Diversity and Inclusion Conference

across the divide. diversity and inclusion conference.

The Across the Divide Conference is the primary Diversity and Inclusion showcase for Miami University, with a goal to promote a deeper community understanding of the key issues and diversity activities across the institution. The theme for the 2021 conference was “Achievement & Opportunity.” This theme allows us to celebrate the areas we are doing well, while also acknowledging areas of promise and examining pathways for improvement in those areas. This year’s conference was held in hybrid format on October 8, 2021, from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Conference Schedule
Time Session Room
8:00  Check in John Dolibois Lobby
8:25 Welcome | View Livestream John Dolibois A & B
8:30 Deans Panel | View Livestream John Dolibois A & B
9:30 Break  
9:40 Three Perspectives of DEI through Arts John Dolibois A
9:40 Diving Deep with Critical Service Learning John Dolibois C
9:40 The Latinx Experience Heritage Room
9:40 Collaborating Across Institutional Offices Bystrom Reid Room
9:40 VIRTUAL: kiloona myaamiaki: Myaamia Language and Cultural Revitalization as a way to Support Myaamia Students at Miami University Virtual Only
10:20 Break  
10:30 DEI is Everyone’s Job; Dean of Students Office John Dolibois A
10:30 Elevating Employer Engagement John Dolibois C
10:30 Faculty Anti-Racist Research Panel Heritage Room
10:30 DEI in the College of Education/Health/Society Bystrom Reid Room
10:30 We Never Left: MU Libraries Continuing the Conversation of Achievement and Opportunity Virtual Only
11:45 Lunch Break Pick up boxed lunch in the John Dolibois Lobby
1:15 Intro to Critical Whiteness / White Privilege John Dolibois A
1:15 Climate Justice at Miami John Dolibois C
1:15 AAA-FSA Panel – APIDA Community Heritage Room
1:15 Study Abroad in the United States Bystrom Reid Room
1:15 Disability Culture and Inclusion Virtual Only
1:15 Up-rooting Solutionism: Reflections on The Reception of Critical Pedagogy, Theory, and Praxis Among Students in Applied Fields Virtual Only
2:20 Keynote Session John Dolibois A & B
3:25 DEI Awards, Certificates and Closing Remarks | View Livestream John Dolibois A & B

Keynote Address

Location: John Dolobois A & B

We Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Re-envisioning Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

While higher education has played a significant role in defining and modeling the commitment to diversity and inclusion, it continues to struggle to surmount a social divide that has impeded its goals. What is at the root of this rupture? How can we re-envision diversity and inclusion to address the increased diversity of voices and identities and demands for racial and social justice? What can we as individuals do to bridge and close the divide?

Olga M. Welch and Carolyn R. Hodges will address these questions in a presentation based on their experiences and lessons learned as teachers, mentors, and leaders in various administrative positions over the years. They will invite participants to engage in a conversation about the challenges and opportunities posed by a commitment to diversity and inclusion, to interrogate their personal vision and place as leaders in achieving that goal, and to create ongoing dialogues that expand the conversation about and participation in change.

View Recorded Livestream

Carolyn Hodges

Carolyn R. Hodges, PhD


Olga M. Welch, PhD

Breakout Session 1 Topics

The Latinx Experience at MiamiOH: Stories from Students, Faculty, and Staff

Presenters: Alicia Castillo Shrestha, Katia Del Rio-Tsonis, Marianna Gay, Christian Ponce, Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, and Elias Tzoc

Location: Heritage Room

As Miami University continues with the journey of creating a more diverse and inclusive environment for the Miami community, we believe it is important to share, celebrate, and discuss the experiences of different groups on campus. At this panel presentation, we are going to talk about the stories, contributions and some of the challenges that Latinx students, faculty and staff have experienced at Miami University. The panelists will be representing four main groups: UNIDOS, the student organization of Latinxs and Hispanics; LAS, the Latin American, Latino/a and Caribbean Studies program; ALFAS, the Association of Latinx Faculty and Staff; and SACNAS, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. This talk also coincides with the National Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month celebration, which honors the cultures and countless contributions that Hispanic and Latinos have made to the United States of America over the years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, between 2009 and 2019, "the enrollment of Hispanic students increased by 48 percent (from 2.4 million to 3.5 million students)." However, nearly half of those students are the first in their families to go to college, which translates to the need for additional work and assistance on how colleges and universities can help them navigate the higher ed experience. In this talk, we are going to share experiences we have had in terms of building community, providing social support, formal and informal mentoring, and increasing awareness of Hispanic and Latinx issues in the US and around the world.

