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December 2015

Diversity & Community Enhancement Committee (DCEC) Meeting Minutes

December 10, 2015

Chambers 221

Chair: Elizabeth Smolcic

2:00 – 3:30


Attendees Present: Amity Maines, Anay Pope, Andrea McCloskey, Ashley Patterson, Ashley Pipe, Carlos Zalaquett, Christine Andrus, Efrain Marimon, Elizabeth Smolcic, Gary Abdullah, Isaac Bretz, Jeanine Staples, Laura Hennessey




Old Business

  • Approval of Nov 18 minutes
    • Carlos motioned to approve
    • Ashley Pipe seconded


Staff Subcommittee

  • Laura announced that the staff would have a follow-up event to the Gettysburg trip scheduled for Dec 11.
    • Event would be attended by Dean Monk
    • Included discussion and pizza
      • Reflecting on Gettysburg
        • Plan to break into small groups
          • Choose one issue to report out
          • Look at the list of the leadership lessons and talk about leadership strategies and how to enact them to address concerns and make changes
          • Talk about emergent leadership
        • Talk about mission and purpose of DCEC
      • Invitation list would come from those attending the Gettysburg trip
      • Amity said budget is $80
        • Carlos motioned to approve budget
        • Andrea seconded
        • It was mentioned that the staff subcommittee is still working to increase membership
          • It was suggested the the subcommittee could sponsor a meet and greet in the afternoon on MLK day
            • Could include a handout or blurb about DCEC
        • Day was chosen because no classes
        • It was also mentioned that the subcommittee was planning a retreat to be held in the spring
        • Carlos suggested that activities with a budget of less than $100 could be sent to the Chair for executive decision without full committee vote.
          • Elizebeth said she was not certain about the rules on this and she would ask Gail Boldt


Faculty and GA Planning Subcommittee

  • Carlos reported on the status of the Bullying Prevention Workshop planning
    • Said that they planned on a full-day on a Saturday
    • Requested a team of 4 volunteers to help Seria facilitate
    • Said that the Faculty and GA subcommittee would like to make the workshop open to the whole campus and able to address the needs of undergraduates as well as staff, faculty, and GA students.
    • Carlos suggested that the workshop might be the first part of an iterative symposium schedule
      • A set of ongoing activities that would become a staple for diversity enhancement
        • Three linked events, the first would be the Bullying Workshop, the next would occur next fall.
        • Each event would have students as key note speakers and student panels
      • Carlos Suggested that the president might attend the last symposium every year
      • Christina suggested that activities may not be necessary for each event, it might be helpful to just create spaces for talking and sharing without the need for solutions.
        • Cautioned that events designed to create a desire for advocacy must also provide sustained opportunities for discussion
          • Jeanine agreed that in creating a program for teaching anti-racist, anti-ageist, and anti-sexist rhetoric, they had a responsibility to give people time to decompress
            • From her experience teaching the Urban Seminar, people often go through developmental stages and may initially be unable to hear the message
          • Anay suggested that a program might also address systemic issues such as neoliberalism and a lack of resources
            • Things that the Urban Seminar never prepared her for included teaching with inadequate materials and interacting with teachers who do not have teaching certification.
      • Elizabeth expressed concerns about the idea of a symposium
        • Would be too big to create the kinds of safe spaces they wanted for conversations
        • There is not enough time to plan such an extensive program to begin in the spring.
        • The Undergraduate Subcommittee was already working on a long-term program for that audience, this subcommittee is responsible to faculty and GA students.
        • Andrea said that while a symposium might not work, there should still be commitment from the DCEC and the Faculty and GA planning subcommittee to create an event for March or April of every year
          • Elizabeth agreed that there should be a structure of events every year.
          • Carlos also reported on the planning for the screening of the film ‘Tested’
            • Cautioned that the film might not tie in well with the notion of a symposium because it does not offer strategies for helping Penn State to understand the connection between diversity and education.
              • Jeanine said that she was contacted by the film publisher because the film does try to address racial and gender bias in high-stakes testing culture
              • Carlos agreed that the film was beneficial as part of a plurality of activities sponsored by the DCEC
              • Andrea asked whether it was too much for the subcommittee to work on planning both the film screening and the workshop.
                • Jeanine said that there should not be a lot of leg work around organizing the film screening
                  • Foster was suggested as a location and Elizabeth asked Isaac to look into reserving spaces.
      • Elizabeth motioned for continuing to work on the Bullying Prevention Workshop.
        • Gary seconded
      • Ashley Pipe motioned for continuing to work on the film screening
        • Ashley Patterson seconded


Undergraduate Planning Subcommittee

  • Efrain Marimon and Ashely Patterson reported on the status of the “Leadership in Diversity and Equity ” Program development
    • Ashley said that they met with Stephanie Knight
      • They described the program to Stephanie as focusing on theories of social justice and practical field experience which put those theories to work.
        • The program still does not have a title
    • Said that Stephanie seemed excited about the program
    • Said that Stephanie promised to help facilitate
      • Setting a timeline
      • Finding exemplar proposals that have been successful
    • Were told that the program would be a minor, a certificate would be subsumed by the minor.
      • New certificate programs are not being considered at Penn State at this time.
    • Discussed the development of three components for the minor
      • Foundational coursework for 9 credits
        • Needs to be cross listed with general ed
        • Efrain said that no more than half of the classes can be at the 400 level
        • Field Experience for 6 credits
          • Would include opportunities to come together as a cohort
          • Might make use of existing programs
            • Perhaps Hazelton
            • Might borrow from the RHS model
              • Standard way to be in contact with site
              • Contact person for each site
              • Efrain suggested that they might also use nontraditional settings and that there were a lot of field placements outside of State College
              • Capstone Project
                • Opportunities for reflection
                • Requirement that students create something with the purpose of impacting the Penn State/State College community
    • Efrain said that according the timeline suggested by Stephanie, commencement of the minor would take about a year once the paperwork was submitted
      • Would need to help students meet the requirement for 6 credits of Inter-Domain Courses
      • Courses constituting minor had to be pre-existing
        • Might be a small window for creating new courses
  • Elizabeth said that “Leadership in Diversity and Equity” minor needs a way of addressing issues collectively over a period of the program, not just during one course
    • Andrea suggested that the program might have touch points along the way
      • Perhaps journaling or meeting once per semester
    • Efrain suggested that there may be a way of doing this with technology and a supervisor
  • Carlos said that a minor could offer great opportunities to help students better understand justice and equity, but stressed the importance of a conceptual trunk with a description in clear language that allows students to see a coherent aim.
    • Suggested that current curriculum might be tweaked and tied together through technology
  • Elizabeth suggested sending out a draft proposal and request for assistance to faculty and arranging monthly meetings of the working group.
    • First order of business might be identifying faculty who are teaching relevant courses
    • Elizabeth requested that the Undergraduate Planning Subcommittee set a date for a meeting at the beginning of the semester.
  • Christine suggested sending out feelers to other programs, but cautioned that the minor still needs a place to live.
    • Laura agreed that a minor might be a great way to attract students from a diverse range of programs 
    • Ashley agreed that making the program interdepartmental (a partnership) might be a good idea
      • Suggested either RHS or EPP
  • Carlos put forward an action plan for the subcommittee
    • Designate leader and begin work on two tasks
      • Task 1: Look for particular target faculty
      • Task 2: Look at changes to existing courses
    • Elizabeth asked Ashley and Efrain to write a paragraph description of the program and the action plan
    • Carlos motioned for the action plan
    • Ashley Patterson seconded


Meeting adjourned at 3:30.