Skip to Main Content

The Miami Pulse

Connecting, Assessing, and Moving Forward our Inclusive Community Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence Newsletter, November 2023 Edition

The Miami Pulse

Land Acknowledgement

Miami University is located within the traditional homelands of the Myaamia and Shawnee people, who along with other indigenous groups ceded these lands to the United States in the first Treaty of Greenville in 1795. The Miami people, whose name our university carries, were forcibly removed from these homelands in 1846.

In 1972, a relationship between Miami University and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma began and evolved into a reciprocal partnership, including the creation of the Myaamia Center at Miami University in 2001. The work of the Myaamia Center serves the Miami Tribe community and is dedicated to the revitalization of Miami language and culture and to restoring that knowledge to the Myaamia people.

Miami University and the Miami Tribe are proud of this work and of the more than 140 Myaamia students who have attended Miami since 1991 through the Myaamia Heritage Award Program.


Letter from the Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Greetings Miamians,

As we get closer to finishing the Fall semester, we continue to be guided by our commitment to being an inclusive community. This October we were thrilled to receive the HEED Award for the fourth year in a row. The HEED Award recognizes colleges and universities for their outstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion across a range of areas. At Miami, this award reflects the collective efforts of faculty, staff, and students. Thank you for contributing to strengthening Miami as an inclusive community. This is critically important, ongoing work. 

We invite you to read about (and enroll!) in the DEI in Leadership Certificate. This award-winning and free online certificate allows us to draw on the expertise of faculty and staff across Miami to reflect our commitments to an inclusive community through actionable steps. After you complete the certificate, you will have gained knowledge and strategies to address ableism and ageism, to identify and respond to microaggressions, to communicate across differences, and much more. We hope you will participate in this effort and join other Miamians on our journey to strengthening our inclusive community. 

In this issue you can also learn about Dr. JinJuan She and the National Science Foundation research grant she was recently awarded to fund her research on DEI in engineering design, and about August Ogunnowo’s experiences and plans as ASG DEI Secretary. We also cover how this October we traveled to Kent State for our inaugural joint conference, Reimagining the Academy: Building Communities for Access and Transformational Change. With over 60 Miamians participating in-person and virtually, Miami was well-represented. This joint effort with Kent State and Ohio University reflects our belief that we are stronger together, and that we can be more innovative and creative in planning for a more equitable and accessible academy across Ohio when we collaborate. We look forward to hosting the conference at Miami next year. If you would like to be involved in planning next year’s conference, please sign up here.  

As we begin November, we invite you to explore the programming across Miami for Native American Heritage Month, Trans Awareness Week, and Heroes Week. We hope you’ll take a moment to read about and participate in the many events planned across Miami. If you have not done so already, we hope you’ll take a moment to visit the Myaamia Center webpage to learn more about the great initiatives, research, and programming there year-round. We also invite you to visit the Land Acknowledgement page to learn more about some of Miami’s efforts to honor and acknowledge the land and the people connected to this land.

During these challenging times, as a community we will continue to come together to offer support and resources to all Miamians.  

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions and invite you to reach out to  OTIE staff.

Cristina Alcalde

With Love and Honor,

M. Cristina Alcalde, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
Professor, Global and Intercultural Studies 


We invite all members of the Miami community to share their submissions for upcoming editions. The Newsletter is distributed each quarter. We must receive your submission by Monday at noon at the beginning of the month (November, February, April, June, September) to be considered for that quarter's issue. Each request will be reviewed by staff of the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE).  

Heritage Month Updates

Heritage Month Events and Updates

Working in close collaboration with faculty, staff, and student partners, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion provides opportunities for the Miami community to continue our learning and engage in meaningful programming. Heritage Month programming supports Miami’s inclusive excellence approach and connects to, among other areas, DEI Task Force Recommendation, Pillar 2: Cultural Consciousness, which encourages the Miami University community to enhance our awareness, knowledge, and skills to enrich and renew our intercultural competence.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion organizes programming, collaborates, coordinates, and supports events across campuses through a coordinated calendar for each month; promotion of events; and, when available, limited funding support for proposed events with appeal across campuses.

MU Libraries is partnering with OIDI to feature online resources, including films, books and articles, and class offerings, during each Heritage Month. We invite you to explore these and other educational resources and links on each webpage. We will be adding resources as they become available.

To learn more about this quarter’s heritage months please visit our Heritage Month webpage:

 For upcoming events, visit our University Events calendar page.

Affinity Group Updates

To learn more about affinity groups or to join a group, check out the main affinity groups web page for more information.

Asian/Asian American Faculty Staff Association

President: April Robles, Director of Operations and Communications

The mission of the Asian/Asian American Faculty Staff Association is to bring together Asian and Asian American faculty and staff, and serve as a supportive community for Asian and Asian American employees and students. The Asian/Asian American Faculty Staff Association is currently building traction with the community and is seeking to provide opportunities for individuals to connect in a more casual atmosphere and then use that leverage to continue the growth and momentum of the group. If you are looking to make an impact and be a leader, this is the group for faculty and staff to join! If it is a personal passion and something they want to do to become more connected to the campus community, you are encouraged to reach out to April Robles to connect.

Association of Black Faculty and Staff

President: Seth Seward, Assistant Director, Alumni Relations

The Association of Black Faculty and Staff stands for diversity, equality, solidarity, and change for campus at large, students, and the Oxford community. As an organization, they will engage and participate in any efforts that are meant to educate and provide clarity of ideas of ending racism and discrimination. The Association of Black Faculty and Staff serves as a safe place for African American or black individuals to come together and meet. This is accomplished through general body meetings and social events. If something arises on campus that impacts the community, they gather together to discuss and hash out solutions in a safe space. The group also works to serve as a support system and network for students, staff, and faculty. While there are no current community events planned, anyone interested in becoming a member is encouraged to complete the membership formstack to connect.

Association of Latinx Faculty and Staff

President: José Amador, Associate Professor, Global and Intercultural Studies (Latin American, Latino/a, and Caribbean Studies)

The primary goal of the Association of Latinx Faculty and Staff primary is to support and raise awareness about the Latinx faculty and staff. They aim to build networks between departments and units, faculty and students, and Miami university and the community at large. The group also strives to raise the visibility of the Latin American Studies Program and the nearby Latinx community. Additionally, to keep everyone informed about everything Latinx-related, which is done through a weekly “bulletin” with news and events. This organization has been formed by employees of Miami University (Hamilton, Middletown, and Oxford campuses) to foster Latinx, Latin American and Caribbean, and Ibero, Luso-American representation, improve work conditions, and enrich the social and cultural environment for all Miami faculty, staff, and students. Individuals interested in connecting can reach out to José Amador.