View Recorded Livestream

Collaborating Across Institutional Offices to Provide Access and Opportunity for Undergraduate Research

Presenters: Joyce Fernandes, Nathaniel Floyd, and Monica Adkins

Location: Bystrom Reid Room

The First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program provides opportunities for incoming students to learn about ongoing research at Miami, and to become trained in basic research skills through a two-semester course [UNV171/172]. Course-based undergraduate experiences (CUREs) have the distinct advantage of providing access to undergraduate research without the burden of "searching" and "matching" with a research group. The FYRE program additionally breaks down barriers by inviting students to explore and experience a research environment as a community of researchers. Two years ago, the Student Success Center, along with the Office of Research for Undergraduates [ORU], jointly offered a section of FYRE for students in the Bridges Scholars program, which also included a First-Year Student Success Librarian as a co-instructor.

The two-semester FYRE experience involved students learning about research skills, completing an IRB training, conducting a team-based research project, and presenting their findings at the Annual Undergraduate Research Forum. A group of three students returned to develop the project further and a manuscript is currently in preparation.

The presentation will highlight how staff members from three distinct institutional offices collaborated to develop and offer a FYRE section for Bridges students, and how a FYRE research project evolved into a longer-term project, providing the instructors as well as students with opportunities for scholarship. Student perspectives will also be provided in this presentation.

There were benefits to all partners:

  • Bridges Scholars Program: Engaging students in the High Impact Practice of research; Introducing students to the process of research
  • Office of Research for Undergraduates: Developing partnerships to offer a section of FYRE
  • University Libraries: Engagement in research instruction. Promoting library engagement, research consultations, embedding information literacy into coursework, promoting and rewarding student research through the LAURE award.

View Recorded Livestream

Diving Deep with Critical Service Learning

Presenters: Collette Thompson and Kara Love

Location: John Dolobois C

This session introduces faculty and community engagement practitioners to the Critical Service Learning framework, an approach to community based learning with an explicit social justice aim. We will provide an overview of the distinguishing framework elements: a social change orientation, working to redistribute power, and developing authentic relationships. As an active workshop, we will explore the importance of moving our practice beyond traditional forms of service-learning and get you thinking about how Critical Service Learning can show up in your practice, teaching, and scholarship.

View Recorded Livestream

Three Perspectives of DEI through the Arts at Miami

Presenters: Stephanie Danker, Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, and Elizabeth Hoover

Location: John Dolobois A

As colleagues in CCA crossing three different arts disciplines, we are each committed to reflecting deeply about our own biases, and are open-minded and dedicated to social justice. In diverse ways we build trust in our classroom spaces to encourage our students to embrace vulnerability so that they may facilitate experiences rooted in social activism for communities both inside and outside of the university. We empower students to recognize that social change is possible through varying perspectives in the arts.

After searching the previous conference programs, we noticed that there have not been any presentations from CCA or approaching DEI through the arts. We see this as an opportunity and would like others across the university to glimpse some possibilities to include DEI discussions through arts-based responses, which can lead to activism. Our students span majors within and outside of CCA and fulfill Global Miami Plan requirements.

View Recorded Livestream

VIRTUAL: kiloona myaamiaki: Myaamia Language and Cultural Revitalization as a way to Support Myaamia Students at Miami University

Presenters: Kara Strass and Haley Shea

The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University have an almost 50-year relationship which is unlike that of any other Tribal Nation and University. One of the most unique parts of this relationship is that Miami University has created space for the Miami Tribe to do work that supports the Myaamia community. Much of this centers around the language and cultural revitalization efforts of the Myaamia Center, which aim to support the eemamwiciki 'awakening' of the Miami Tribe.

