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2014 Diversity Conference

Crossroads: An Opportunity for Progress

**Please note, limited registration is still available for the conference.  Descriptions of workshops for the conference are listed below.  As you read the descriptions, please choose one workshop that is still open in each time block and remember both the corresponding letter and number of the workshops you choose.  Continue to the online registration page (link "Click here to register") to complete registration.  For any questions regarding registration, please contact Kurt Zeller at

Click here to register

Workshop Session A (11:00-12:00)

A1: Witnessing Whiteness
**Session has reached capacity**
America is often referred to as a melting pot where our ancestors came together and blended to create a new American identity. What is that identity? What does it mean to be a white American? What does it mean to be a white anti-racist American? To be a witness?  This session will include exercises to ground us in our own individual racial/ethnic/cultural histories followed by practice dialogues on race working in dyads.

Presenters: Jean Carroll, President and CEO of YWCA and several experienced facilitators from the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County

A2:Practical Religious Pluralism: Building Interfaith Community on Campus
An interactive workshop, led by students, using the case study method to examine issues that arise on college campuses as religious diversity expands. The case studies illustrate the challenges faced by minority religious groups, encouraging participants to brainstorm creative solutions to common issues of interfaith etiquette that arise on campuses.

Presenters:  Denise Yarbrough, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life; The Students' Association for Interfaith Cooperation including Fatima Bawany, Aaron Marans, Stephanie Salazar, Samantha Merrill, Ian Pershing, Rebecca Walters, and Shyam Venkateswaran.

A3: Academic and Environmental Barriers to Inclusion for People with Disabilities
A thought-provoking discussion on where we are as a community in recognizing the broad category of disability as an aspect of diversity and an opportunity for reflection on the inclusivity of our campus, home, and community environments.  Attendees will participate in an active discussion, in both pairs and large group, reflecting on the academic and physical environments for people with disabilities on the UR campus. The attendees will also have the opportunity to reflect on and discuss the inclusive and non-inclusive aspects of their own work, home, and community environments.

Presenters:Laura Robinson, educator and researcher in developmental disabilities; Amy Clark, Disability Support Coordinator

A4: A Conversation on Race: A Community Project in Rochester
Participants will experience a safe space where questions of racial identity and belonging, among other things, can be explored. Each dialogue is different because it is composed of the blend of voices of those who participate. The work consists of small group and large group discussions of questions related to race, identity, and an exploration of how these ideas took root in us initially within our own lives.

Presenters: Kit Miller, Director of MK Gandhi Institute of Nonviolence; Michelle Thompson-Taylor, Director Intercultural Center

A5: Invisible Students: Graduate Students of Color at the U of R
The workshop focuses on vital support structures for underrepresented students.  Presenters will explore the feelings associated with being a graduate student of color at a Predominantly White Institution with emphasis on pathways to implement at this university.  This workshop will utilize empirical evidence to show the importance affinity groups are to the retention and overall success of underrepresented students.

Presenters:Sheena O’Connor, Human Development Ph.D. student; Carmen Delia Cortazar; Electrical Engineering Masters student;  Danielle Alcena, Council Advisor in the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership & Diversity

A6: Transforming Power Structures through Campus-Community Partnerships
This session will spotlight several successful campus-community partnerships as a starting point for discussion to explore how this approach to teaching, learning and research can shift power dynamics inherent in conventional relations between the “ivory tower” and its host community.  Participants, in group settings, will learn about principles of campus-community partnerships that seek to invert conventional power dynamics, and engage faculty, staff, students and community members as co-creators of knowledge in a dynamic, relational process.

Presenters: Glenn Cerosaletti, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Rochester Center for Community Leadership; Ann Marie White, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Alykhan Alani, Rochester Youth Year Fellow, Anthony Jordan Health Center at Woodward;  Leesha K. Hoilette, URMC and Anthony Jordan Health Center at Woodward


Workshop Session B (1:00-2:00)

B1:Facing Race, Embracing Equity: Exploring the Impact of Race on Jobs and Economic Development, Housing, Health Disparities, Education, and Juvenile and Criminal Justice
**Session has reached capacity**
Members of the Facing Race, Embracing Equity initiative have been exploring the impact of Race in these areas for the past year and have proposed goals to address these concerns. We will engage in dialogue about racial disparities and their impact on the lives of people of color and minorities in our community.  Participants will work in small groups to provide feedback on the goals.

Presenters: Kathy Sweetland, retired University Intercessor; Members of Facing Race, Embracing Equity (FREE) workgroups

B2: Who and What is White?  Developing anti-racist practices for Whites
**Session has reached capacity**
There is no biological basis or scientific support for racial categories.  Race is a social construct.  But what does that mean?  In this workshop we discuss the meaning of Whiteness as a first step in an anti-racist practice.  We then consider micro-aggressions non-Whites must negotiate and how Whites can intervene.

Presenters:Nancy Chin, Anthropologist and Public Health Scientist; Daniel J. Cohn, Program, Research, and Evaluation Specialist for Engaged Learning + Research at Cornell; Jocelyn Kopfman, Student at College of Wooster

B3: "I just like the look of it": Flying the Confederate Flag on Campus
Long a symbol of their cultural heritage, a Confederate flag on campus has exposed a crack in the University of Rochester's efforts at diversifying the student body, and sent a telling message to Southerners: Confederates not welcome!  In this session, participants will engage in a discussion about the growing (and sometimes uncomfortable) diversity of diversity.

