Diversity Conference

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Diversity Conference

Embracing Differences: Communication, Culture and Social Justice conference logo

Thank you to all who made this conference possible!

 

Friday, April 16, 2021, 8:30 am – 4 pm (central time)

This virtual conference featured breakout sessions from speakers from around the world, including Midland College faculty and students. It also featured a social justice speech competition featuring the top speech students at Midland College.

This day was filled with engaging speakers, thoughtful and meaningful discussions, and guided self-reflection as we uncovered and examined diversity, equity, and social justice issues and topics. This Virtual Diversity Conference was hosted by Midland College, Department of Languages, Speech, and Communication, as well as the Midland College Teaching & Learning Center.

Conference Flyer

Conference Program

The program included workshop and presentation sessions, panel and roundtable sessions, a speech competition, and two featured speakers.

conference Program At-A-Glance (all times in CsT)

8:30 - 9:10am Opening Session & Keynote
  BREAK
9:20 - 10am Panels & Roundtables: Concurrent Session 1
  BREAK
10:10 - 11:10am Workshops & Presentations: Concurrent Session 2
  BREAK
11:20am - 12pm Social Justice Speech Competition
12 - 12:45pm Lunch Break
12:45 - 2pm Spotlight Speaker
  BREAK
2:10 - 2:50pm Panels & Roundtables: Concurrent Session 3
  BREAK
3-4pm Workshops & Presentations: Concurrent Session 4

 

Detailed Conference Program (all times in CsT)

Session recordings can be found below. Please note: not all of the sessions were recorded due to presenter preference.

A Sense of Belonging: Welcoming All Students to Our Community College Campuses

Keynote Speaker: Michelle Cantu-Wilson 

As we engage more with the issues surrounding equity, communication, culture, and social justice, it is important to remain grounded not only as education practitioners but also as people with lived experiences. And our lived experiences tell us that belonging matters. The climate and culture of a campus speak to students, and the seemingly small interactions they have with us and other stakeholders all set the tone for the total student experience. It is imperative that we not only discuss the issue of belonging but that we also explore its impact on student success by evaluating how leaders, faculty, and staff effectively shape the student journey at our institutions and what it means when they don’t.

Watch this session:

Keynote Recording

Social Justice Panel 

Yolanda West, Clark Atlanta University
Education as a Social Justice Tool: Communication Activism Pedagogy (CAP) at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Steven Gaines, Midland College
Push and Pull: Organizational Leadership and Social Justice

Watch this session:

Session Recording

   

Higher Education Panel 

Nick J. Sciullo, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Classism and the Unspoken Capitalist Imperative of Higher Education

Alisa Garza, Our Lady of the Lake University
Sharing is Caring: Political Effects of Brain Drain in Health Professions

Watch this session:

Session Recording

   

Celebrating Mexican Culture in Midland Panel 

William Christopher Brown, Midland College

Aileen Muñoz, Midland College Student
How My Mom Brought Me Closer to My Culture Through Dance

Evelyn Martinez, Midland College Student
My Grandfather’s Encouragement Makes Me Feel Closer to My Heritage

Watch this session:

Session Recording

 

   

Quelling the Tide of the COVID-19 Impact on Student Mental Health: How Professors Can Create a Safe-Haven Through Writing Across Disciplines Roundtable

Melissa Boyce, Midland College
Stacy Egan, Midland College
Mary Williams, Midland College  

Watch this session:

Session Recording

 

   

"Is it My Job to Make Karen Comfortable?" Roundtable 

Felicia R. Stewart, Morehouse College 
Keesha Burke Henderson, Randolph College.
Heather E. Harris, Stevenson University
Yohance F. Murray, Morehouse College 

This session was not recorded.

Revisiting 'A Conspiracy of Fishes': Parallels between Gamergate and the 2021 U.S. Insurrection

Andrew S. Latham, Midland College 

This session was not recorded.

   

Understanding Implicit Biases

Debbie McNeely, Midland College 
System 1 vs. System 2 Thinking 

Jay Schwarz, Midland College
Understanding How Implicit Biases Form

Sondra Richards, Midland College 
The Impact of Implicit Biases on Public Policy 

Watch this session:

Session Recording

   

I Am Home: A Culturally Responsive Approach for Instructors Workshop 

Jeremiah E. Shipp, Winston-Salem State University  

Watch this session:

Session Recording

Public speaking students at Midland College will present their speeches on social justice topics for an opportunity to be awarded first, second, or third prize. The results of the speech competition will be announced at the beginning of the Spotlight Speaker session at 12:45pm.

Congratulations to our three winners!

  • 1st Place
    Robert Phillips
    “The Nuances of Privilege”
  • 2nd Place
    Morgan Cantu
    “I Am Romani”
  • 3rd Place
    Aramide Oladiran
    “Social Justice Issues”

Watch this session:

Session Recording

Implicit Bias and Legacies of White Supremacy  

Spotlight Speaker: James Chase Sanchez 

In this workshop, Dr. James Chase Sanchez will guide the audience through raw interview footage of people discussing race and racism from his last documentary, Man on Fire, which was about the legacy of white supremacy in Sanchez’s hometown of Grand Saline, TX. Participants will spend time in small groups and a larger group discussing the rhetorical underpinnings of each interview’s ideological perspectives on race. In the end, Sanchez will tie these individual interviews to rhetorical, sociological, and critical race theory perspectives to show how we can reframe implicit bias and white supremacy.

