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October 2015

Diversity & Community Enhancement Committee (DCEC) Meeting Minutes

October 21, 2015

Chambers 273

Chair: Kimberly Powell

12:00 – 1:30



Attendees Present: Amity Maines, Carlos Zalaquett, Efrain Marimon, Elizabeth Smolcic, Gabriela Richard, Isaac Bretz, Jeanine Staples, Kim Powell, Laura Hennessey



  • Kim said that a new DCEC chair still needs to be recruited.
    • Dean Monk does not want to appoint a chair and would rather that the position be advertised and a person with some investment in the position volunteer.
    • Kim will draft a paragraph of responsibilities


Old Business

  • Minutes from September 16, 2015 were tabled until certain revisions could be made.
  • Kim went over a draft of the DCEC Summary of Accomplishments for 2014-15 and asked for member to review.
    • Elizabeth offered several corrections
    • Kim said that thanks to the work of Amity and Hilario the DCEC has an itemized budget which can help with future budgeting
      • Amity agreed that an itemized budget is important for getting budget approval
      • Jeanine asked whether there was an issue with reduced funding in the future if a budget was not fully used.
        • Amity said that she will touch base with the Dean regarding funds left over from last year and other budget clarifications.
  • Kim asked whether the DCEC should continue with its current theme of Diversity in Teaching and Learning
    • Laura suggested that it might encourage wider and more involved engagement if a more specific theme were chosen each year.
    • Elizabeth said that the broad theme of Diversity in Teaching and Learning continues to align well with the main objectives of the committee this year. 
  • Social Media and Outreach Website/Online Presence Update
    • Kim said that she asked Kyle Peck to take lead on Social Media outreach committee
      • Kyle is particularly interested in digital badges
        • At the most basic level, they might show what workshops and presentations you have attended.
        • At a more macro-level, they are intended to track a lifetime trajectory and constitute a repository reflecting both formal and informal learning activities
          • Elizabeth asked who decided what the badges mean
          • Laura said that Penn State Liberal Arts Advising is considering deploying a badging system
  • Staff Subcommittee Update
    • Laura said that she was working with Christine to organize a meeting.
  • Faculty and GA Planning Subcommittee Update
    • Kim said that she wanted to focus on Seria Chatters’ offer to lead workshops on anti-bullying
      • Elizabeth mentioned that an initiative around anti-bullying had not been done before to her knowledge.
      • Kim said that DCEC has the budget for rooms and food.
      • Carlos said that the model that Seria uses is diversity-based anti-bullying training and is adaptable to a wide range of contexts including the workplace and universities
        • The first step is to bring together a panel in the fall to generate critical events, these are usually recent stories from the news
          • Examples he has used in the past include attacks on LGBT peoples and mistreatment of undocumented workers.
          • Based on the work of the panel, workshops are planned for the spring
            • Laura suggested one critical event they might draw on is news of State College high school students wearing “n-word” T-shirts on social media.
            • Carlos suggested starting with a spring College of Education symposium on critical events
              • Students could get extra credit for attending
              • The symposium could be recorded and kept as part of a repository on bullying and diversity education
              • Jeanine said that could help with the project but also expressed concerns that such a strategy could decontextualize issues.
            • Kim asked for the Faculty and GA Planning subcommittee to meet and begin planning for spring workshops.
              • Suggested that an email be sent out to the DCEC listserv calling for recommendations of topics for discussion or ‘critical events’ that might be used as topic of focus
              • Asked that a meeting be set up with Seria ASAP so that the DCEC can find out what resources are needed in order to make an anti-bullying workshop happen
                • Conditions
                  • The workshop must avoid generic ideas and de-racializing
                  • The workshop must have a focus on diversity
  • Undergraduate Planning Subcommittee Update
    • Leadership Certificate in Diversity and Equity
      • Elizabeth said that she met with 6 people from last year’s subcommittee to begin to pull together ideas from last year and develop a draft plan for a Diversity Equity certificate
        • They agreed to meet again
        • Elizabeth said that Efrain is currently working on a social justice education projected and suggested that it might dovetail or collapse nicely with the certificate
        • Kim suggested that the next step is to work on a proposal for Stephanie Knight
        • Elizabeth said that it still needs to be determined whether there should be a certificate, a minor, or both
          • Depends in part on University requirements which need to be explored further
          • Carlos suggested that a certificate built on currently offered courses might be the most realistic and sustainable platform
            • Jeanine said that she could help with aggregating appropriate existing courses
            • Dana Stuchal’s sustainability education course was suggested as possible way to launch this initiative on a small scale (in order to get something going sooner rather than later)
            • The Presidential Leadership Academy might be another model
          • Elizabeth suggested that Urban Seminar and the Ecuador program as well as other already-established summer programs/experiences might be counted as part of the practical or hands-on work of the Diversity Equity certificate
          • Carlos suggested another option might be a program based on skills training instead of the academic focus.
            • Carlos said that he had been involved in this type of a program which had been effective in career training for international student and agreed to share the model
          • Laura suggested the TESLA program as another model
            • Instead of doing a minor or a certificate, student volunteer for the program and take 1 or 2 credits
            • Might be an alternative if the bigger goals of a certificate or a minor do not work out.
          • Elizabeth said that one of the things that had been determined during her meeting with the subcommittee is that a piloting of the program for the spring was probably not realistic

Meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm


Proposed DCEC Meeting Schedule 2015 – 2016; generally the third Wednesday of the Month

11/18   2:00 – 3:30

12/10 (Thursday)?  2:00 – 3:30  

1/20  2:00 – 3:30

2/17   2:00 – 3:30

3/16  2:00 – 3:30

4/20  2:00 – 3:30