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Today: panel to discuss diversity in higher education
Friday, April 11, 2014

“Who I Was to Who I Am,” a panel discussion to support the 2013-2014 Convocation theme, “Raising Cultural Awareness and Building Global Relations,” will take place on Friday, April 11, from noon to 2 p.m. in Williams Center Room 204E.

The free event is intended for international faculty and students to come together and share their stories with the campus and community. International and non-international faculty will discuss the process of learning “who I am,” so that the campus and community can better understand “who we are.”

Panelists will include Drs. Daniela Peterka-Benton, Criminal Justice program director; Jack Croxton, director of the Office of Student Creative Activity and Research; Robert Dahlgren, assistant professor and coordinator of the Curriculum and Instruction master’s degree program; Chiara De Santi, visiting lecturer of Italian in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; Ted Schwalbe, International Learning coordinator; and Lan Wang, visiting assistant professor for the Department of English. Refreshments will be served.

The program will begin with personal accounts of challenges and issues faced by the panelists as international students and scholars. Panelists will then discuss what helped them acculturate to a new culture and lifestyle. The panel finale will address why diversity matters in today’s higher education arena and explore a theoretical framework for working with a diverse population.

The discussion is part of a four-part event, “I Am Because We Are.” It gets its meaning from African wisdom and the message of West African storytellers, emphasizing that people co-exist and are interdependent on each other in a global community with multiple voices. The event focuses on the concept that people can only thrive when they share the responsibility for the community with others.

Part one and two of the series took place during the Fall 2013 semester. Part one included a panel of graduate international students from Saudi Arabia who shared their stories of being Muslims in America today. Part two was a panel of former undergraduate students of the Cross-Cultural Living Learning Community (CCLLC). The panelists, made up of both Korean American students, talked about what role the CCLLC has played in learning about other cultures and crossing the cultural boundaries. Part four will be announced later in the semester.

For more information contact Guang Yu Tan, assistant professor and Childhood Program coordinator for Curriculum and Instruction, at tan@fredonia.edu.

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