This session was not recorded.

Migrants and Borders Panel 

Ikram Lecheheb, University of Jordan 
Towards A Post Migrant Society: A Reading of Leila Aboulela’s Bird Summons

Umar Nizarudeen, Government College Madapally, University of Calicut
Perpetual Emergency, The Self, Translation and Border Crossing

Watch this session:

Session Recording

   

Pop Culture Panel

Kate Wood, Our Lady of the Lake University  
Narrative Prosthesis in Comic Books

Michael Vozniak, West Virginia University
The Popular Culture Class as a Tool for Decolonization: A Case Study from Appalachia

This session was not recorded.

   

What Do Disabled Academics Want? Language, Culture, and Access Roundtable

Kaitlyn Bone, Texas Woman's University
Paul D.C. Bones, Texas Woman's University
Kyle Callen, University of Oklahoma
Vanessa Ellison, Texas Woman's University
Summer Jackson, Cal State University East Bay
Demetria Ober, Texas Woman's University

This session was not recorded.

   

Religious Diversity in Public Education Roundtable

Steven Gaines, Midland College Faculty     
Brenton Cross, Midland College Faculty 
Laine Miller, Midland College Student 
Fred Newman, Midland College Student 
JoAnna Boudreaux, University of Memphis 
Padmaja Patel, Hindu Association of West Texas 

Watch this session:

Session Recording

 

Ageism in the Time of Instagram Workshop

Michelle Taylor, Temple University

Watch this session:

Session Recording

   

Achieving Social Justice by Recognizing Micro-Aggression Implications, Impact and Solutions 

Ivan Page, Albany State University

This session was not recorded.

   

The Future Has Past: Public Education, AI, and Our Students' Employment Future(s)

Jaime R. Águila, Midland College

This session was not recorded.

Featured Speakers

KeyNote Speaker: Michelle Cantu-Wilson

Keynote Title

A Sense of Belonging: Welcoming All Students to Our Community College Campuses

As we engage more with the issues surrounding equity, communication, culture, and social justice, it is important to remain grounded not only as education practitioners but also as people with lived experiences. And our lived experiences tell us that belonging matters. The climate and culture of a campus speak to students, and the seemingly small interactions they have with us and other stakeholders all set the tone for the total student experience. It is imperative that we not only discuss the issue of belonging but that we also explore its impact on student success by evaluating how leaders, faculty, and staff effectively shape the student journey at our institutions and what it means when they don’t.

EDC Speaker: Michelle Cantu-WilsonSpeaker Bio

Dr. Michelle Cantu-Wilson is the Director of Teaching and Learning Initiatives and Special Projects at San Jacinto College in southeast Houston. She is a member of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) and is the co-host of LatinX Learners along with Daniel Villanueva, Vice President of Enrollment at the University of Houston-Downtown.

Michelle has worked closely with the Diverse Student Populations – Equity, Education, and Excellence Department at the college and has been involved in district-wide equity work that has seen the creation of college-wide Equity Chats for employees. These chats aim to create a safe space where colleagues can discuss equity issues such as racial injustice.

In her former role as a faculty member, she created the San Jac 1st Gen student club and mentoring program aimed at supporting first generation college students through mentoring relationships with faculty and staff who were once first gen students themselves. Michelle has also worked with the college’s Office of Judicial Affairs and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning to create and lead district-wide trainings on supporting students with autism.

Michelle is from Brownsville, Texas and resides in Houston, Texas with her husband, Brock, her three children, Emma, Ava, and Easton, and her dogs Sonny and Bella. She is an avid reader and writer, and her go-to motto is “Nothing bad is going to happen if you care about your students too much.”

Spotlight Speaker: James Chase Sanchez

Session Title

Implicit Bias and Legacies of White Supremacy

In this workshop, Dr. James Chase Sanchez will guide the audience through raw interview footage of people discussing race and racism from his last documentary, Man on Fire, which was about the legacy of white supremacy in Sanchez’s hometown of Grand Saline, TX. Participants will spend time in small groups and a larger group discussing the rhetorical underpinnings of each interview’s ideological perspectives on race. In the end, Sanchez will tie these individual interviews to rhetorical, sociological, and critical race theory perspectives to show how we can reframe implicit bias and white supremacy.

EDC Speaker: Jesse Chase SanchezSpeaker Bio

James Chase Sanchez is assistant professor of writing and rhetoric at Middlebury College in Vermont. He comes there after living in Texas his entire life.

Sanchez’s research interests are in cultural and racial rhetorics, public memory, and documentary filmmaking, and his research has appeared in College Composition and Communication, Pedagogy, Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric, and Present Tense.

He will have two books published this year: a co-authored manuscript titled Race, Rhetoric, and Research Ethics and a single-authored manuscript titled Salt of the Earth: Rhetoric, Preservation, and White Supremacy. The latter monograph is partly based upon a documentary Sanchez produced, titled Man on Fire, which won an International Documentary Association Award in 2017 and aired on PBS via Independent Lens in 2018. Sanchez is currently producing a new feature-length documentary about two elite New England boarding schools that have covered-up sexual assault and rape allegations for several decades.

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