National Conference on Diversity, Race & Learning
The 23nd Annual National Conference on Diversity, Race & Learning was held on May 1-2, 2017, and the strong message that the nearly 650 participants at the conference took with them was that inclusion is what makes diversity valuable; that diversity is a given, but inclusion is a choice. Attendants came from as far away as Texas, Florida, and the United Kingdom.
The two-part conference included a “Pre-Conference” day that focused on training and best practices such as enhancing respect and empathy in work spaces, race and politics beyond borders, and multicultural sensitivity in education, which were some of the ten diversity training sessions held that day.
The Conference Charge was given by Robert L. Solomon, Esq., Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, who stated that participants should focus on where you can have an impact. The audience then had the opportunity to attend their choice of 19 breakout sessions with themes such as American Indians in Ohio, the press in making of a president, what makes a healthy life, and the respect effect.
The keynoted address was given by Dr. Chris Howard, the president of Robert Morris University. Before his keynote address began, Dr. Howard was given the 2017 William H. Watson Memorial Award by Dr. Linda M. Lobao, Professor of Rural Sociology in the School of Environment and Natural Sciences. Established in 1977, this award honors Professor Watson, the Associate Dean of University College and Professor of Agricultural Education, who died in 1971. Dr. Howard then spoke to the conference’s theme: “Transcendence: Overcoming Our Past and Embracing Our Diverse Futures.” Dr. Howard listed eight characteristics of leaders: self-aware, contextually aware, students of leadership, effective communicators, empathetic, accountable, courageous, and have character.
After the keynote, the Grand Dialogue continued with Dr. Howard and the audience. Moderated by Dr. Mary C. Juhas, Associate Vice President in the Office of Research and a clinical professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Dr. Howard and the audience expanded on the thoughts and ideas introduced in the keynote.
This year’s conference was made possible with the support of its signature sponsors: Honda, Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter, The Ohio State University College of Engineering, Panera Bread, and ADAMH.
The 24rd National Conference on Diversity, Race & Learning will take place on May 7-8, 2018.