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13th Annual EIUnity Diversity Conference

The Rebirth of a Nation: 
The Pursuit of Civility, Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity

Friday, March 5, 2021

Complete the Conference Evaluation

13th Annual EIUnity Diversity Conference

The Office of Inclusion & Academic Engagement, Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, and the diversity conference planning committee is very excited to present "The Rebirth of a Nation: The Pursuit of Civility, Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity". This conference aims to address and move forward research, practices, policies, and general understanding surrounding race, racism, sexuality, ableism, inclusion, and equity. Our goal is for participants to leave energized and motivated to become change agents on campus and in their communities. This year the conference will be held virtually. Review the presentations being offered and consider joining us on Friday, March 5!

Access zoom links by clicking the session title


9 am: Keynote - Dr. Lori Patton Davis

Lori Patton Davis, Ph.D.

Dr. Lori Patton DavisDr. Lori Patton Davis is a highly respected, nationally recognized, and accomplished scholar in the field of higher education. She is a tenured full professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at The Ohio State University and Chair of the Department of Educational Studies. Dr. Patton Davis is also past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the first Black woman to be elected to this leadership role. She is best known for important cross-cutting scholarship on race and racism in higher education, campus diversity initiatives, Black students, particularly, girls and women in educational and social contexts, and college student development.

She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and other academic publications appearing in highly-regarded venues such as The Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, Review of Educational Research, and Urban Education. Her research has been cited in multiple publications and funded by grants from the Spencer Foundation, Lumina Foundation, American Psychological Foundation, and an array of other entities. She was the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division J Equity and Inclusion Officer for six years. The American College Personnel Association (ACPA) members elected her to a two-year term as the inaugural Director of Equity and Inclusion on the Association’s national governing board. She has received many national awards for her scholarly contributions and has been recognized in the EdWeek Hess Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings as one of the top 200 influential educators in the US. She is a frequently sought-after expert on a wide range of education topics.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Huffington Post, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and dozens of other media outlets have quoted her and featured her research. She has also advised university presidents and other senior administrators, philanthropic foundation executives, culture center directors, and educators in urban K-12 schools.

10 am - Noon: Safe Zone Core

Tanya Willard (She/Her/Hers), EIU Center for Gender & Sexual Diversity
Amanda Feder (She/Her/Hers), SACIS

Topics that will be addressed include GSD terminology, the coming out process, heterosexual privilege, facts and myths about the GSD community, and ways to engage in activism. Completion of Core will result in becoming an identified Safe Zone Ally.
Target audience: Open to any student, staff, or faculty member who is interested in becoming an ally for the LGBTQA+ community and learning more about gender and sexuality-related issues.

10 - 11 am: Confronting the Misrepresentations about African Americans’ History within Curricula

John H. Bickford, Eastern Illinois University

I report how children’s and young adult non-fiction books, literature, and textbooks (mis)represent the Black Freedom Movement, which contains the centuries of slavery until beyond the Civil Rights Movement. If unchallenged by teachers, students will remain ignorant of slavery’s ubiquity and brutality, its centrality to America’s emerging economy, and enslaved African Americans’ humanity and resistance. Similar misrepresentations appear in Civil Rights-based curricula. Omission of the period after slavery before the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Movement leaves students oblivious to the racial terror, legislative disenfranchisement, and judicial re-enslavement. I demonstrate how teachers, parents, and students can first identify and then fill the gaps within misrepresentative curricula.
Target Audience: Students, K-12 teachers, and Parents

10 - 11 am: Freshman Connection Mentorship Program

Heidi Larson, Eastern Illinois University
Aileen Tierney, Eastern Illinois University
Max Smith, Eastern Illinois University
Audrey Kim, Eastern Illinois University

This workshop will present the Freshman Connection mentorship program and its impact on freshman students at Eastern Illinois University. The program focuses on building inclusivity at EIU and supporting students from all backgrounds, like commuters and first generation students. The data will also highlight leadership opportunities and benefits of the program.

10 - 11 am: Poverty in the Elementary Classroom

Carrie Dale, Eastern Illinois University
Kat Stephens, Eastern Illinois University

One of the texts used for the course Learning in Diverse Contexts is Disrupting Poverty by Budge and Parrett. It explores ways elementary teachers can offset the poverty seen in their students’ lives. This session will discuss this text and its powerful impact on one undergraduate student in particular.