Classified Personnel Advisory Committee

President: Angela Coffey Brown, Administrative Assistant, Enrollment Management and Student Success

The Classified Personnel Advisory Committee is established for the purpose of advising the President, Vice Presidents, and Human Resources on matters of interest and concern to classified staff members in the context of the whole university community. The group accomplishes this by bringing issues/concerns/proposals to administration for input and/or action, serving (individual members) on university committees, and providing feedback/input on matters brought to the committee for review. Additionally, the Classified Personnel Advisory Committee is established to provide an institutional venue or forum in which matters of interest or concern to classified staff members can be discussed, considered, and/or moved forward through appropriate channels. Anyone interested in connecting with or joining the committee can contact Angela Coffey Brown or reach out to the CPAC email.


CPAC is currently accepting applications for new members. Submit your application today!

International Faculty and Staff Association

President: Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, Associate Director of the Global Initiatives' CAWC

The goal of the International Faculty and Staff Association at Miami is to support and connect international faculty and staff while helping each other thrive in their specific roles on campus. This is accomplished through connecting with colleagues from diverse cultural, ethnic, racial, linguistic, and educational backgrounds, and broadening perspectives, welcoming diversity, and experiencing inclusion at Miami. The group also seeks to listen, understand, and identify the needs of international faculty/staff, address the concerns and needs of the university, provide relevant resources as needed, and help international faculty/staff. The main goal of the group is to support one another in professional development at the university.

IFSAM recently had a change in leadership. The new president for the group is Jacqueline Rioja Velarde. Jacque is the Associate Director of the Global Initiatives’ CAWC. She joined Miami University in 2003 as faculty in Geography and the Latin American Studies Program, and the CAWC in 2006. She initiated her career in higher education at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru -PUCP. She earned her B.A. in Humanities & B.Ed. in Social Sciences from the PUCP; and her M.A. in Geography from Syracuse University. Practitioner of Global education co-curriculum development with a focus on DEI & social justice pedagogy; intercultural communications; and ICQ Global DISC™. 

The group also has a newly appointed communications chair, Ebru Dirsel-Duffield. Ebru has been teaching in the ACE (American Culture and English) Program since 2013. She earned her doctoral degree in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) at the University of Cincinnati. Her research interests include ESL teacher education, non-native English speakers, second language acquisition, and cross-cultural adaptation.  

Interested individuals can reach out to IFSAM’s president Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, communications chair Ebru Dirsel-Duffield, or to the IFSA email.

Queer and Trans Faculty and Staff Association

President: Emily Cluen, Access Coordinator, Miller Center for Student Disability Services

The goal of the Queer and Trans Faculty and Staff Association is to create space for the LGBTQIA community on campus and advocate for queer and trans individuals needs. The group is currently working on establishing and maintaining a larger group to allow for more capacity moving forward. For more details or to join our listserv, email The group is looking to host more events moving forward to connect with more folks on campus and provide more networking opportunities. Interested individuals can email the group’s email address to connect.

Unclassified Personnel Advisory Committee

President: Sarah Persinger, Associate Director FBS Technology Operations & Support

The Unclassified Personnel Advisory Committee was created in 1983 to advise the University Administration (specifically the president and vice presidents) on matters of interest and concern to unclassified personnel. Committee members are selected to reflect a balance of gender, race/ethnicity, campus, division, level in the organization, responsibilities, years of university service, and any other characteristics that help to achieve a balance of knowledge, experience, viewpoints, interests and talents. The group’s most recent endeavor was focussing on wellness and bringing back access and funding to wellness areas on campus. Individuals interested in joining are encouraged to attend the monthly virtual meetings, which take place on the second Tuesday of each month. Interested individuals can also connect with Sarah Persinger for more information.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Campus Spotlight

Do you know a student, faculty member, or staff member who is doing standout diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work? We are looking to highlight individuals at Miami who are doing DEI work and making an impact across our campuses or in the community at large. Our goal is to highlight DEI works around our campuses and showcase the incredible work our community is undertaking. Submit your suggestions for our next edition's spotlight! Email suggestions to

Institutional Spotlight

Miami University Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence logo

Institutional Spotlight

LGBTQ+ and Accessibility Task Forces

In an effort to better understand and address the diverse needs of our campus community, the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE) has launched an LGBTQ+ Task Force and an Accessibility Task Force. These task forces work in collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and alumni to gauge the needs of these communities, identify areas of opportunity, and work to plan and implement initiatives to better support the Miami community. The chairs of the LGBTQ+ Task Force and Accessibility Task Force recently met with a member of our staff to provide insight into the groups, their goals, and initiatives. 

LGBTQ+ Task Force

The LGBTQ+ Task Force was founded in April 2023 as a part of TIE’s comprehensive and multi-method climate approach, with the intention of identifying support opportunities and integrating initiatives to better serve Miami’s LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ Task Force is co-chaired by Megan Kuykendoll, M.S., C.F.L.E. Director, Dennis L. Carlson Sexuality Education Studies Center and eLearning Coordinator & Instructor, Department of Family Science & Social Work, and Hiram Ramirez, Ph.D., Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives for the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence. 

Dr. Ramirez explained that the LGBTQ+ Task Force has intentionally recruited faculty, staff, undergraduate/graduate students, and alums (inclusive of Regional campus representatives) to ensure as many perspectives as possible are included in the process and proceedings of the task force. The goal of the task force is to “gather invaluable insights from the community about the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ faculty, staff, and students here at Miami so that we may better serve them moving forward.”

When asked about the aspirations of the task force, Kuykendoll expressed their hope for the task force to provide insights that will inform systemic change at Miami University as the institution as a whole seeks new ways to support LGBTQ+ community members. They expressed that a large part of building the LGBTQ+ task force “is about building partnerships, raising awareness, and helping to give voice to folks who may not have previously had access to it. This task force can help to raise and address issues that the LGBTQ+ community members at Miami are facing and provide pathways for systemic change.”

