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College of Education > Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee > Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee 2017-2018 End of the Year Report

Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee 2017-2018 End of the Year Report

Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee

2017-2018 End of the Year Report

Summary of Accomplishments, On-Going Work and Recommendations


In the College of Education, the Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee (DCEC) works to provide learning and community building activities to ensure that all members of the college may be personally and professionally successful. DCEC was created to address specific issues that relate to equity and diversity and its goals are aligned to those identified in the college's strategic plan. Committee members, who are faculty, staff and students, volunteer to participate as part of their expected service to the college.

During this past year, DCEC members enthusiastically implemented activities to further enhance a learning/work environment in which inclusion, equity and difference are recognized, respected and openly discussed.  The membership is to be commended for their commitment and for the time volunteered to implement a range of activities to further the diversity-related goals of the educational and administrative work of the College.

The Committee met monthly to share ideas and prioritize tasks while the organizational work was often carried out by subcommittees which met to plan events and develop initiatives suggested during the larger meetings.  The subcommittees and leadership during 2017-2018 were as follows:  Staff Subcommittee (Samantha Walker, leader) the Undergraduate Subcommittee (Ashley Patterson & Efrain Marimon, co-leaders), and the Faculty and GA Subcommittee (JT Taylor, leader).  Additionally, ad hoc groups of DCEC member united to organize social “meet and greet” gatherings, one during the Fall and one during the Spring semester, the latter co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Programs.  The gatherings were well-attended and allowed faculty, staff and graduate students from different programs and physical spaces of the College to meet and converse.

Elizabeth Smolcic acted as DCEC Chair and Isaac Bretz continued as Graduate Student assistant to the DCEC.  Participation at monthly meetings was consistent throughout the year, typically drawing 12-15 members.  DCEC’s annual activities arise out of the creativity, ideas and observed needs of the college and are proposed at the monthly meetings and then voted on in a democratic fashion.  The following is a chronological listing of events and activities implemented during 2017-2018.  It is followed by a narrative report from each Subcommittee who were the people directly engaged in planning and implementation and includes ideas for ongoing work towards the future. 

Members (2017-2018):  Susan Bass, Isaac Bretz, Jessica Buterbaugh, Betsy Campbell, Seria Chatters, Alicia Dowd, Kasey Hearn, John Holst, Staci Lynch, Amity Maines, Efrain Marimon, Brenda Martinez, Linda Oishi, Ashley Patterson, Bonnie Richardson, Kaleena Selfridge, Elizabeth Smolcic, Jonte "JT" Taylor, Jeanine Staples, Maria Alicia Vetter, Samantha Walker, Wanda Wasilko, Kate Woodman, and Carlos Zalaquett.


Bullying Among Diverse Populations: A Justice Education Workshop

Friday, September 22, 2017, Time: 9am - 4pm | Nittany Lion Inn

In this full-day workshop, which was targeted to undergraduate students, participants learned about the prevalence and impact of bias-based bullying, and methods to address these negative behaviors as an active bystander, colleague, friend or an educator.  Dr. Seria Chatters facilitated this workshop along with Dr. Carlos Zalaquett and graduate students from the College of Education.  The workshop was well-attended (although not heavily by undergraduate students) and feedback from participants was positive. The following feedback was noted: 1) a caring and understanding environment was created; 2) More opportunities for discussion among participants requested; and, 3) a request for a workshop designed specifically for staff.  The DCEC discussed ways to increase undergraduate attendance at future workshops. Suggestions included involving student groups in the planning and promotion of the workshop, faculty noting the workshop in their courses as part of the assignments required, scheduling on a Saturday to avoid class conflicts, as well as frequent email reminders the weeks before the workshop.

Stand for State: Bystander Intervention Training on Sexual and Relationship Violence Friday, November 10, 2017, 9:00am - Noon | Location: 221 Krause Innovation Studio

Stand for State is Penn State's university-wide bystander intervention initiative. The goal of the program is to promote the norm that we all play a role in watching out for each other and everyone deserves to be safe. The half-day workshop was organized for College of Education students focusing on sexual and relationship violence.

LosTikis Perform 100 Years of Violeta Parra: Live Music and Presentation on Violeta Parra (open to the university community) Friday, December 1, 2017, 5:00pm – 6:00pm | Location: Kern Building 112

The year 2017 marked the centennial of Chilean folk artist Violeta Parra. Parra is known throughout Latin America as a key founding figure in the New Song Movement.  Penn State’s Latin American Folk Music Group Los Tikis, celebrated Parra’s life and music with a live performance of her songs. Dr. María Alicia Vetter introduced the songs and discussed their historical, social and political significance.  This event was co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Programs, and the department of Learning & Performance Systems.

Bullying Among Diverse Populations: A Justice Education Workshop

Saturday, January 27, 2018, Time: 9am - 4pm | Nittany Lion Inn

In this workshop, a repeat of the one offered in September, participants learned about the prevalence and impact of bias-based bullying and how to identify and recognize their own biases.  Additionally, participants learned about methods to address bias bullying as an active bystander, colleague or educator.  The workshop attracted 55 participants, primarily graduate students and staff of the College of Education.