One outcome of this relationship is the Myaamia Heritage Program, which in addition to financial support for Myaamia students, provides an opportunity for them to learn about Myaamia knowledge, values, history, language, and culture while they study at Miami University. Through this presentation, we will explain how we use language and culture to support our Myaamia students at Miami University. We will provide mixed-methods data from ongoing research that demonstrates the effectiveness of language and cultural programming on college students, tribal youth, and community members. This session should particularly benefit participants who are interested in creating culturally engaging and supportive spaces for their students, which in turn allows students to be successful academically, but also have a better understanding of who they are.

Recording will be posted soon.

Breakout Session 2 Topics

DEI is Everyone's Job: Accountability in Practice for the Dean of Students Office

Presenters: Jaymee Lewis-Flenaugh and Gabby Dralle

Location: John Dolobois A

This session will explore the ways the Office of the Dean of Students has extended our mission of care, advocacy, and support to ensure DEI is meaningfully integrated. Through programming, collaborations, professional development, and a critical lens on existing policies and procedures, we continue to encourage achievement and opportunity while tending to the response needs of student concerns and crises.

View Recorded Livestream

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Education, Health and Society: Lessons Learned from Divisional Leadership

Presenters: Denise Taliaferro Baszile, Sherrill Sellers, Callie Maddox, Scott Sander, Haley Shea, Philip Smith, Hannah Stohry

Location: Bystrom Reid Room

This workshop will be presented by members of the College of Education, Health and Society's (EHS) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force (DEITF). The presenters will first share the story of the EHS DEITF, with a particular focus on the challenges and opportunities we have faced in four years of leading this divisional task force. We will use our experiences and the following questions to lead a dialogue with colleagues across the Miami University community around the following questions:

  • Why should(n't) your college/departments consider creating a DEITF?
  • What are the challenges/opportunities of your DEITF? (e.g. people, workload, lack of knowledge, cultural barriers, departmental politics, inclusion, performativity?)
  • What are common cultural barriers to effective DEITF work in higher education? How can we work through these barriers?
  • How do we assess the impact of DEITF work?

Throughout this workshop, we will emphasize that engaging in DEI work is a process, not an end journey with a fixed and singular outcome. Progress and growth can be gradual, so we want to highlight our experiences to encourage others seeking to engage in DEI work. We will focus on the idea that everyone can contribute to this process, not just those familiar with DEI or with a background in doing this work. We will model reflective practices that place individual inquiry at the center by utilizing cultural competency exercises that generate participation and discussion. These simple, yet very effective, experiential activities are ones that workshop attendees can take back to their own classrooms, departments, and/or division to share with students and colleagues to begin and/or continue conversations about DEI. By creating dialogue and facilitating reflection, we want others to learn from our experiences and not repeat our mistakes. We aim to create a sense of collective sharing and discussion where attendees come away with ideas and actions to inform their own DEI work and the broader efforts of department and division-level DEITFs.

View Recorded Livestream

Faculty Anti-Racist Research Panel

Presenters: Darryl Rice, Katherine S. Cho, Lauren Brassfield, Stephanie Danker, Sandra Garner (moderated by Cristina Alcalde)

Location: Heritage Room

This panel features faculty discussing their anti-racist research and work as a way to highlight faculty expertise and discuss how faculty anti-racist approaches helps us understand the world around us. The panel foregrounds faculty research across units as reflective of inclusive excellence and the DEI mission at Miami.

View Recorded Livestream

Elevating Employer Engagement in our Campus DEI Work

Presenters: Tekeia N. K. Howard and Sharon Attaway

Location: John Dolobois C

Let's face it, there was a lot going on in 2020. Two concurrent events, the pandemic and the racial injustice reckoning required both campuses and employers to intentionally respond to the moment. Joined by these common challenges, The Center for Career Exploration and Success created a space where we could come together to mutually support and explore strategies for elevating DEI conversations and practices in our organization. The result was the launch of the DEI Mastermind, where competitive employers united to share vulnerabilities and best practices while strengthening their network of peers and resources. We pulled out all the stops: leveraged faculty, staff, students as well as colleagues from UNC Chapel Hill and Synchrony Financial. We jump started imperfectly perfect conversations to break down access barriers to student careers. Now, we'd like to share our blueprint for engaging employers in our campus community with you.

View Recorded Livestream

VIRTUAL: We Never Left: MU Libraries Continuing the Conversation of Achievement and Opportunity

Presenters: Cara Calabrese, Kimberly Hoffman, Ken Irwin, Jacqueline Johnson, and Alia L. Wegner

Librarians and an archivist will explore Miami University Libraries' experiences with DE&I and how we have been an active presence in the university community in issues related to diversity activities across the institution. We will explore our achievements and discuss future goals and plans.

The archivist and digital collections librarian will discuss the digital libraries and how they continue to teach the history of Miami University related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The University Archivist will talk about the goals and ways the MUL plans to promote and teach the university. The digital collections librarian will discuss the library's digital collections and ongoing digitization projects at Miami University Libraries that center African-American experiences. Finally, she will discuss efforts to create sensitive content labels in the Miami University Digital Collections that identify materials that contain graphically racist, violent, and culturally sensitive content. The sensitive content image labels adopt an "opt-in" approach for students and researchers to view harmful content that appears in their search results. This is the first sensitive content implementation at an Ohio-based university and demonstrates how Miami University is leading the way in building more inclusive spaces online.

Members of the MUL DEI Committee will discuss their current work from the initial project of an Anti-Racist Resource guide in Summer 2020 to the development of a Mini-grant program focused on supporting library staff initiatives around DEI topics, as well as what future work may look like.

Recording will be posted soon.

Breakout Session 3 Topics

Intro to Critical Whiteness and Evidence-Based Strategies to Dismantle White Privilege in the Classroom

Presenters: Tarah Trueblood, Gillian Oakenfull, and Natalie Price

Location: John Dolobois A

The U.S. is dominated by white culture and Miami is no exception. Yet there are few opportunities to explore how that cultural dominance can create barriers to academic learning and success. In this workshop we will explore white culture, how whiteness presents itself in classrooms (regardless of academic discipline), and how White Fragility makes becoming anti-racist challenging for white people. You will learn several simple but effective strategies for reducing White Fragility, dismantling some aspects of white culture, and creating a context that is conducive to learning and belonging for everyone.

View Recorded Livestream

Panel Discussion | Study Abroad in the United States: The International Student Experience

Presenters: Molly Heidemann, Cheryl Young, Frank (Jifan) Feng, Martin (Trong Nghia) Le, Angel (Yonglin) Luo, Sumit Tripath, Faysal Haque, and Chamithi Samadharshi Karunanayake

Location: Bystrom Reid Room

In an increasingly interconnected world, international students' presence and participation in higher education has gained wide recognition at the institutional, national, and global levels. At Miami, we have been active in advocating for and promoting international student inclusion and success through our work across campus and community. A panel of international undergraduate and graduate students will discuss their experiences both in and out of the classroom and propose actions toward meeting our inclusion goals.

View Recorded Livestream

AAA-FSA Panel - Spotlight on Achievements and Opportunities for the APIDA Community

Presenters: April Robles, Simran Kaur-Colbert

Location: Heritage Room

The Asian American community accounts for 3.0 percent of Ohio's total population with significant growth occurring over the last three decades. Since 2000 the number of Asian Ohioans has more than doubled. With nearly 16,000 of the 260,000+ Asian Americans living in Butler County, Ohio. Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the United States and so it is important for colleges and universities such as Miami University to continue to successfully recruit and retain Asian American Faculty/Staff/Students. In this presentation we will do three things. First, we will highlight some important demographics which are important for the Miami community to know about Asian Americans including: The Asian population has more than doubled since 2000, 196,195 were born outside the U.S., 33 percent are of Asian Indian ancestry, Median age of 33.9 years compared to 39.5 years for all Ohioans, 39,000 enrolled in elementary and secondary schools o Median household income: $75,822, 21,000+ businesses with $10.8 billion in receipts. Second, we will discuss the history and goals of the AAA-FSA as it pertains to advocacy, promotion, celebration, and collaboration opportunities with the organization. Third, we will have a panel of speakers representing faculty, staff, and under/graduate students who identify as Asian American sharing their insights on what supports Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American achievement at Miami and where opportunities are for Miami to best support, retain, and advance equity and inclusion of APIDA faculty/staff/students.

View Recorded Livestream

Climate Justice at Miami University: A Discussion of the Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitment

Presenters: Adam Sizemore, Jonathan Levy, and Denali Selent

Location: John Dolobois C

Increased concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide contribute to global warming, resulting in increased heat waves and deaths from heat, sea levels, fires, droughts, severe storm events, flooding, spread of infectious disease, and loss of biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), warns our global community must collectively achieve net zero emissions from fossil fuels by 2050 to prevent long-lasting impacts. At Miami University, climate action began over a decade ago with energy consumption reductions and efficiency, as well as increased sustainability programming across campus. In 2020, in response to the global climate crisis, President Crawford signed the Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitment (PCLC), which formally committed Miami University to achieving carbon neutrality and incorporating sustainability and climate change widely into the campus experience. The global climate crisis threatens everyone, but the impacts are disproportionately felt and experienced by marginalized populations both globally and in the US. Thus, climate change is a global justice and human rights issue. As part of Miami University's climate action efforts, the Climate Action Task Force (CATF) will incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as environmental justice, into all aspects of the forthcoming Resilience Assessment (focused on climate adaptation) and Climate Action Plan (focused on climate mitigation).

In this presentation, we describe the PCLC, the work of Miami's CATF. We outline how climate change relates to social justice and how the CATF plans to incorporate DEI and environmental justice into its work. Concurrently, the presenters will reserve time at the end of the presentation to allow an open dialogue for the audience to provide their input and voice into how Miami University can address environmental justice into climate action planning and campus-wide institutional diversity efforts.

View Recorded Livestream

VIRTUAL: Disability Culture and Inclusion

Presenters: Hope Sweeney and Colleen Floyd

The Miller Center for Student Disability Services is currently developing a program that will eventually encompass multiple levels and opportunities for the Miami Community to learn, engage and incorporate disability knowledge and considerations into our campus culture on a daily basis. The goal is to create allies, advocates, and co-conspirators in working toward making disability considerations a part of how we regularly do business rather than having to reconsider and retrofit to include our colleagues and students who are affected by an environment that does not readily accommodate them. Join Access Coordinator, Hope Sweeney and Graduate Practicum Student, Colleen Floyd as they provide an initial workshop that covers disability perspectives and mindsets, ableism, language, and access. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of disability, how ableism shows up in our world, and strategies to center access.

Recording will be posted soon.

VIRTUAL: Up-rooting Solutionism: Reflections on The Reception of Critical Pedagogy, Theory, and Praxis Among Students in Applied Fields

Presenters: Sara M. Acevedo and Sujay Sabnis

Although we come from two very different (often conflicting) disciplines, we are interested in the productive tension between the theoretically-inclined field of disability studies and the applied profession of school psychology. More specifically, we are interested in how applied professions such as school psychology often neglect, erase, or minimize the situated knowledges of disabled communities and how this phenomenon in turn impacts the training of prospective practitioners. Equally important is our focus on the material and socio-cultural impact of service delivery that overrides the lived experiences and autonomy of disabled recipients of services.

As faculty who share multiply-marginalized identities and whose work is largely informed by critical theoretical perspectives that challenge traditional ways of knowledge production (see CRT and postmodern theory), we reflect upon our experiences of teaching students in the applied fields (i.e., school psychology, SLP and audiology, psychology, social work and others). We specifically discuss one particular challenge we come across in our classrooms - the overarching desire for solutionism, which is the desire for a readily applicable course of action to fix 'bugs' in the social fabric. In some of our evaluations, this manifests in the form of comments that acknowledge the importance of critical thought, but express a desire for a more concrete connection to the applied professions. In others, they manifest in a rejection of uncertainty pedagogy and for a more step-by-step approach to allyship with marginalized communities, for instance.

We contextualize and more fully understand the impact of solutionism in how students receive critical knowledge and conceive their role as future professionals. To do so, we draw from Mary Watkins' work in liberation psychology, more specifically her notion of "decontextualized suffering", to guide our thinking about contemporary service delivery by applied professionals. Ultimately, we propose ways in which critical theory can contribute to expanding students' worldview as well as problematize traditional understandings of service delivery and clinical intervention.

Recording will be posted soon.