The task force members are excited to begin gathering data through the LGBTQ+ Miami Inventory, where campus community members are invited to submit information about programming, policies, initiatives, mentoring, historical events, and more, to build a historical understanding of what has transpired on campus for the LGBTQ+ community at Miami. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are encouraged to submit to the inventory.

Accessibility Task Force

The Accessibility Task Force was founded in October 2023 as a part of TIE’s comprehensive and multi-method climate approach with the goal of identifying support opportunities and integrating initiatives to make a more accessible Miami campus for all members of Miami’s community. The Accessibility Task Force is chaired by Tekeia Howard, Director for Programming for the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence.

Howard expressed the excitement of members around this new taskforce, noting that the group has “expressed collective interest in making Miami University a place where all faculty, staff, students, and community members will be able to fully experience campus life.” The Accessibility Task Force represents a collaborative effort among  faculty, staff, and students across the Oxford and Regional campuses.

The task force is currently working to facilitate a campus-wide audit of initiatives, resources, space (both physical and virtual), and programs to identify resources and areas of opportunity. Howard outlined the short-term goals of the task force in a three-pronged approach: “1. Identify current resources and best practices on campus and share them broadly so everyone can begin making adjustments to make Miami more accessible;  2. Develop an inclusive programming tool kit for the campus community; and 3. Independently or in collaboration with Miami’s accessibility units work as an advisory [group] to key stakeholders by providing feedback and insights to policies, programs, and procedures.”

For future updates about the LGBTQ+ Task Force and the Accessibility Task Force, visit TIE’s website or follow TIE on Instagramor email the office.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. She is standing next to a seated student, providing them with guidance on their assignment.

Jinjuan She, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering

Affiliated Faculty Member, Department of Emerging Technology in Business and Technology

At Miami University award-winning faculty, staff, and programs work together to provide students with a comprehensive educational experience. Each new academic year brings opportunities for advancement and progress as faculty members strive to further their own academic research alongside their coursework. One of these faculty members is Jinjuan She, Ph.D., who was recently awarded the National Science Foundation Research Grant to further her efforts to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in engineering design.

Dr. Jinjuan She is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and an Affiliated Faculty Member for the Department of Emerging Technology in Business and Technology. Dr. She has been at Miami University for five years and in that time has been a mentor for the graduate school’s Cross-Cultural Mentoring (CCM) program since the fall of 2021. Dr. She has also served as a member of the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (MME) Department Graduate Program Committee, as a participant in the Fostering a Culture of Belonging (FCB) program, and as a participant in the Advancing Teacher Scholars (ATS) community. She also serves as the secretary of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Design Theory and Methodology (DTM) Program. In the past, she was an active member in the CEC Strategic Planning Committee, MME Undergraduate Curriculum Petition Committee, and several MME Faculty Search, Staff Search Committees, etc. Sponsored by the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE), Dr. She was also among the Miami faculty who attended the national Faculty Women of Color in the Academy Conference during Spring 2023.

Dr. She came to the United States after completing her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering to pursue her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University. Before joining Miami University, she worked in the medical device and computational software industry. When reflecting on her journey from her college years to her current role, Dr. She noted, “I’ve observed a recurring trend: a significant underrepresentation of women in both my academic and professional environments. When I initially chose to pursue Mechanical Engineering as my field of study, it was a decision rooted in passion and curiosity inspired by my father. However, I can’t deny that there were moments when I questioned whether it was the right path, given the disparity in gender representation. Fortunately, I persevered in pursuing my passion, and along the way, I discovered areas within Mechanical Engineering that truly resonate with me, like human-centered design.”

One of Dr. She’s driving aspirations in her work has always been to make a positive impact on others, “particularly on young individuals who may find themselves navigating similar doubts and uncertainties.” Dr. She elaborated, “I firmly believe that it’s essential to support and empower underrepresented students, helping them find their own path within the field. My hope is to be a guiding light for them, assuring them that their unique perspectives and talents are invaluable contributions to the discipline.” One way that Dr. She works to accomplish this goal is through her work with DEI spaces on campus and through her research.

Dr. She was recently awarded a National Science Foundation research grant to fund her ongoing work around team DEI in engineering design. Within the field of engineering, collaboration within teams is an essential key in determining the success of a team, and the ability to work with those from different backgrounds becomes a strength. Dr. She’s project, titled “Research Initiation: Understanding Team Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Undergraduate Engineering Design Projects,” is “dedicated to delving into how individuals from diverse backgrounds, with their unique equity practices, interact within engineering design teams.” The project team “aim[s] to understand how diversity and equity impact the sense of inclusion experienced by team members during the design process. Initially, our research is focused on undergraduate engineering design teams, and we have aspirations to expand our scope to include professional design team collaborations in the future. In essence, our research is aimed at unraveling how diversity and equity practices intersect within engineering design teams, ultimately contributing to the creation of more inclusive and innovative solutions in engineering.”

The award of the National Science Foundation research grant holds significant potential to advance Dr. She’s project, which would also have a meaningful impact on the Miami community. Dr. She explained that the outcomes of this project are “poised to provide insights into the intricate dynamics of collaborative engineering teams. By gaining a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to effective teamwork, we can strategically integrate principles of DEI into engineering practice. This integration, in turn, will enable us to create more functional and effective groups within the field of engineering.” Dr. She’s work would also impact the Miami community and Miami alums, as her research can inform and positively influence the success of current engineering students and future graduates, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in their professional journeys.

In addition to the professional development of participants, the partnerships that have been built through Dr. She’s project serve as a testament to the commitment to collaboration and inclusive excellence at Miami University. From Dr. She’s perspective, “This initiative is poised to contribute to faster interdisciplinary partnerships between researchers in engineering and those in the realms of social sciences and education. Collaboration across these diverse fields is critical for addressing the multifaceted challenges of DEI in engineering design teams. It’s a testament to Miami University’s commitment to interdisciplinary cooperation, which can lead to innovative solutions and a richer learning environment for our community.”

Dr. She noted, “During my time at Miami, I've witnessed the genuine commitment to inclusive excellence across various facets of the university. This commitment is notably exemplified by numerous faculty members within my department, college, and the broader Miami community. These educators consistently demonstrate their dedication to student-centered teaching by employing a wide array of techniques to understand and meet the diverse needs of our student body. They also make a deliberate effort to provide support and resources to underrepresented students, ensuring their success. I feel incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such outstanding role models who inspire me to create inclusive learning experiences for my students.”