10 - 11 am: Sit, Stay, Support! Exploring Canine-Assisted Activities with Individuals with Disabilities

Christina Edmonds-Behrend, Eastern Illinois University

Anne O. Papalia, Shippensburg University

Research describing animal-assisted activities (AAA) and their impact on young children have been documented, albeit sparingly, in the research base. This emerging base includes AAA efforts with “reluctant readers” (e.g., Lane & Zavada, 2013) and developing readers (e.g., Linder, Mueller, Gibbs, Alper, & Freeman, 2018). Scorzato et al. (2017) reported evidence from their pilot study on the behavior, communication, and social skills with adults with severe to profound intellectual disabilities.
Fung (2017) noted that most animal-assisted related research to date has been focused on more therapeutic purposes, being delivered by health-care professionals. However, there has been more literature prevalent in the past few decades describing canine-assisted reading programs in public libraries; yet, there are few controlled studies which show clear measures of outcomes. Additionally, efforts have generally taken root in more urban areas (i.e., see Fung continued, making a case for canine-assisted activities (CAA) which focused on reading with participants being students with disabilities. She noted that canines could be used as a non-judgmental audience, as a speech elicitor, as a comfort companion, and as a younger sibling, allowing the child with a disability to become a caretaker to build self-esteem.
The purpose of this presentation is to provide a description of law, the hierarchy of CAA, and research regarding animal-assistance strategies and programs.
Target Audience: Educators

10 - 11 am: Transition from High School to College/University for Individuals with Disabilities

Jennifer Stringfellow, Eastern Illinois University
April Jackson, Eastern Illinois University
Jennifer Buchter, Eastern Illinois University

Transition from high school to life beyond high school can be scary and challenging for anyone, including students with disabilities and their families. This presentation seeks to explain some of the changes in law and access and potential means of support from faculty and staff at colleges/universities for this transition.
Target Audience: Teachers, Parents, Faculty, Staff, Students

11 am - Noon: Celebrating Creativity in Elementary Classrooms

Amy Davis, Eastern Illinois University

When we think of diversity, we often refer to race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status which define a person as an individual. However, how can appreciate each person’s creativity and cognition? This presentation highlight how teachers can appreciate the diverse creativity in their elementary classrooms.
Target Audience: Preservice and Practicing Teachers, Grades K-5th

11 am - Noon: Increasing Access to Inclusion for Students with Disabilities

Cori More, Eastern Illinois University
Jennifer Buchter, Eastern Illinois University
Jennifer Stringfellow, Eastern Illinois University

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education and access to the general education curriculum, yet students with disabilities are often segregated in self-contained classrooms and schools. This presentation will advocate for inclusive rather than exclusive special education services.
Target Audience: Pre-K through 12 Teachers

11 am - Noon: No Dogs Allowed: Service Dog Advocacy Skills

Anne O. Papalia, Shippensburg University
Christina Edmonds-Behren, Eastern Illinois University

The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of advocacy skills for individuals with disabilities using service dogs to assist them in confronting barriers they are likely to encounter when working in public, and to help educate the general population regarding misconceptions about service dog use.

11 am - Noon: The Impact of On-Campus Resources on Trans* Student Success

Cloe Bourdages, Eastern Illinois University
Heather Webb, Eastern Illinois University

We will cover the impact that on campus resources have on trans* success. Marginalization, discrimination, and oppression impacts their collegiate experience. Through individual interviews, trans* identifying students discussed both positive and negative experiences with campus resources. This presentation will discuss ways we can further create more inclusive environments for trans* students.

Noon - 1 pm: Community Collaboration for Increasing Inclusion

Jennifer Buchter, Eastern Illinois University
Cori More, Eastern Illinois University
Jennifer Stringfellow, Eastern Illinois University

This presentation will examine an “enviable life” for individuals with disabilities and their families. Individuals, families, schools, and communities must work together to support individuals with disabilities and their families to plan and implement their vision of an enviable life. This process begins early childhood and continues across the life span.
Target Audience: Educators and Families

Noon - 1 pm: Ident-i-me; Divers-u-see: Respecting race and culture through personal affirmation within group affiliation

Carole Collins Ayanlaja, Eastern Illinois University

Identity and Diversity are intertwined in unique ways. Their points of intersection are nuanced and unpredictable. Race, a significant label that embodies a set experiences, greatly influences how and in what ways we see ourselves, how others see us, and how we see others. It is a major factor of both our identity and diversity.

Pulling in the work of Cross, 1995, the presenter amplifies Black racial identity theory to illuminate the stages of “becoming “black. This is a launch pad for an interactive discussion of the assumptions that are attached to people of color and how people of color walk a fine line between individual expression of cultural identity, expectations of group affiliation, and social promotion and acceptance.

