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PSU Holds Diversity Conference where Focus is Differences Matter - KOAM TV 7

PSU Holds Diversity Conference where Focus is Differences Matter

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Pittsburg, KS -

   America is often called a melting pot in reference to its many nationalities.

     But experts at a diversity conference at Pittsburg State University says there are lots of differences that matter.

"Somebody's gotta be looking out for our baby."

A speaker at the Michael Tilford Conference on Diversity and Multiculturalism says that's what parents want to know when sending a child to a school, no matter what race or nationality.  A big message at the diversity conference is that differences matter.

Keynote speaker Dr. Brenda Allen says, " It asks us  to be much more thoughtful and heartfelt in terms of members of  under-represented groups."

Dr. Allen with the University of Colorado, Denver as its chief diversity officers,  says it’s not all about  race, “Most definition s to diversity  includes gender, more and more sexual orientation, socio- economic status, religion, nationality, ability."  

Lynette Olson, PSU provost and vice president of academic affairs says, "We all bring to whatever situation we're in  be it  the classroom or otherwise, our own unique experience, honor that call it out."

The message about understanding differences goes clear into the classroom and even affecting curriculum

Olson says, "Maybe I’m using language or illustrations that aren't appropriate anymore." 

Allen asks, "Who's voices are you presenting and representing?

Are you trying to be aware of their different learning styles for example?"

Or learning disabilities. Participants at the conference learned about   factors of inclusion. Dr. Allen says we all have unconscious biases we cannot escape. And says people need to recognize  what she calls TUI-  Thinking under the influence of those biases.

Dr.Allen says, "To know that doesn’t make me a bad person, it makes me a product of  this environment. And a product that we  in education can shift and  transform and disrupt.  Equip people  differently so they’re able to interact  with a lot of different people in a lot of different contexts."

PSU  provost Olson says the conference brings understanding that  helps in recruitment as well as day to day instruction.

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