She continued noting, “Furthermore, as one of the few women engineering faculty members within our department and college, I've personally experienced the inclusivity of our work environment. I'm grateful for the unwavering support and understanding I've received from both my department chairs and colleagues, particularly during challenging times such as family emergencies or conflicts between my professional responsibilities and caring for my son. This supportive atmosphere is a testament to Miami's commitment to fostering an inclusive and empathetic workplace.”

As Dr. She and her team continue to conduct their research and implement their findings, interested individuals are encouraged to follow along by visiting the Human-Centered Design Research Lab website. The lab is actively hiring and interested students are encouraged to apply online via the link. For further information, please contact Dr. She.

Staff Spotlight

In a 2 by 3 grid, there are faculty and staff members shown in their various module videos of the DEI in Leadership Certificate.

DEI in Leadership Certificate Program

At Miami University, faculty and staff alike are constantly seeking new ways to educate and develop both themselves and members of our community. One way this is currently being accomplished is through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Leadership Certificate program. Led by the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE), the award-winning program is the result of a collaboration with Miami Online, With the support of the Office of the President, the program, launched in the spring of 2022. The certificate program draws on the expertise of Miami faculty and staff for the benefit of our inclusive community. The work of Miami Online, while behind the scenes, has been critical to the smooth, clear, and accessible organization and presentation of the modules. Members of the Miami Online team worked with Dr. Alcalde on the design and organization of the online program to bring the vision to life and ensure consistency among all modules.

Since its initial launch with ten modules, the program has expanded to include 14 in-depth, 45-minute modules organized as five foundational topics and three tracks: Coalition-Building, Health Equity, and Inclusive Workplaces. Our team recently interviewed three Miami staff members who contributed to the program through the development of modules on their areas of expertise to discuss what participants can expect when they enroll in the certificate program.

DEI Foundations

The first five modules of the certification consist of the DEI Foundations. These modules cover topics such as Biases, Stereotypes, and Microaggressions, Race and Anti-Racism, LGBTQ+ Identities, and other topics. Rodney Coates, Ph.D., Professor for Global and Intercultural Studies and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, developed the Race and Anti-Racism module. He explained that the module examines “race, the social construct of race, how race has evolved, and the importance of sharing multiple stories and perspectives to aid in the understanding of the fluidity of race as a socially constructed term that reflects power dynamics, cultural, and historical formations within the United States.” 

When asked about the type of knowledge and strategies participants would gain from the foundational module, Dr. Coates explained that “the biggest mistake we could make is believing the completion of the certification is the end of an event, but rather I hope that participants view this as the beginning of the process of increasing their understanding and awareness of both themselves and their communities. This is the beginning of the journey and not an end.” Dr. Coates elaborated, noting that, “The biggest takeaway [from the Race and Anti-Racism module] is to understand what we mean by socially constructed versus biologically given.” He emphasized that “if we understand we have the active agency in the social construction of these identities, we are agents in their employment and deployment in our communities. If we can pull back the layers of the social construction, we can put humanity first and add layers of identity to the humanity.”


Upon the completion of the five foundational modules, participants are invited to complete one or more of the three tracks to expand their learning. These tracks - Coalition-Building, Health Equity, and Inclusive Workplaces - consist of a variety of specialized topics to aid in participant understanding of approaches to inclusion across a range of contexts and topics. 

The first track, Coalition-Building, examines Intergroup Dialogue, Intercultural Communication in a Globalized World, and Indigenous Perspectives: Miami Nation. Kara Strass, Director of the Miami Tribe Relations Office for the Myaamia Center, developed the content for the Indigenous Perspectives module. She explained that one key takeaway is that “all of North America is Indigenous land and learning about the people on the land that you are on is an important step in understanding DEI.” In the module, Strass focused on “the history and ongoing revitalization of the Myaamia people” as well as “the cultural revitalization taking place in the community” and “the unique relationship between the Miami Tribe and the university, and the related work taking place on campus.”

When asked about the type of knowledge participants will gain from the module, Strass explained, “We wanted to give people an understanding of our history, who we are today and what we do as a people, and how tribal nations, because of sovereignty, are givernemnts rather than racial groups.” One of the key takeaways from this module is the importance of education about tribal nations and the impact that individual actions have on tribal communities. These modules provide context to the work taking place within the Myaamia Center and speak to the larger connections between DEI, tribal nations, and sovereignty, and aid in participant understanding of the dynamics between the three.

Health Equity

The second track, Health Equity, examines Emotional Well-Being, DEI and Healthcare Inequities, and Ageism and Age Bias. John Ward, Ph.D., Director of Student Counseling Service developed the Emotional Well-Being module. When asked about the topics of the module, Dr. Ward noted that the module covers “ways in which you can take a look at the mental health and wellness of themselves [participants] and of others in our community. The module also examines ways in which we interact with individuals that have mental health-related concerns and disorders, and ways to appropriately and ethically engage with people who may need additional support.” For Dr. Ward, this includes practices supervisors should be aware of to guide their teams when they make disclosures about mental health concerns. Additionally, this module helps participants learn to recognize when an individual may be in distress and how to bridge individuals to support services.

Dr. Ward hopes participants of the module gain knowledge and skills around emotional well-being and mental health in the workplace, specifically “I hope folks gain a sense of how they have been able to center themselves by way of their own health and wellness and that this leads into thinking about the health and wellness of others, specifically mental health in the scope of this module.” He expanded, noting that a large part of the module’s focus is on raising awareness around the mental health needs of the Miami community and providing participants with the skills to support one another. “Even though this module is centered around mental health, it also discusses creating a culture of openness, care, and concern to discuss harder topics.”

Inclusive Workplaces

The third and final track of the certification program, Inclusive Workplaces, examines Cultural Intelligence, Masculinities in the Workplace, and Strategies for Workplace Inclusiveness. Hiram Ramirez, Ph.D., Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives in TIE created the Masculinities in the Workplace module. Dr. Ramirez remarked that participants of the module would “explore ways to be more inclusive in the workplace as individuals, as colleagues, and as supervisors. It’s critical to think about this work at different levels because all individuals have different ways they can influence office culture. This module offers participants multiple ways to think about how they may influence their respective workplaces.”