Noon - 1 pm: Life off of the Syllabus: Empathy and Understanding between Faculty and Students

Michael Gillespie, Eastern Illinois University

Research has consistently shown that informal interactions between students and faculty boost academic and personal outcomes for students. Moreover, these relationships can have a reciprocal effect on faculty members in the form of greater verstehen - or understanding - of the lives of students. Based on a review of this literature and personal observations and experience coordinating a program for informal student/faculty interactions, I argue that now, more than ever, we need to develop our empathy for our students. Through the Black Lives Movement, a global pandemic, threats to Dreamers, and intimidation of the Gender and Sexually Diverse Community, life off of the syllabus may be our best approach to empowering student success.
Target Audience: Faculty and Students

Noon - 1 pm: Quarantine and Isolation Experiences in College Students

Brooke Gibson, Eastern Illinois University

The Coronavirus global pandemic significantly impacted individuals around the world as far as finances, mental health, and overall sense of safety, specifically in college students. The purpose of this study is to examine quarantine and isolation experiences in college students due to the COVID-10 pandemic.
Target Audience: Undergraduate, Graduate, Faculty, and Staff

Noon - 1 pm: Queering Faith: The Bible

Betzy Warren (She/Her/Hers), EIU Wesley Foundation
Jade Mellon (She/Her/Hers), Eastern Illinois University

Queering Faith: The Bible is a training that takes an in-depth look at common verses in the Bible that are typically used to combat homosexuality. The historical context the verses were written in will be evaluated, and the translation of the verse will also be analyzed. This training addresses the complicated relationship between religion and sexual minoritized individuals.
Target Audience: Open to any student, staff, or faculty member who is interested in becoming an ally for the LGBTQA+ community and learning more about gender and sexuality-related issues

1 - 2 pm: A Collaborative Approach to Anti-Oppression Work at a Predominately White Institution

Madeline FarrellUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Akua Forkuo-Sekyere, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois has taken an inclusive approach to address sexual violence and related oppressions through the creation and implementation of an embedded Confidential Advisor (survivor advocate) model. This embedded model utilizes collaborative and student-centered approaches to confront barriers that marginalized students and communities face when seeking support.
Target Audience: Student Affairs Professionals and Students

1 - 2 pm: Beyond Bystander

Nora Kollar (She/Her/Hers), Eastern Illinois University

The Beyond Bystander training complements the Safe Zone Core training taking a more thorough look at how to effectively advocate for members of the GSD community. This training will provide an interactive platform to assist in being a better advocate and ally for the Gender and Sexual Diversity community.
Target Audience: Open to any student, staff, or faculty member who is interested in becoming an ally for the LGBTQA+ community and learning more about gender and sexuality-related issues.

1 - 2 pm: Instructor Unconditional Positive Regard as Inclusive Practice in a Pandemic World

Catherine Polydore, Eastern Illinois University

The current generation of college students are experiencing the traumas of living in a global pandemic. Many are suffering from isolation and loneliness, crushed dreams about college, and a sense of being cheated. This workshop presents the concept of unconditional positive regard as a tool for inclusive practice in the college classroom.
Target Audience: Faculty and Graduate Student Instructors

1 - 2 pm: Professionals of Color in Predominantly White Institution

Brandy Matthews, Eastern Illinois University

A discussion on the lack of representation of professional of color in higher education and how it affects the faculty and staff.

1 - 2 pm: Trans 101

Jackie Hirn (She/They), Eastern Illinois University

Trans 101 is an interactive and exploratory presentation which reviews basic terminology, statistics, and best practices regarding the transgender umbrella. This presentation is truly a 101 and audiences can expect to leave with the proper building blocks in being a proactive ally.
Target Audience: Open to any student, staff, or faculty member who is interested in becoming an ally for the LGBTQA+ community and learning more about gender and sexuality-related issues.

2 - 4 pm: Fraternity/Sorority Diversity Training: Deliberative Dialogue - “Get in Where You Fit In"

John Davenport, Illinois State University
Gina Lee-Olukoya, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Alejandro J. Suñé, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Akilah Jones, Eastern Illinois University

Attendees will participate in a deliberative dialogue centered around the topic of diversity and inclusion in our sororities and fraternities. We’ll look at multiple options for addressing this issue and allow time for each option. The tradeoffs or drawbacks for each option will be discussed by each group. The goal of a deliberative dialogue is to help participants consider issues from multiple perspectives and to engage in conversation with others who may hold differing opinions.

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Contact Information

Mona Y. Davenport, Ph.D.
Executive Director

1122 - Blair Hall

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