March 27, 2017
From the Provost's Desk: Participate in Championing Civility Week, April 10-14
Our land-grant mission calls us to seek out challenges within our communities and equip citizens across the state with knowledge, resources and support to address them. One such challenge, that hinders progress across all sectors and industries, is the decline of civility in our discourse. According to the seventh annual Civility in America poll, conducted by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate with KRC Research, 69 percent of Americans believe the U.S. has a major civility problem. So what can we do as citizens, and as a university, to improve civility on our campuses, in our communities and in our country?
In order for our university to make an impact on this growing challenge, we must inquire, engage and model productive dialogue and collaboration in our work on campus and beyond. So join members of the K-State community in declaring April 10-14 as "Championing Civility Week" at Kansas State University.
This week of programming, coinciding with World Civility Day on April 13, will include opportunities to learn from colleagues, scholars and practitioners who are working to advance civil discourse through their teaching, research and engagement.
True to our inclusive environment and Principals of Community, this universitywide week of civility will engage a variety of perspectives and highlight the work happening across a wide range of areas. Your voice could add tremendous value to these dialogues, on issues such as: religion, race, culture, juvenile justice, food security, campus safety and reducing community violence.
Take a look at the schedule of events for the week, and mark your calendar to attend and participate.
On Monday, April 10, "(Re)Imagining Tolerance, Diversity, and Justice" will explore the issues of tolerance and diversity from the Muslim-American and Arab American perspectives, featuring the work of three separate scholars. Then, participants will break into groups and meet with a speaker and a group of facilitators to engage in deep conversations about each presentation topic as it relates to civic action at the individual, community and societal levels.
Tuesday, April 11, will be the annual Engagement Symposium, "Reconstructing Civility: Modes of Engagement for 2017." This free symposium features both academic and practical dialogue on a variety of topics, all with civility and civil dialogue at the center of the discussion. The event also features two very exciting keynote speakers: Ed O'Malley, president and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center; and Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. RSVP for one or all sessions to take part in this important and timely dialogue.
On Wednesday, April 12, plan to attend the University Distinguished Lecture from Dr. Graham Townsley, film producer for "E.O. Wilson - Of Ants and Men" (2015). A meet-and-greet reception kicks off this event at 3 p.m., followed by Dr. Townsley's lecture beginning at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 13, will feature two student-centered programs: the 48-Hour Film Festival and the Cats for Inclusion community forum discussions. Both events will take place at the Leadership Studies Building and will be an opportunity for our students to demonstrate their learning and put civil discourse into action.
I hope you'll engage in Championing Civility throughout this week and beyond. If we, as a university, elevate our capacity to take on difficult issues in a climate of courtesy, sensitivity and mutual respect, we not only affirm our own values as learning community, but we can help shift the tone and tenor of the conversations that happen in our communities both near and far. Which is truly the Wildcat Way.
Thanks for all you do,