Dr. Ramirez hopes that participants will connect and apply the strategies portrayed in the module into their daily lives in an effort to build more inclusive workplaces. He concluded with, “Too often we navigate workplaces as neutral environments, that happen to us instead of spaces we can control and influence.  My module helps participants to reimagine the ways in which they can take ownership and engage in proactive ways to shift work culture and spaces to be more inclusive and thoughtful of all individuals with gender in mind.”

Tekeia Howard, Director of Programming for the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence and point of contact for the internal certificate program, encourages any interested faculty, staff, or graduate students to enroll in the certification program. “Completing the DEI in Leadership Certificate is an investment in you, both professionally and personally. Through the modules, you will gain valuable knowledge and tools that will allow each Miamian to become a more inclusive leader and build a more inclusive Miami.”

Enrollment is closing soon for the fall 2023 semester of the DEI in Leadership Certificate Program. Fall registration closes on November 17, 2023, and the course will close for those enrolled in the fall session on December 15, 2023. The next cycle of enrollment will open in the spring semester. For more information about the DEI in Leadership Certification, please visit the TIE website or Miami Online.

Student Spotlight

August Ogunnowo is pictured in front of trees and bushes with sidewalks and students walking in the background.

Student Spotlight

August Ogunnowo

Biology and Neuroscience co-major with Pre-Med Studies, Class of 2024

Secretary for DEI, Associated Student Government

Student leaders at Miami University are dedicated to enhancing the student experience on campus. Part of this work includes working with our campus community to create more equitable spaces and opportunities for campus community members. One of the students currently leading this charge is August Ogunnowo.

August Ogunnowo is a Biology and Neuroscience co-major with a focus in Pre-Med Studies (Class of 2024) and currently serves as the Secretary for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Associated Student Government (ASG) and a University Senate member. In addition to their responsibilities with ASG, August serves as a Residence Advisor for the Honors College Living Learning Community (LLC) and is the President of Making Moves, a transfer student organization. August also serves as a peer facilitator for the Voices of Discovery: Dialogue Across Difference program, aiding in conducting weekly sessions of intergroup dialogue to teach students about discussion, understanding different perspectives and experiences, and advancing discussions to deeper levels. In all of their roles across campus, August strives to build connections for a more inclusive campus community and make bridges for students to connect with each other, their environment, and the variety of opportunities that Miami has to offer.

As Secretary for DEI for ASG, August works to foster collaboration and connections between students across campus. They explained, “In my role, I cannot address every DEI issue on campus with a one-year term, but I want to continue to foster partnerships and relationships. When people think of ASG, they do not always think of DEI, and my goal is to reach out to marginalized students and emphasize that we [ASG] are here for you. I try to attend a variety of multicultural events each week and strive to be intentional with my role by reaching out to people and working to do the little things.”

August went on to emphasize that their role as Secretary for DEI can be broad, which is why they prioritize collaboration in their role and platform. As August noted, “DEI has its own department, but it plays a role in every department, which makes my role so broad. When the committees within ASG work to address a specific concern, the DEI committee often ends up being a collaboration between committees on campus, as concerns are often connected to multiple areas.” August went on to describe how this intentional collaboration is just one example of their campaign platform in action. “When I ran, my slogan was ‘Creating Intentionally Inclusive Leadership.’ I like to think that people are trying to be inclusive, but often it is not intentional and sometimes people live in fear of being retaliated against.” August explained that to further DEI efforts on campus, it is important to create intentional inclusion, as the intentionality behind efforts can often be what moves efforts and initiatives further.

When asked how their role as Secretary for DEI aids in supporting efforts to build a more inclusive Miami, August noted that like with many things in life, their role is often “what you make of it,” affording them the chance to establish clear responsibilities for a previously unclear position. “In my role, I chair a committee, support them on initiatives, and work to interact with administrators. Sometimes there is not enough clarity on what the role and responsibilities of Secretary for DEI entail, which is why I set out to be intentional and transparent in my platform.” August shared how previous student experiences with ASG and DEI efforts have not always been ideal; however, they are striving to create more intentional, collaborative efforts within ASG to build a more inclusive community and increase positive experiences of engagement with ASG.

One specific effort that August has taken ownership of is the annual Inclusion Forum. This year was the fourth iteration of the annual Inclusion Forum put on by ASG. The purpose of the forum is to “equip the student body with knowledge and understanding on topics of advocacy, activism, and allyship in the efforts to cultivate inclusive-minded leadership.” August reflected on this year’s forum, commending the vulnerability of participants and their willingness to engage in dialogue. “I think the inclusion forum went really well. The forum was very empowering and we had a lot of people who were willing to be vulnerable which is extremely difficult. Vulnerability is a large part of DEI dialogue and inclusivity, and in order to truly be inclusive we have to be willing to get vulnerable. I am thrilled by the amount of people who came together to collaborate on the forum.”

As August continues in their time as a student leader on campus, they continue to collaborate with students, faculty, staff, and units to work towards building and sustaining a more inclusive Miami. One of the ways August works towards this goal is through their position on the Student Advisory Council through the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE). “I’m excited to get to meet everyone again and look forward to coming together to determine what we want the council to accomplish. I want the advisory council to be an opportunity where students are kept in the loop of communication and can have meaningful conversations where they know their voices are heard.” August encouraged students looking to get involved to apply to join the Student Advisory Council, stating, “There are so many ways to get involved on campus. Joining the council, university senate, or even becoming an ASG member at large are just some of the ways to connect. When we are doing DEI work, it is important to recognize that small contributions can make a significant impact.”

To learn more about the Student Advisory Council or to apply to join the council (accepting applications now!), please visit the TIE website. To learn more about ASG and August’s work as Secretary for DEI, visit the ASG website or follow them on social media

Research Insights

Recent Publications

Amanda Alexander, Professor and Chair for the Department of Art. College of Arts and Science.

The Routledge Companion to Decolonizing Art, Craft, and Visual Culture Education. Edited by Manisha Sharma and Amanda Alexander, Routledge, 2023.


Samir Bali, Professor of Physics. College of Arts and Science.

Ran Finkelstein et al. “A practical guide to electromagnetically induced transparency in atomic vapor. 2023 New J. Phys. DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/acbc40


Bernadette “Bird” Bowen, Visiting Assistant Professor for Media, Journalism, and Film. College of Arts and Science.