Presenters: Larry Hudson, Associate Professor of History; Ellen W. Rogers, Photographer (Class of '93)

B4:Successful Federal [NSF & NIH] Proposals: Creating a Winning Broadening Participation Plan
Federal agencies have increased expectations that investigators will engage the broader community, particularly underrepresented groups, in efforts to expand the pipeline of students into STEM fields. Investigators can tie into current AS&E infrastructure to create meaningful, sustainable, and impactful links to K-12, college and graduate efforts to increase diversity and expand their scientific outreach.  Through group exercise, participants will learn about ways to connect their scientific and engineering research with on-going institutional efforts, particularly in the Kearns Center and AS&E, whose focus is the development of a diverse pipeline of talent.

Presenters: Beth Olivares, Associate Dean for Diversity Initiatives and Director of the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity; and Wendi Heinzelman, Dean of Graduate Studies in Arts, Sciences and Engineering and Professor of both Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science

B5: I Don’t Believe In Diversity Anymore
In a critique of the post-racial implications of “diversity,” this workshop challenges supporters to define diversity outside of race, while charging non-supporters to engage in discussions of alternative diversity-related possibilities. This workshop will emotionally and intellectually move individuals to a revolutionary way of addressing diversity, while allowing them to collectively define its impact at the University of Rochester and the surrounding communities.  Through spoken word and audience participation, this engaging workshop will incite passion, hope, excitement, but more importantly - change.

Presenters:Xavier Beckwith, Master’s student in Education Policy; Graduate Students of Color (GSOC) Council members

B6: Gifting, Helping and Indebted Bodies: Or, Is It Violence—By Another Name?
In this session, the presenter will rehabilitate the reigning perception of violence to include gifting, helping and reciprocity in ranked, asymmetrical social contexts (e.g.: The United States of America).  The workshop will focus on what is critical-- albeit partially hidden and/or misrecognized-- in gifting, giving, and helping: gratitude and obligation.  Examples will focus on structural or state-sanctioned rather than individual (one-on-one) violence.

Presenter: Signithia Fordham, Associate Professor of Anthropology


Workshop Session C (2:15-3:15)

C1: "Diversity" a Source of Knowledge and Understanding
American Society could look at the knowledge and understanding that other cultures can offer its institutions.  The presenter will share the “Ganoñhanioñ”, the Thanksgiving Address, as well as how this tradition of the Haudenosaunee affects those participating in it.  The Ganoñhanioñ inspires thanksgiving, appreciation and respect for the Natural world and a value for it develops. This understanding and shift in values may be a key in helping human kind survive into the future.

Freida Jacques,
Clanmother of the Turtle Clan and resident of the Onondaga Nation

C2: Human Library- Celebrate Differences and Encourage Understanding of People Who Come from Varied Cultural or Life Style Backgrounds
A Human Library is a way for people to reach out and connect with individuals in their community with whom they might not normally interact. Visitors to a library have an opportunity during a planned event to borrow and engage in 30 minute conversations with a Human Book.  Human Library’s promote tolerance, celebrate differences and encourage understanding of people who come from varied cultural or life-style backgrounds.

Presenters:  Mari Tsuchiya, Senior Library Assistant in Rush Rhees Library; Katie Papas, Library Assistant in Rush Rhees Library; Megan Mack, Communications Project Manager for River Campus Libraries

C3: Let’s Get Real About Diversity
**Session has reached capacity**
Let's Get Real about Diversity is designed to engage participants in an interactive session as we explore and grapple with what diversity looks like, how it impacts us personally, and cause participants to reflect and respond to questions in different categories. This is a fun, collaborative activity that participants can replicate in their own circles to engage others in talking about diversity.

Presenters: Michelle Thompson-Taylor, Director of the Intercultural Center at the University of Rochester

C4: Engaging LGBTQ Communities in Clinical Research
Learn techniques and strategies used by the Rochester Victory Alliance at URMC when working with LGBTQ communities for research. This interactive session will cover community engagement/education, recruitment, cultural sensitivity, and involving community stakeholders in the research process. The skills learned here can be transferred to other settings and communities.

Presenters:  Andrew Moran, Community Educator & Recruiter;Catherine A. Bunce, Clinic Coordinator

C5: Poetry of Resistance: The Power of Our Words
Poetry is a powerful form of expression that can be used to articulate feelings related to a number of experiences, from the real to the imagined. When presented in a meaningful and welcoming setting poetry can create spaces for increasing agency and empowerment in individuals.  Workshop attendees will write and perform their own poetry. We will begin this section of the workshop by performing personal poetry as well as poetry by other artists.

Presenters:Avilene Tiscareno, Masters student in Counseling and Human Development; Edward Rivero, Masters student in Counseling Psychology at Boston University

C6: Embracing Deaf, American Sign Language (ASL), and Hearing Loss as Unique Assets of the Rochester Community
Rochester is Unique! Where else can you meet Doctors, Nurses, Cashiers, Dentists, Veterinarians, and Engineers who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing? Redefining diversity to include Deaf and Hard of Hearing people opens new doors to exploring how research, healthcare, education and employment can fully embrace the entirety of the Rochester Community. Through role-playing, question and answer, and didactic learning, workshop attendees will gain practical and personal experience to support them and their organizations toward including Deaf/HoH students, colleagues, patients, participants, & consumers. 

Presenters:Lori Dewindt, Rehabilitation Therapist ; NCDHR Staff / Faculty and community partners

Click here to register

For any questions regarding registration, please contact Kurt Zeller at

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