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January 2016

Diversity & Community Enhancement Committee (DCEC) Meeting Minutes

January 20, 2016

Chambers 228

Chair: Elizabeth Smolcic

2:00 – 3:30


Attendees:   Amity Maines, Andrea McCloskey, Ashley Patterson, Ashley Pipe, Christine Andrus, Efrain Marimon, Elizabeth Smolcic, Isaac Bretz, Jeanine Staples, J.T. Taylor, Laura Hennessey, Samantha Walker, Kim Powell, Wideline Seraphin


Old Business

  • Approval of December 10 minutes
    • Ashley motioned to approve
    • Andrea seconded


New Business

1.  Elizabeth introduced the Grant proposal submitted from CIGSA in support of the Social Justice Conference to take place at Penn State in March, 2016.

  • Request for $500 grant
    • Will be used to cover lunch and conference program
  • Funding also coming from UPAC and the Multicultural Center to support the Conference
    • Andrea asked for the target audience – which is a national audience of scholars and graduate students
    • Wideline said that 80 people were slated to present
  • Efrain motioned to approve grant
  • Kim seconded



2. Staff Subcommittee

  • Amity reported on the staff event which served as a follow up to the Gettysburg trip
    • What was accomplished
      • Staff participants (14) reflected on what leadership means for them in the College and how to be supportive of students of diverse backgrounds in the College.  Recruitment of diverse students was also discussed and  improved communication among programs and departments of the College.
      • Discussed the role of the DCEC
        • Laura created a DCEC flyer which was distributed
        • Discussed a future staff retreat
    • Christine suggested that such events might be something the DCEC sponsors and organizes on a regular basis
      • Kim suggested twice a semester
        • Laura suggested that each subcommittee could take responsibility for organizing an event, with the goal of doing one per semester
        • Elizabeth asked for a subcommittee to volunteer to organize the next event
          • Andrea and Kim of the Faculty and GA Planning subcommittee volunteered to take the lead on the next event.
          • Kim suggested that it should be held in February and it might be called  a “Coffee Hour”
    • Kim suggested that the DCEC create a white paper of policy points for distribution at DCEC sponsored events
  • Laura talked about the current state of planning for the staff retreat
    • Tentatively planned for April 15, all day
    • She met with Charleon Jeffries, who will be facilitating the event
      • Focus of activities will be on diversity issues
        • Understanding privilege and power
        • Unconscious bias and subtle slights
        • Actions to take
        • Will also have activities for community building
          • What jobs people do
          • Helping people to connect roles, names, and faces
          • Laura said that Charleon is comfortable working with a group of around 50.
            • Will need assistant facilitators if a larger group
            • Charleon does not expect remuneration
    • Hoping to hold event in Celebration Hall can catered by Hoags
      • April 15 is a Friday, so administration will need to give approval for time-off
        • There was a suggestion that attending the event should not require using a vacation day.
        • The subcommittee will first put together a tentative schedule and then the DCEC chair can ask for approval from Dean
        • The Staff subcommittee will take leadership to develop the agenda and tentative arrangements.  
        • A suggestion is that the event be listed on the staff annual performance review
          • There is currently nothing explicit about diversity training in the goal setting process for next year in the staff review
          • It was suggested that faculty also encourage staff to attend
    • Ashley Patterson asked if goals/objectives had been elaborated in terms of diversity awareness training for the retreat
      • Laura said that Charleon favors starting softly and building to awareness
        • Some of it has to do with teaching people to be mindful of what is said at work
        • Elizabeth agreed that it might be most effective to start with community building and then move to more specific issues around diversity
        • Christine thought that most of the staff have no exposure to diversity training and that there are fewer opportunities for training now than in the past
        • Kim suggested drawing on results from the Penn State Values and Culture survey
        • It was suggested that departments could conduct poster sessions while people eat snacks and get settled in
        • Kim suggested a PechaKucha – mini power point presentation
          • JT said that his department has done this with three slides and 5 minutes
            • Said that it has been great for getting know people


  • Laura suggested that the Staff Subcommittee could write a follow-up report and do a staff survey
    • Purpose of the survey would be to collect suggestions for the next retreat
      • We do not want to do the same thing every year
    • Elizabeth asked for a motion to move forward on the staff retreat
      • Ashley Patterson made motion
      • Kim seconded