Bowen, B. (2023). On being “the bad guy”: Neuroqueer Self-Realizations in the Algorithmic Envirusment. Independently Published.


Bernadette “Bird” Bowen, Visiting Assistant Professor for Media, Journalism, and Film. College of Arts and Science.

Ha, L., Rahut, D., Ofori, M., Sharma, S., Harmon, M., Tolofari, A., Bowen, B., Lu, Y., & Khan, A. (2023). Implications of source, content, and style cues in curbing health misinformation and fake news. Internet Research.


Stephanie Danker, Associate Professor of Art Education. College of Creative Arts.

Co-Authors: Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, Associate Professor, Theatre; Jacky Johnson, University Archivist; Esther Claros Berlioz, EDL alumni

Danker, S., Armstrong, A., Johnson, J., & Claros Berlioz, E. (2023). Citizenship, Social Justice, and Arts-based Dialogue through the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964. In M. Bae-Dimitriadis & O. Ivashkevich (Eds.), Teaching Civic Participation with Digital Media in Art Education: Critical Approaches for Classrooms and Communities (pp. 73-87). Routledge.


Bruce Drushel, Professor and Chair for the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film. College of Arts and Science.

Bruce E. Drushel. (2023). “Where Radio Dare Not Tread: Podcasts as Queer Audio Media.” Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media 21(1), pp. 67-81. H index:8, SJR: 0.29.


Bruce Drushel, Professor and Chair for the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film. College of Arts and Science.

Bruce E. Drushel. (2023). “Ma Vie en (Etats) Rouges (My Life in Red [States]).” Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture 8(2), 133-37.


Katie Johnson, Professor for the Department of English. College of Arts and Science.

Johnson, Katie. Racing the Great White Way: Black Performance, Eugene O’Neill, and the Transformation of Braodway. University of Michigan Press, 2023. DOI:


Tammy Kernodle, University Distinguished Professor for the Music Department. College of Creative Arts.

Kernodle, Tammy. "Come Go with Me to Freedom land: Black Women Musicians and the Unexplored sonic History of the March on Washington." Hidden Harmonies: Women and Music in Popular Entertainment. Edited by Paula J. Bishop and Kendra Preston Leonard. University of Mississippi Press, 2023.


David Rice, Assistant Professor for the Departemtn of Media, Journalism, and Film. College of Arts and Science.

Rice, D. Andy and Bruno Guaraná. 2023. “Political Camerawork: A conversation with D. Andy Rice.” Film Quarterly Fall 2023, 77.1, 97-102.


Andrea Ridilla, Professor of Music, College of Creative Arts

Ridilla, Andrea. “Let Freedom RIng…Thanks to the Obofit.” Double Reed News, the Journal of British Double Reed Society. No. 134, Spring 2023. 


We welcome your submissions and invite individuals to share publications from the past year to be highlighted in this section. To submit a recent publication, please visit our website and complete our submission form.

Campus Announcements and Upcoming Events

Current Announcements


Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award

2023 Insight Into Higher Education (HEED) Award logo

The Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence has been awarded our fourth INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award in a row!

The INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award annually recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. To learn more visit the Miami Matters story!

Student Climate Interviews

You are invited to participate in a research project being conducted by the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE). The purpose of this research is to understand the experiences of students as it relates to the campus climate both inside and outside of the classroom. We also want to identify additional programs, initiatives, and resources to support Miami students.

If you have any questions about the survey, please feel free to reach out to Cristina Alcalde (she, her, hers), Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at who is the Principal Investigator for the study. 

Sign-up for your interview today!

Employee Stay Interviews

You are invited to participate in a research project being conducted by the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE). The purpose of this research is to learn specific actions Miami University can take to strengthen the retention and overall climate for employees. We also want to identify strategies and resources needed to support Miami employees’ professional goals.

If you have any questions about the survey, please feel free to reach out to Cristina Alcalde (she, her, hers), Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at who is the Principal Investigator for the study. 

Sign-up for your interview today!

LGBTQ+ Miami Inventory- We Need Your Help!

The LGBTQ+ Task Force, a group of faculty, staff, students, and alums who have been assembled by the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE), is excited to announce that we are gathering information through the LGBTQ+ Miami Inventory.  This inventory is gathering any information community members may have about LGBTQ+ programming, policies, initiatives, mentoring, and historical events at Miami.  The entire Miami community - faculty, staff, students, and alums - are invited to provide any information they may have that would help the task force.  The information that is gathered will assist the task force to get a historical understanding of LGBTQ+ efforts at Miami over the past few years.  Please complete all submissions by Friday, Dec. 1st.  If you have any questions about the inventory or the task force, please email

QT-Con Call for Proposals

QT-Con is a grassroots conference and convention featuring queer and trans research, creative works, and passion projects. QT-Con brings together individuals from academia and beyond to center LGBTQIA+ lived experiences and celebrate multiple sources of expertise. 

QT-Con encourages undergraduate and grad students, faculty, staff, and alum from Miami University and surrounding schools, as well as members of the community to submit a proposal. Presenters have the option of presenting virtually or in person, and can choose the length that best fits their topic: 10, 15, or 20 minutes.  Presenters can pull from academic studies, lived experience, passion areas, and/or from creative expression. Do you want to present your spoken word poetry? Your treatise on how She-Ra is a queer icon? Your peer-reviewed, years-long research project on pansexual identity, drawing from lived experience and in-depth interviews? All are welcome!

Workday Implementation Project is Well Underway

As we move through October, the Workday Implementation Project is hitting a major milestone. The last of three configuration worksets is coming to an end after a total of 20 weeks for the three. Configuration Testing is beginning this week and a number of additional Miami employees will begin to be engaged in this step over the coming weeks.

To learn more about the project, including a full timeline of the project, Workday vocabulary, and more, visit the project website.

NameCoach Access

NameCoach, a tool that helps provide pronunciation information for student, faculty, and staff names, is now available for Miami users in Canvas and online!

As colleagues, educators, friends, and learners, interpersonal communication is key for everyone at Miami. Respect and inclusion are key to ensuring an inclusive and welcoming environment, and that includes correctly pronouncing our fellow Miamians’ names. Having the tools to correctly pronounce each of our names helps promote an inclusive environment for folks of all socio-cultural identities, and NameCoach is going to help us do that.

