A summit sponsored by the Tennessee State University Office of Diversity and International Affairs provided diversity professionals, key institutional partners and students the opportunity to hear from national leaders who have made significant inroads in the area of diversity and inclusion in the HBCU college and university environment. The ‘Diversity and Inclusion Summit on HBCUs’ ran March 23-25.
“Attendees had the opportunity to share ideas and advance what diversity looks like across HBCUs around the nation,” said Dr. Jewell Winn, ‘chief diversity officer’ at TSU. “We shared information on not only diversity, but also inclusion and campus retention. As HBCUs move forward we need to address the relevancy of the institutions and figure out how to hold on to the history, but also on how to diversify institutions to better meet the needs of all students.”
The three-day conference took place at the TSU Avon Williams campus auditorium. Presidents from three major Historically Black College and Universities joined TSU President Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover for a Presidents’ Panel. University presidents Dr. Carlton E. Brown from Clark Atlanta; Dr. William Bynum Jr., from Mississippi Valley State; Dr. Robert Jennings of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania; and Dr. Glover led a panel discussion of the relevancy of HBCUs in today’s rapid pace of change in higher education.
A lunch screening was held Monday for the award-winning documentary film The New Black telling the story of how the African American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. Freedom Rider Dr. Ernest ‘Rip’ Patton, Jr. was the invited guest speaker for the Monday night banquet.
Breakout sessions and presentations included the following topics: Recruitment and Retention; Classroom Strategies for Promoting Diversity and Inclusion; Campus Programming for Various Populations; Effective Leadership Models and Approaches for Diversity at HBCUs; Social Justice Service-Learning Appr-oaches; Building Internal and External Partnerships to Support Diversity and Inclusion; Diversity and Inclusion in Policy Development; Utilizing and Leveraging Research and Data for Diversity and Inclusion; and A Student’s Perspective of Diversity at HBCUs.
According to Dr. Winn, the student perspective on diversity and inclusion at HBCUs was a “major component” of this years’ summit. Students from Vanderbilt, Fisk and Tennessee State Universities prepared responses to the presentation and delivered them during Tuesday’s session.
“We need to be mindful of the student’s perspective as HBCUs move into the future,” said Winn.
“The students need to be a part of the inclusion conversation to see what they think HBCUs need to be in the future and how they transition to an all-inclusive environment.”
For more information, contact the Office of Diversity and International Affairs at TSU at 615-963-5640 or e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>.