3.  Undergraduate Subcommittee

  • Efrain said that the subcommittee would hold a meeting on the Leadership in Diversity Minor on Jan 27 in room 273 from 2:00 – 3:30
  • Meeting would be for faculty, staff, and GA who would like to be involved in planning of this new interdepartmental minor
  • Wideline asked if undergraduates would be welcome
    • Ashley said that was a bit early to involve undergraduates at this point, but that it would be a good idea to get their ideas as planning continues


4.  Faculty and Graduate Assistant Subcommittee

  • Elizabeth reported that she met with Seria about the Bullying Prevention Workshop
    • Seria has run workshops for students on this topic at other institutions
      • A question is whether it would be effective to run this workshop with a mix of faculty, staff, students. 
      • It was suggested that it would be best to keep the groups separate and perhaps to begin with undergraduates with future workshops directed at faculty and GA’s (and/or staff).
    • Elizabeth asked the committee if there was a consensus to proceed with the proposed target audience of undergraduate students
      • Amity expressed approval
      • J.T. said that he has done bullying workshops in the past and is willing to help Seria to facilitate
      • Wideline asked if the intent of the program was only to make students aware of bullying prevention in university classrooms
        • Suggested that her pre-service teachers need training in diversity-based bullying prevention in their future teaching environments as well
        • Andrea suggested that part of the workshop might be profession-based
    • Elizabeth said that Seria had concerns about having enough people attending
      • Seria has set up a website for students to register
      • Seria has done workshops with up to 200 people
    • Elizabeth asked for suggestions for promoting the event
      • Wideline suggested contacting instructors
      • Kim suggested contacting heads of departments so they can put announce it at faculty meetings.
      • Isaac suggested offering a certificate of completion
        • Kim added that there might be a tie in with electronic badging
          • Said that Kyle Peck has an interest in helping to institutionalize an electronic badging format
          • Elizabeth said she remembers Kyle talking about a diversity badge
    • Elizabeth requested a budget for the workshop for the next subcommittee meeting and a plan from the subcommittee for promotion of the workshop to ensure that the workshop is promoted successfully and to make sure that Seria has the support she needs


  • A report was also made on preparations for screening the film ‘Tested’on March 24
    • Elizabeth said that the film was receiving all sorts of exposure across the country and internationally
    • Andrea volunteered to take charge of promotions
      • Wideline said that Ana has artwork from Curtis for promotional materials and it was just a matter of graphically arranging and adding information
      • Isaac suggested putting materials on the electronic billboard – also applies to the Bullying Prevention Workshop
    • Elizabeth said CIGSA has arrangements underway
      • Curtis Shin’s visit, arriving late morning of March 24
        • Will be able to visit a class or two, faculty still need to schedule
        • Foster Auditorium is reserved in AM for tech screening and from 5-6:30pm for film
        • Mann Assembly Room for Discussion and reception afterwards (6:30-7:00pm)
        • CIGSA is taking charge of ordering food and creating Curtis schedule for the day on campus
        • A room already reserved for Curtis at Nittany Lion Inn


5.   Wideline was invited to the meeting to explain more about the Community Narratives Project which is a series of audio recordings of people in the Penn State community speaking about their personal experiences with race/racism

  • Talked about history
    • Inspired by campus ‘Die-ins’ and backlash
  • Decided to record a range of personal narratives
    • Many have come from people of color and international students
    • Many deal with how people have discovered identities
  • Part of a reflective process
    • What’s our stake?
    • How do make it relevant?
    • How do we rattle or resist?
  • Suggested that the recordings might be useful for faculty and staff to hear
    • Could inform pedagogy
    • More compelling than case studies
  • Wideline said that she and Ana are looking to get recordings into the right hands.
    • Suggested that events could be organized to bring faculty together around the narrative project
    • Asked for help in finding a safe online space to make the recordings available
    • Elizabeth suggested that the DCEC sponsor an event for faculty, staff, and GA students
      • Kim said that it would be good to do something this semester because it builds on last year
        • Suggested that an event might be organized for April
        • Ashley Patterson said that the College of Ed has an interest in supporting this project
          • Dean Monk was recognized for taking leadership and accomplishing the highest increase in hiring diverse faculty members for the College of Ed (at Penn State)
          • Ashley asked Wideline and Ana to write up their project for the DCEC
          • Elizabeth suggested that they might write a DCEC grant proposal in order to get support for making podcasts or other technological needs


Meeting adjourned at 3:30