With NameCoach, anyone at Miami can record a pronunciation for their name and share it with the community. We have integrated it directly with Canvas so that instructors can see the pronunciations of their students’ names.

There are two ways to record your name with NameCoach:

Please note: To have a pronunciation show up in Canvas, you have to record in Canvas. The direct NameCoach recording will not cross-pollinate.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

peepankišaapiikahkia eehkwaatamenki: Myaamia Ribbonwork

Thursday, Nov. 16, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

MacMillan Hall, Great Room

Come learn more about the Myaamia artform of ribbonwork and create a bookmark inspired by ribbonwork designs. This event is co-sponsored by the Myaamia Center and the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence.

To learn more about TIE’s upcoming events and connect with future programming, please visit our University Events Calendar Page.

Pilot Initiative: Affinity Group Luncheons

In an effort to more fully embed inclusive excellence and to support community-building, communication, and networking between Faculty and Staff Affinity Groups and university leadership, the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE) has launched this new initiative.  Throughout the 2023-2024 academic year, there will be various luncheons hosted with various divisions and affinity groups.  To help increase the visibility of the upcoming luncheons, we would like to invite affinity group members to the following sessions:

FSB and ALFAS Luncheon - RSVP by Tuesday, Oct. 31st 

Wednesday, Nov. 8th | 11:30 am to 1 pm | FSB, Room 3081

University Libraries and AAA-FSA Event - RSVP by Wednesday, Nov. 22nd  

Thursday, Nov. 30th | 1:30 to 3 pm | King Library, Room 320

College of Arts and Science and ABFAS - RSVP by Monday, Nov. 20th 

Thursday, Nov. 30th | 11:30 am to 1 pm | Shriver Hall, Heritage Room

We thank all of our divisions for their commitment and investment to inclusive excellence, as partners in this initiative and look forward to sharing our future sessions that will be taking place later in the fall and spring semesters.

Creative Writing Program Welcomes Hannah Emerson

Hannah Emerson

Please join the Creative Writing Program in welcoming Hannah Emerson for a poetry reading on Wednesday, November 29 at 7:30pm. 

Hannah Emerson is a nonspeaking autistic poet whose work has been featured in Paris Review, Poetry, The Nation, BOMB, the Poetry Society of America, Literary Hub, and Brooklyn Rail. She is the author of the collection of poems The Kissing of Kissing (2022) from Milkweed's Multiverse series (see below for excerpts). She lives in Lafayette, New York.

Hannah's work will be performed by Aviv Rosenzweig and others. A Q&A with Hannah will follow. Interested attendees are encouraged to register for the event

Leadership Applications and Award Nominations


Student Advisory Council Applications

Applications are currently available for the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence’s Student Advisory Council. This council is one of three councils which both advise and move forward various diversity and inclusion initiatives alongside TIE. Students who are a part of this council get to contribute to the larger institutional goals for DEI and provide student perspective as we continue to enhance and grow as an inclusive campus community.

Submit your application today! The deadline to apply is Friday, November 17th.

Award Nominations

University Diversity and Inclusion Awards Nominations

Nominations are now open for the 2023-2024 University Diversity and Inclusion Awards! Awards will be given for: Distinguished Service, Ray of Light, Diversity Event of the Year, Institutional Inclusive Excellence, Diversity and Inclusion Student Advocate Award- Undergraduate and Graduate awards will be given. For full consideration, please complete all nominations by Friday, February 16, at 5pm.

Submit your nomination today!

Freedom Summer '64 Award - 2024 Nominations 

In addition to the University Diversity and Inclusion Awards, Miami University is excited to announce that the nomination process has opened for the Freedom Summer '64 Award.  This award was created to honor champions of civil rights and social justice. It is given in remembrance and recognition of the site at the Western College for Women (now part of Miami University), where 800 young Americans trained to register Black voters in the south.  

We invite all faculty, staff, and students to nominate individuals or organizations with exceptional trajectories as champions of civil rights and social justice.  The deadline for nominations is Friday, Dec. 8th by 5 pm. To nominate someone today, visit our Nomination Form.

Capacity-Building and Leadership Development

Current Opportunities and Initiatives

Upcoming Workshops

The Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence will be hosting three workshops throughout the month of November to aid in the professional development of faculty, staff, and students. To connect with these and future workshops, visit our University Events Calendar page and follow TIE on Instagram.

Allyship Workshop

Tuesday, Nov. 7, Noon to 1 p.m.

Shriver Center, Bystrom Room.

Allyship is an action. It is a continuous process that one has to commit to every day. Attend this workshop and learn how to take courageous steps toward action and equitable change in our communities. Students interested in this workshop are encouraged to complete their registration to attend.

Professional Preparation: Writing Inclusive Action Statements

Wednesday, Nov. 8, Noon to 1 p.m.

Shriver Center, Bystrom Room

Learn to write about how you create inclusive environments for potential employers and graduate schools. Students interested in this workshop are encouraged to complete their registration to attend.

Racial Equity Workshop

Wednesday, Nov. 29, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Middletown Campus

Johnston Hall, Room 136/137

Racial equity work requires sustained, proactive education and engagement as well as systemic, intentional efforts at micro- and macro-levels. We will learn about our responsibilities in racial equity and how to prevent racism. We will discuss how to identify racist behaviors both in ourselves and in others and how to counter and dismantle such behaviors. The workshop will also provide tools and strategies for having conversations around racism and how to prevent, stop, and unlearn racial prejudices. This workshop can be tailored for individual departments or student organizations. Request workshop for your department/unit or student group. Interested employees are encouraged to register their attendance.

Reimagining the Academy: Building Communities for Access and Transformational Change

Over 30 Miami faculty, staff, and students gathered to attend the conference. Miami conference attendees are standing together on a staircase in front of the Reimagining the Academy Sign

Miami University, Kent State University, and Ohio University joined forces to form a collaborative conference: Reimagining the Academy: Building Communities for Access and Transformational Change. Previously, each university held an annual conference on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion. This new alliance will allow the universities to come together for one conference that will share expertise and leverage their strengths. 

We are excited to share that we had 60 attendees both in-person and virtually in attendance at Reimagining the Academy Conference.  To learn more about this year’s amazing experience, please read the Miami Matters story.  

