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EIU Making Excellence Inclusive

 Making Excellence Inclusive Conference

 MEI Conference Logo

Please join us for the 2020

“Together We RISE: Reaching Inclusivity for Student Excellence” Conference!


WE’RE GOING VIRTUAL!!! Friday, October 16, 2020


A signature AAC&U initiative, Making Excellence Inclusive is designed to explore how colleges and universities can fully utilize the resources of diversity to achieve academic excellence for all students.

The annual RISE conference provides faculty and staff the strategies and tools to support students' academic success. The conference is also designed to raise awareness of the diverse challenges our students face, whether as members of underrepresented groups, as first-generation college students, as non-traditionally aged students, or as students with disabilities. We welcome presentations on issues concerning inclusion, diversity, equity, trauma informed methods, the impacts of Covid-19 in K-16 education, remote teaching methods, teaching/communicating students during a pandemic, the intersectionality of any of the aforementioned, and other topics that pertain to the theme.

We have made the decision to go VIRTUAL!!! We are planning our keynote address and individual sessions using a virtual meeting format. We are confident we can RISE to this occasion and meet the needs of all!! And, this year no registration fee – IT’S FREE!! 

You are warmly invited to join us regardless of whether you choose to submit a proposal.

For more information about MEI’s mission and core principles visit

  • Proposals are now being accepted for the fourth annual conference.
  • Email proposals (PDF or word) to Jim Howley at by Friday, September 4th.
  • As we will be using a virtual meeting format, proposals will be presentations of 1 or more presenters.
  • Include names/title/department/institutional affiliation and contact information for each presenter.
  • Include title, abstract and description of the session (no more than 500 words total), including details about target audience, learning objectives/outcomes, relevance to MEI objectives and conference theme.
  • Proposals will be peer reviewed and decisions will be made no later than Friday, October 2nd so final presentation can be submitted by Friday October 9th to be properly uploaded

For more information about the conference visit us at:




Making Excellence Inclusive Conference 2019 Information Below:

on EIU’s Campus in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union

on Friday October 11, 2019

Registration is FREE and lunch in Thomas Dining Hall is included!

Dr. Beth Hatt, Fullbright Fellow and Associate Professor at Illinois State University in the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations, will present the keynote:

Dr. Beth Hatt Photo

“Cultural Wealth As Smartness”

The keynote address will include an overview of how students develop academic identities including whether they believe they are smart or not.  The academic identities students develop influence their engagement and success in college.  Thinking through what identities we want students to develop on campus in relation to their perceived smartness is an important part of developing equitable and inclusive learning environments along with understanding how issues of power and ability intersect.

Outline of Events

7:45 – 8:20   Registration

8:20 – 8:30   Welcome

8:30 – 9:20   Keynote: Dr. Beth Hatt

9:30 – 10:20 Breakout Session 1

  • The Race Card Project: Catherine Polydore, Zachary Newell, Richard England

    In 2010, NPR journalist Michele Norris founded the Race Card Project as a way to help people explore and share their ideas about race. By asking people to write down their thoughts on race in just six words, it is possible to create a set of condensed reflections that reveal diverse views, and intense personal experiences, while offering participants an opportunity to encounter many other perspectives quickly. The original project has flourished as an online forum ( and many institutions have created local versions of this project to foster conversations about race. This year, EIU hosts its own Race Card Project at Booth library. This session discusses the Race Card Project and concludes this experiment.

  • Leveling the Playing Field in Higher Education: April Jackson

    Not all disabilities are visible. Not every accommodation is necessary for every disability. Accommodations are meant to level the playing field. Students who utilize accommodations are often the first to express that they rather not have to, but that they realize where their areas of need lie and that they need support to ensure they have the same groundwork as their non-disabled peers.
    This presentation shares insight into what being a student with a disability may look like at the University level. It shares stories directly from current students and shares information presented by Ms. Jackson who has the lens of a mother of a child with a disability, a special education teacher, a k-12 administrator, and now a Director, of Student Disability Services.

  • Diversity and Inclusion: Implementation of Our Learning from the Diversity Council for Independent Colleges Institute on Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts: Katherine Helm, Kristi Kelly, Jennifer Tello Buntin, Kurt Schackmuth


  • Military and Veteran Students: Common Misperceptions, Observed Challenges, and Proposed Best Practices: Wade Smith


10:30 – 11:20 Breakout Session 2

  • "Help I'm Being Accused of Racism!": From Denial to Dialogue in a Few (Not So Easy) Steps: Jeannie Ludlow

    It is awful to be accused of racism. I know—it has happened to me often. My first reaction is always, “Not me! I didn’t do that!” Denial, however, does not lead to resolution. This interactive workshop for all audiences will share contemporary understandings of racism, including intersectional oppressions. As we put these accusations in context, we can become more comfortable talking about them. We will look at several models for effective responses to accusations of racism and discuss ways to assess particular situations to determine which models may work best. We will describe what effective resolution looks (and feels) like.

  • Mental Health on the Rise: Protecting the Emotional Well-Being of Today's College Students: David Ehlers

    Mental health concerns among college students has been a growing issue at universities and community colleges across the country. While young adults are less likely to receive mental health services than any other age group, approximately 75% of all mental health conditions begin by age 24, with higher rates of mental health conditions among college-age students. Underrepresented groups encounter additional barriers in order to receive the services they need. Participants at this session will get a closer look at the research related to mental health and college students, learn how to identify and help distress students, and collaborate to find better solutions to support students succeed personally and academically.

  • Access Does Not Equal Inclusion: Lessons and Reminders from "The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Disadvantaged Students": Juanita Cross


  • UDL and ALCs: The Card Game Version: Newton Key

11:30 – 12:20 Breakout Session 3

  • The Little Hurts That Undermine Equity: A Workshop to Identify and Challenge Microaggressions in the Classroom: Sydney Hart

    Rooted in the myth and ideology of reverse and color-blind racism, even people with good intentions can express stereotypes and implicit biases in micro-aggressions: little behaviors that perpetuate stereotypes and contribute to a climate of intolerance. Micro-aggressions add up to create hostile environments and personal harm. In this participatory workshop, we will build equity-mindedness by learning to identify micro-aggressions, discuss effects, and brainstorm ways to manage them in our classrooms, colleges, and lives.

  • Seeking "A More Perfect Union": Deconstructing the Psychological Impact of Racism and Economic Marginalization Through Awareness, Self-Action, and Cross-Cultural Engagement: Carole Rene Collins Ayanlaja 

    Over 100 years ago sociologist, historian, and civil rights activist, WEB Dubois predicted that race would emerge as a key social problem. Today, its power to shape the lives of those living in the United States remains. This presentation applies theoretical perspectives and identifies lived experiences that project the impact of inequity, addressing key questions through informative dialogue and interaction focused on social/emotional mindfulness.

Click here to register

Related Pages

Contact Information

Making Excellence Inclusive

College of Arts & Humanities
600 Lincoln Avenue Charleston, IL 61920

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