Stand for State: Bystander Intervention Training on Bias and Discrimination

Friday, February 2, 2018, 9:00am - Noon |

This Stand for State workshop was directed to faculty and staff and focused on recognizing and responding to bias and discrimination in everyday and classroom interactions

2018 Diversity in Education Conference: Teaching & Learning Through Diversity

Saturday, February 10, 2018, 8:30am - 1:00pm | Chambers Building - Rooms 101, 104, & 106

This conference is organized by the Penn State Student Council for Exceptional Children in conjunction with the DCEC faculty subcommittee and provides a forum for discussion and learning about working with diverse populations of students, teachers, counselors, and

administrators. This was the second year that the conference was offered and attracted a large number of undergraduate and graduate students for discussion and practical sessions on LGBTQA communities, English language learners, culturally responsive teaching, socioeconomic differences in education among other themes.

Raising Readers Multicultural/Multilingual Book Drive (Month of March)

A book drive was organized by the staff subcommittee to donate books that emphasized diversity and inclusion to families who need them in Centre County.  A total of 361 books were donated.

Stand for State: Bystander Intervention Training on Bias and Discrimination
Friday, March 30, 2018   9:00am - Noon  | Location: 221 Chambers, Krause Learning Space

Participants worked together to define bias, prejudice, and discrimination, and had opportunities to practice intervening in a variety of scenarios. Dr. Seria Chatters from Counseling Education and Betsy VanNoy from Stand for State facilitated the workshop. It was attended by 21 faculty, staff and graduate student members of the college.

Building Intercultural Community in the Classroom and Beyond

Monday, April 23, 2018  1:00pm – 4:00pm | Location:  221 Chambers Building, Krause Learning Space

In recent years, Penn State has made great strides in achieving and internationally diverse community of students, scholars and faculty.  What challenges and opportunities does this increasing diversity offer? The workshop invited participants to explore strategies for encouraging intercultural connections in teaching and advising, and to learn about campus resources for international and multilingual students. This event was co-sponsored by EPPIC and Paterno/Pattee Libraries.

Safe Zone 101:  Learning about LGBTQ issues

Monday, April 30, 2018 10:00am -12:00pm   | Location:  106 Chambers Building

Participants became more aware of LGBTQ issues, ways to support LGBTQ students and help them to find campus or local resources when needed.  This was a repeat of a workshop offered to college of Education in 2017 with the hope to reach a broader audience.  The workshop was attended by 28 members of the college. Offered by the LGBTQA Student Resource Center. 

Annual College of Education Staff Retreat

Friday, May 18, 2018, Time: 8:30am - 4:30pm | Location: BJC Founders Lounge

The focus of the 2018 retreat was:  1) continued community building—a strong community allows for a respect of diversity; 2) providing a positive approach/new perspective on diversity—focus on highlighting strengths, not conflict; 3) providing an opportunity to learn new skills to create a more welcoming and inclusive work environment; 4) feeling free to participate at the retreat and with others in the college. When planning the 2018 Retreat, the Staff Subcommittee identified the need for a new facilitator—Shaver’s Creek was interviewed and proposed an itinerary that we felt met all the focus points identified above. 

Social Justice in Education minor (in progress) The College of Education’s Social Justice in Education minor will support the development of critical competencies, values, and ethics in relation to educational diversity (in its many forms), equity, and social justice. The minor employs interdisciplinary, experiential coursework to create a space for students from across the University to construct critical and thoughtful understandings of injustice and to demonstrate—through educationally-based leadership and action—a commitment to educational and social equity. This is accomplished through interdepartmental collaborations and community partnerships. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the minor and new course proposals were developed and submitted to the C & I and College curricular committees for review and approval.

I.  Staff Subcommittee

Leader:  Samantha Walker

Members:  Samantha Walker, Amity Maines, Wanda Wasilko, Linda Oishi, Susan Bass, Bonnie Richardson, Staci Lynch, Kasey Hearn, and Brenda Martinez

II.  Undergraduate Subcommittee

Leaders:  Efrain Marimon, Ashley Patterson

Members:  Ashley Patterson, Efrain Marimon, Dana Stuchul, Elizabeth Smolcic, Maryellen Shwaub, Ravinder Koul, Shannon Telenko, Maria Schmidt, Jeanine Staples, Liliana Garces, Gabriela Richard, Gail Boldt, Allison Henward, Nkenji Clarke,

III. Faculty & Graduate Assistant Subcommittee

Leader:  JT Taylor

Members: Carlos Zalaquett, J.T. Taylor, Kaleena Selfridge, Seria Chatters, Elizabeth Smolcic

IV.  DCEC Sponsorship Grants

No grants awarded during 2017-2018

Budget Report – DCEC  2017-2018








Budgeted Amount





DCEC Bookmarks





Biased based bullying workshop





Fall - Meet and Greet




Dam Donut

Fall - Meet and greet




Café Lemont

Fall - Meet and greet




Budget Amendment

100 years of Violeta Parra performance/presentation




DCEC Grant

Podcast for DCEC Grant (50% of Project)





Water for Violeta Parra event




Design for Mural

Artwork for DCEC Mural Project




Dunkin Donuts

Staff Recruitment for DCEC





Stand for State Sexual Harassment workshop





Tax reimbursement for Stand for State purchase





Spring Meet & Greet - Ice Cream Social




Meeting Room BJC

Staff Retreat




Au Bon Pain

Stand for State workshop on Bias and Discrimination




Au Bon Pain

Building Intercultural Community workshop - Refreshments




Shaver's Creek

Staff Retreat





Spring - Bullying among Diverse Populations workshop