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College of Education > Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee > Diversity & Community Enhancement Committee November 2018 Meeting Minutes

Diversity & Community Enhancement Committee November 2018 Meeting Minutes

Diversity & Community Enhancement Committee (DCEC) Meeting Minutes

November 8th, 2018


Chair: SeriaShia Chatters

2:00 – 3:30pm

Attendees: Seria Chatters, Samantha Walker, Kate Woodman, ChanMin Kim, John Holst, Maria Vetter, Holly Klock, Erin Morgart, Jessica Buterbaugh, Bonnie Richardson, Elizabeth Smolcic, Kim Powell, Peter Piazza, Betsy Campbell, Linda Oishi-Grant, Anna Kaiper, Carlos Zalaquett, Brenda Martinez.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Old Business:

  1. Welcome to new (and continuing) members.
  2. Reviewed and approved the October 2018 meeting minutes
  3. Subcommittee updates:
    1. Equity Team: Meeting on Monday and trying to determine how the group is to move forward. Trying to determine how to make the team a broader initiative. Looking to determine what is feasible and sustainable over time.
    2. Staff Subcommittee: Staff Subcommittee will meet on Nov. 14th. Will start talking about the Staff Retreat.
    3. Faculty Subcommittee: Bullying Among Diverse Populations scheduled for 3/15 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

New Business:

1)     General:

  1. The committee members had a discussion about how to help professors and students/interns learn how to have difficult conversations with students or children. Holly reported that senior students will teach full-time in the school district in the Spring and student teachers were wondering how they can address tragedy in the classrooms. The committee members also had a larger discussion regarding to tragedies that happen in our own community, how educators can talk about these topics to kids in school, and how professors can talk to students in the university.
    1. Bonnie discussed about what happens when tragedies happen locally or in communities. Maria asked how we could talk about these types of tragedies without the politics. Maria indicated she had not heard about the two African Americans that had been killed over the weekend. She had only heard about it on Monday. Holly pointed out a discussion between teacher and intern to where not responding can be seen as a political stance. A PDS intern was directly impacted by the Pittsburgh shooting in the synagogue and had an emotional response; however, the professor was not sure how to handle it.
    2. Jessica indicated that faculty, staff, and advisors need training regarding to how to facilitate difficult conversation. Jessica also suggested that DCEC can offer it as a professional development opportunity for the greater community at large.
    3. Elizabeth works with a lot of undergraduates who are preparing to be teachers who feel as if they are not able to talk about political topics in class. Elizabeth highlighted that every week we are dealing with tragedies and undergraduates, faculty, educators, are all dealing with it.
    4. Jessica suggested that this might be something that could be done collaboratively with CASS or COMM – Peace in Communication, using their expertise about how to communicate. Lydia suggested Jonathon Bracka who is in History and World in Conversation who is leading groups that combine liberal and conservative people to have conversation.
    5. Elizabeth suggested that we can hold a panel at Foster Auditorium. Chin Min discussed the importance of individuals understanding their own bias and how to apply it to everyday life and politics discussion. Samantha suggested that whatever event DCEC comes up with, the event should be open to everyone and to allow everyone to have discussions. Carlos indicated that one of our roles as DCEC is to bring these issues into the curriculum and these issues should be discussed from all areas and groups in the college. Carlos indicated that having difficult conversations or political conversation is also a part of diversity.
    6. Elizabeth indicated that if someone is able to lead an effort to work on an event in January. Maria suggested that potentially joining with a group that is discussing or talking about large number of refugees seeking asylum. Maybe partnering with another group may be a good idea. Carlos also suggested teaming up with contributors and discussing a key issue and talk to colleagues about how would they infuse an activity on a key issue into their courses. Look at how each course would apply current events. Maria suggested organizing a symposium on facilitating difficult topics and having a brown bag on immigration. Elizabeth suggested potentially offering a brown bag from Counselor Ed. Carlos will talk to Counselor Ed faculty and will offer conversation about the Trump effect in the classroom. Holly would like to discuss this on a smaller scale between Counselor Ed and PDS.
    7. Seria will talk to JT about offering a panel of instructors who discuss current events and/or tragedies in the courses. Carlos will lead a symposium on Best Ways to Discuss Tragedies. Seria also suggested connecting/partnering with the Center for Immigration Rights. Carlos suggested bringing Latino Studies and working with them and the CIR.
    8. Samantha indicated that Patty can share information and upcoming events from the Immigration Law Clinic. Bonnie asked if it would be helpful to develop a list of things that you can do to help immigrants Committee members indicated their willingness to be involved in the difficult dialogue committee. The difficult dialogue committee will schedule a time to meet to talk about the potential event in January. Patty will be available to help solidify a venue for the event in January. 
  2. Lydia Vandenberg presented the ‘health and wellness’ part of The Pennsylvania State University’s Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2020. The Strategic Plan is a comprehensive plan that the university identifies direction at a macro level and sets a strong foundation for where the university is heading. One of the five thematic priorities is “enhancing health,” where Penn State will promote quality of life through comprehensive approaches to enhancing personalized and population health, achieved through a commitment to and investment in relevant research, education, clinical practice, and outreach. More information about The Pennsylvania State University’s Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2020 can be reached through the website (
  3. Kaleena presented the idea of having the LGBTQA Safer People Safer Places training for next semester (might be in February). Kaleena will give us back a specific date of the training.

The Meeting adjourned at 3:30 pm.

Next meeting: December 6th, 2018 Thursday, 2:00-3:30 pm, Cedar 124