Next year’s conference will be held at Miami University.  If you want to stay involved in the planning of the conference, submit a session, engage as a student leader, or stay updated on the conference please sign up today!

Redhawks Equity Leadership Series (RELS)

Join our online cultural competency certificate for undergraduate and graduate students. We invite all students to sign up to be a part of the first cohort of students to complete the training starting November 2023. The Redhawks Equity Leadership Series (RELS) encompasses a set of five workshops: (1) Allyship, (2) Anti-Racism, (3) Diversity Statement Workshop, (4) DEI in Resumes/CVs Workshop, and (5) Pronouns 101. Enroll today by signing up by completing the Registration Form.

We hope to keep updating this series with additional workshops, resources, and upcoming events to support students' growth as inclusive leaders.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Leadership Certificate

Join our online Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion course and learn how to be an active ally, inclusive leader, and effective mediator. Extend your individual experiences and knowledge with research-based tools and strategies to thrive as an advocate for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.

The DEI Leadership Certificate utilizes five foundational modules: (1) Bias, Stereotypes, and Microaggressions, (2) Race and Anti-Racism, (3) LGBTQ+ Identities, (4) Ableism and Inclusion, 5) Allyship and Advocacy.

Current registrants have until December 15th to complete their certificate modules. For more information, please visit DEI in Leadership Certificate.

Religious Observances and Inclusive Scheduling

Religious Observances and Inclusive Scheduling

As we enter the winter season, the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (TIE)  encourages all Miami community members to consult the full list of Religious Observances and Inclusive Scheduling dates on our website. To assist with planning, below we highlight a few key religious holidays and observances for the upcoming winter season, including a description of the holiday, best practices, and customary greetings. Please note that these are not all of the holidays that are taking place, nor is this a fully inclusive list. 

December 7-15* - Hanukkah (Judaism) 

  • Description: The eight-day Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah or Chanukah commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Jewish people light one candle on the menorah each day, which represents the number of days that the Temple lantern blazed. People also traditionally play games of dreidel and eat Jewish foods. Religious rituals such as daily readings of Scriptures, recitations of Psalms, and singing are also held.
  • Best Practices:  When providing food at functions, please consider Kosher food accommodations. Hanukkah is considered a minor Jewish holiday, so most people still go to work or school. Some people may choose to take time off to be with their friends and family.   
  • Customary Greetings: “Happy Hanukkah” or "Chag Sameach" (Khahg sa-MAY-ach).

December 21- January 1 - Yule (Pagan/Wiccan) 

  • Description: This holiday is celebrated at the winter solstice as the rebirth of the Great horned hunter god, who is viewed as the newborn solstice sun [modern Paganism]. Yule was originally celebrated by the Norse and Scandinavian peoples.Today, many Pagans still celebrate Yule on the day of the Winter Solstice. Pagans celebrate the rebirth of the sun through gift exchanges, merriment, and deep spiritual reflection. For Pagans, this is a time of new beginnings, rebirth, transformation, getting rid of unwanted habits, and creativity. In most forms of Wicca, followers celebrate the Great horned hunter god who represents the newborn solstice sun. Some have group or private ceremonies. Yule is considered the Wiccan Sabbat. Yule celebrations included bonfires, decorating with holly, mistletoe, and the boughs of evergreen trees, ritual sacrifices, feasts, and gift-giving.
  • Best Practices: We recommend avoiding scheduling deadlines or activities on these dates since practitioners may take time off to celebrate and observe the holiday.  
  • Customary Greetings: “Happy Yule,” or  “Merry Yuletide,” or “Happy Solstice.”  

December 22 - Srīmad Bhagavad Gītā Jayantī (Hindu) 

  • Description: Celebrates the birthday of Bhagavad Gita. Gita Jayanti is a very important day for Hindus. On this day, the holy book of Hindus, Bhagavad Gita was born, ie Gita Jayanti is the day when Lord Shri Krishna told the Gita to Arjuna. It is celebrated on Shukla Ekadashi on the 11th day of Margashirsha month of the Hindu calendar. The Bhagavad Gita was described by Lord Krishna himself before the Mahabharata war began. It is believed that in the Mahabharata, the seeds of the Pandavas and the Kauravas had decided to go to war even after every possible reconciliation effort. Followers read the Bhagavad Gita and talk about how it has benefitted them. The followers of Lord Krishna fast on the festival of Ekadashi, which is a day where one cleanses the body and focuses on rejuvenation. 
  • Best Practices:  When providing food at functions, please consider the practice of fasting. Additionally, avoiding lunchtime meetings and gathering can be a helpful practice at this time.
  • Customary Greetings: There is no traditional greeting for this holiday but one may say "May this auspicious occasion of Gita Jayanti bring a lot of positivity, peace and harmony to your life." 

December 25 - Christmas (Christian) 

  • Description: Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. Popular customs in celebrating Christmas are exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, having meals with family and friends, and attending Christmas services. 
  • Best Practices:  Christmas is a public holiday during which the university is closed.  
  • Customary Greetings: “Merry Christmas!” 

December 26 - Kwanzaa (African Americans) 

  • Description: Celebrates African heritage, unity, and culture.  Although Kwanzaa is primarily an African American holiday, it has also come to be celebrated outside the United States, particularly in Caribbean and other countries where there are large numbers of descendants of Africans. It was conceived as a nonpolitical and nonreligious holiday, and it is not considered to be a substitute for Christmas. Kwanzaa is celebrated by hosting daily ceremonies and eating traditional foods. They also light the kinara, which holds seven candles. Each candle represents one of the Seven principles of Kwanzaa. Red, green, and black are the most prevalent colors in decorating for and celebrating Kwanzaa.
  • Best Practices:  Some may fast until the big Kwanzaa feast. Kwanzaa takes place over the winter break when the university is closed.
  • Customary Greetings: During Kwanzaa, participants greet one another with "Habari gani" which is Kiswahili for "how are you/ how's the news with you?" People can also say, “Happy Kwanzaa!” 

Note: ​​“*” denotes holidays that start sundown the day before. Please note that individual practices may vary. 

We also encourage the use of our Religious Observances and Inclusive Scheduling calendar to provide guidance and help avoid scheduling important events, activities, and deadlines on holidays observed by members of the Miami community.  Should you or a member of your team have any questions or concerns on how to best utilize this information or on appropriate accommodations, please contact the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence or the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity.