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February 2020 Minutes

Attendees: Seria Chatters (Chair), Peggy Schooling, Christie McDonald, Holly Klock, Jonte Taylor, Rhea Banerjee, Ashley Patterson, Lisa Hopkins, Christine Andrus, Brenda Martinez, Betsy Campbell, Misty Woods, Kaleena Selfridge


Welcome and Opening Remarks


Old Business: 


  1. Attendees introduced themselves.
  2. Reviewed and approved minutes from December 2019 meeting.
    1. Change was suggested in Agenda item 1, where the line “Equity Team works directly with the dean’s office” was modified to “Equity Team works directly with the dean’s office and the Office of Multicultural Programs as a resource and to do research.”


New Business: New and Continuing Activities 

Note: Names have been removed from minutes on request of the committee members to remain anonymous.

1. Update: LGBTQA student resource center (Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity) training date update

a)     Safer People Safer Places training from the Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity was reported as not occurring on February 7th as planned, due to issues with planning. There were other trainings offered by the center over this Spring semester, however, and details of these trainings would be shared. It was reported that a foundational training from the center would now probably be organized in the Fall semester.

2. Committee updates: Equity team

a)     No major updates but the team was continuing to work on several projects and would be better able to provide an update at the next meeting.    

3. Committee updates: Staff subcommittee 

a) The subcommittee reported that it was just two of them in the committee now due to a member leaving the UP campus recently. The staff retreat is not happening this semester. The committee may plan to have the retreat in the Fall semester instead.

4. Progress report: Diversity in Education conference 

a)  The conference organizer had to leave the meeting early and stated that they would share a full report on the conference in the next meeting.

5. Discussion: Funding request for guest scholar and event in College in Education

a)     Jeanine Staples had reached out to the committee with a funding request for the honorarium provided to a guest scholar – Liz Jackson from University of Hong Kong – that the Asian Studies Department is interested in bringing in to campus to give a talk. Jeanine reached out on behalf of the CI department who is contributing to this by co-hosting the visit and coordinating a fireside chat for College of Education students and faculty. The financial support required from DCEC would be a contribution of $350 to boost the amount of the honorarium slightly. 

b)    The committee members wanted to learn more about the scholar before endorsing the scholar, and it was suggested that the scholar’s information be emailed to the listserv with more information about Liz Jackson’s research.

6. Discussion: Difficult Dialogue event planning

a)     A member reported that they had reached out to both World in Conversation and Shaver’s Creek to ask about co-facilitating the event. They heard back from the program director of Shaver’s Creek – William Wise – who said he needed more information on the event. The member reported having spoken to him over the phone and having experienced microaggressions during the conversation, which had the member concerned about involving someone who was unaware of microaggressions to facilitate an event on difficult dialogue. The committee decided not to have outside organizations involved in this event. It was suggested that we use faculty and students from the Counselor Education department instead.

b)    The committee decided that the Difficult Dialogue event can occur after Spring Break in March. The question was asked of space for the event and the committee discussed several options, including the Nittany Lion Inn, Chambers 221, or a space at State High that could be organized if the other spaces were not available.

c)     A member spoke of doing work on diversity and entrepreneurship education and how they have worked with Art students who are shocked that you can have conversations about diversity that are not just about serving people who need help, but also about including entrepreneurs of multiple backgrounds in the education. The member discussed that more work needs to happen in the entrepreneurship education curriculum, which currently mostly involves case studies of White people. This goes along with bringing those curriculum changes that will involve not only support and resources for faculty but also trainings on diversity and equity. 

d)    A member highlighted that there is urgent need for mental health support training for teachers of preschoolers, which could be helpful in cases where children have to wait for months to receive mental health support.

A member spoke of the Pennsylvania Area Mental Health Initiative, whose focus is support in mental health and education for early childhood educators – preschool to first grade. This could possibly be an educational opportunity for students in early childhood education, where they could be trained in mental health support as well, and therefore provide education to school administration and teachers who believe that behaviors and mental health are separate and therefore discipline behaviors but treat mental health.

7. Ideas for Discussion: Hosting Iftar feast at the end of April

a)     It was reported that even though we have the funds available, the student group who was interested has not gotten back in contact and so we were not sure where to take it from there. A member discussed that Ramadan ends at the end of May this year, which could be a reason why the group has not gotten back in touch, since the semester would be over by then.

[The meeting ended at 3:30pm]


Next meeting: March 4th, 2:00-4:00pm, Chambers 121