — Victor Andrews, doctoral student in kinesiology; LaVerne Bitsie-Baldwin, director, Multicultural Engineering Program; Debra Bolton, director of intercultural learning and academic success, Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs; and Alex Red Corn, assistant professor and coordinator for indigenous partnerships, educational leadership department. This presentation, relevant to students and administrators, will discuss the data on Indigenous students, faculty and staff at K-State and the formation, mission and impact of the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance. The presentation will include educational and interactive segments.

• Unpacking Unhealthy Relationships in 2020 — Clara Valadares Kientz, assistant director, Center for Advocacy, Response and Education, and Jessica Henault, sexual and relationship violence prevention specialist, Center for Advocacy, Response and Education.

Intermediate sessions

• An Atheist Asks: What am I Missing? —Daniel Ireton, associate professor, K-State Libraries, and Courtney Hochman, alumni representative.
This engaging session targets intermediate attendees who would be interested in sharing how faith and practice enrich their day-to-day lives and have an interest in learning of one individual's journey in confronting his biases in order to learn with humility about people with a different worldview than his own.

• Collaborating to increase recruitment and retention of diverse students in undergraduate and graduate education in STEM Fields — Zelia Wiley, assistant dean for diversity, College of Agriculture; Amber Campbell, project manager, Rainfed Agriculture Innovation Network, or RAIN; and Mirit Shamir, academic services coordinator, Rural Resource Resiliency NSF Research Traineeship, Alan Levin Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. 
Four-year institutions have been seeking to broaden participation of women and underrepresented minority groups in undergraduate and graduate education in STEM. This presentation will emphasize the Tilford Competencies of Cross-Cultural Communication, Teamwork, Respect and Diversity Implications for Careers. We will discuss how diversity impacts the academic discipline, career and professional development of students as well as how we can encourage their engagement within STEM fields.

• Collegiality & Inclusivity: Tips for and Practice Being an Ally — Chardie Baird, executive director, Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering.
In this session, we will cover two common scenarios faced by members of historically underrepresented groups. We will review strategies for being an ally in those scenarios, practice being an ally, and reflect on the effectiveness of the strategies.

• Listening As a Path To Openness — Andrew Wefald, associate professor, Staley School of Leadership Studies.
The ability to listen is a needed skill that promotes diversity and inclusion. The presenter will facilitate this session on listening as a skill for co-emerging a culture of diversity and inclusion within a group. The session will focus on developing awareness and impact through listening. These skills will connect to leadership concepts of self-awareness and developing a culture of empathy and listening.

• Unpacking Whiteness: Moving Beyond Allyship — Brenee King, assistant director, Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry; Sara Luly, associate professor of German, modern languages department; Kiley Moody, managing director of Scholar Services, Office of First-generation Students; Rebeca Paz, assistant director, Office of First-generation Students; Cheryl Rauh, program manager, McNair Scholars Program; Mariya Vaughan, assistant director, K-State First; and Paulicia Williams, student services coordinator, TRIO Educational Supportive Services.
This session will introduce participants to the pyramid of accountability and will provide an opportunity for self-reflection on one's own culture and its proximity to whiteness. Facilitators will model how understanding oneself and assumptions can lead to productive action for social justice. Participants will create an individual action plan with the goal to move from an ally to an accomplice in advocacy.

The KSUnite webpage will serve as your connection to the event. The site continues to be updated with full details, information and links to speaker bios and topics.