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K-State Today

October 8, 2020

KSUnite: Difference Makes Us Stronger

Submitted by KSUnite Planning Committee

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

Period 2 breakout sessions are highlighted below and will take place from 3-3:50 pm

Black and Indigenous Activist Kansas
Mary Kohn, director of the Chapman Center and associate professor of English, and Lisa Tatonetti, professor of English.
Kansas's legacy of fighting for civil rights and social justice runs deeper than Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Though little known, Kansas was a key player in the move to protect Indigenous peoples' remains from tourism and exploitation. This session will introduce audience members to these stories to foster discussion on ways in which social justice and activism have shaped and continue to shape our state.

'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' Book Discussion
Tara Coleman, associate professor, K-State Libraries
Join other K-Staters in a discussion of this year’s common book, "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwamba. Some topics included in the discussion will be wind energy, access to education, sustainability, as well as many more. Attendees do not have to have read the book to participate in the discussion.

Civic Discourse as a Disposition for Engaging Difference
Timothy Shaffer, director, Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy
The session will introduce the importance of public discourse as a way to understand differences, the importance of listening as practice and disposition, and the role of intellectual humility. It will provide tangible examples for faculty, staff and students to engage in civic discourse in the classroom, on campus and in the community.

Diverse Voices in the Media: Lessons From Reporting on LGBTQ Kansas
Moderator: Steven Smethers, director, A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Panelists: C.J. Janovoy, author of "No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas"; Brandon Haddock, LGBT Resource Center coordinator; Darci Pottroff, director of application services, Information Technology; Christopher Renner, applied linguist, educator, multiculturalist and community organizer
Janovy’s 2018 book, "No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas," tells a surprising story of grassroots activism in the stereotypically hostile state of Kansas. This session offers a unique opportunity for dialogue between community members and the journalist who wrote about that community. In a panel discussion, Janovy and several of the Manhattan activists she wrote about will explore questions of trust in the media, how mainstream journalists engage with the LGBTQ community, and how students can approach these stories.

Preparing for Class Discussions on Issues Related to Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
Don Saucier, university distinguished teaching scholar, professor of psychological sciences
Instructors and students are often hesitant and uncomfortable engaging in class discussions about issues related to diversity and inclusion. This session will discuss concrete and practical recommendations to help instructors build community and foster empathy within their classes to allow for these discussions. Also included will be strategies for managing the discomfort and conflict that may/will arise during these discussions.

The Diversity Bonus: Differences Make Teams Stronger
Callie Rost, D.V.M., assistant dean for admissions, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Zelia Wiley, assistant dean for diversity, College of Agriculture
Scott E. Page is the author of the book "The Diversity Bonus," which outlines how differences make teams stronger. Wiley and Rost will review the book and point out ways this book can be used to catapult K-State into using the differences of individuals to strengthen our community. The review will also discuss the importance diversity plays within business.

K-State's Undergraduate Diversity Learning Outcome
Frederick Burrack, director, Office of Assessment
This breakout session is an exploration of the K-State Undergraduate Diversity Student Learning Outcome, currently applied programmatic outcomes, relevant data about student learning, applied, and student perceptions from surveys. A large part of the session is to be an interactive discussion to guide future directions in programmatic inclusion of this institutional learning outcome through instruction and assessment.

Surrounding Yourself with Difference: The Trusted 6
Jessica Harrington, student engagement coordinator, College of Health and Human Sciences
Using the "The Trusted 6" activity, participants will review their six closest friends and confidants and discuss the ways in which their "trusted 6's" identities are similar or different from their own. Through the course of the activity, attendees will learn about affinity groups and affinity bias, identify their own group, and discuss ways in which we can use our understanding of affinity groups to make new, diverse connections at K-State.

Using Data to Inform Our Actions and Improve Educational Equity at K-State
Jeannie Brown Leonard, vice provost for student success, and  Bin Ning, associate provost for institutional research
Primarily intended for academic program leaders, this session will explore how our institutional data can inform our priorities to improve our student success outcomes. Participants will engage in brainstorming possible individual, program, and institutional responses to these uneven outcomes. This session will focus on responsible interpretation of data, goal setting, and action steps for improving systemic disadvantages.

Understanding the Cognitive Toll Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Marginalization
Debra Bolton, director of intercultural learning and academic success, Diversity and Multicultural Student Affairs
This interactive presentation targets administration, faculty, staff and students in an exploration of the emotional, physical and cognitive costs related to marginalization, exclusion and threats associated with historically excluded identities.

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.