The search committee for a chief diversity and inclusion officer was tasked last November with identifying an innovative and inspiring leader who would work collaboratively to create a more welcoming, diverse, accessible and inclusive community. Nearly 200 talented individuals expressed…
Conference to address inclusion and diversity
Conference to address inclusion and diversityMarch 15, 2004Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
How can schools and communities address social justice issues in integrated ways through curriculum, pedagogy, school climate, teacher and staff training, advocacy and policy making? That topic will be addressed in “Common Solutions: Inclusion and Diversity at the Center,” a conference to be held March 19- 20 at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center.
“A lot of the work we’ll be presenting is groundbreaking,” says Douglas Biklen, professor of cultural foundations of education and a conference organizer. “The aim is to connect disabilities with concerns about race, class, gender and sexual orientation,”
The conference will feature two keynote speakers: James Banks, the Russell F. Stark Professor and director of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington, will speak on “Teaching for Identity, Diversity and Global Citizenship,” which will be followed by a book signing; and Norman Kunc, an activist and speaker on the rights of people with disabilities and using diversity to build a sense of belonging, will speak on “The Habits of Inclusion.”
Among the many other presentations will be Douglas Fisher of the University of California-San Diego on “Improving Adolescent Literacy for All;” Beth Ferri of SU on Brown v. Board of Education; artist Larry Bissonnette of Burlington, Vt., on urban schools and disabilities; and Andy Grayson of the Open University in England on communication by people with autism. High school students Jamie Burke of Westhill, Tyler Fihe of California and Allen Wolff of Baldwinsville will make a presentation on high school from the perspective of students with disabilities. The Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee, made up of SU graduate students Katrina Arndt, Christy Ashby and Zach Rossetti and undergraduate Mandi Musolino, will speak on “Resisting Hollywood’s Take on Disability.”
The conference is open to the public and is recommended for teachers, students, school administrators, parents and people with disabilities. To find out more about cost and registration, visit http://soeweb.syr.edu/prodev/conferences.htm.
The event is sponsored by the School of Education, the Facilitated Communication Institute, the Study Council at Syracuse University, the Center on Human Policy, the inclusive education program, the women’s studies program, the social science program, the School of Social Work and the Autism National Committee. Support is also provided by an NLM Family Foundation grant.
The conference will run from 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. both days. On March 19, a reception and dinner, open by reservation only, will be held at 6:15 p.m. Post-conference sessions will be held on March 21 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Banks is past president of the American Educational Research Association and the National Council for the Social Studies. He is a member of the Board of Children, Youth, and Families of the National Research Council fo the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Education. His most recent books are “Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives” 5th edition (2003, Wiley Text Books) and “Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education,” 2nd edition (2004, Jossey-Bass).
Kunc is a well known disability rights advocate and storyteller who continues a long tradition of using humor and narrative to initiate self-reflection and social change. Born with cerebral palsy, Kunc attended a segregated school for children with physical disabilities; then, at the age 13, he was integrated into a regular school. From there, he went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in the humanities and a master’s degree in family therapy. Although his initial advocacy focused on the educational rights of students with disabilities, more recently he has directed his attention to how schools and communities can utilize the diversity of people to build a sense of belonging and avoid a climate of allegiance which results from stratification, competition and group identification.