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June 18, 2014

The annual Diversity in Higher Education Conference, “Leading for Change,” was held on campus, and the day-long event featured a number of panels and speakers.

Laying out some overarching thoughts at the outset was Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior, director of institutional diversity. “We are each other’s harvest. And that simple sensibility is the underlying reason we are all here today,” she said, quoting the poet and activist Gwendolyn Brooks. “We know that our fates are bound up together. That our personal and institutional work is complete only when we do all that we can so that all have access to higher education, all feel welcome and supported while there, and that all are supported by policies, practices, pedagogies that helps them succeed.”

More than 300 educators from across the region were in attendance, including President Dana Mohler-Faria and four other presidents of BSU’s sister institutions. Nine additional high-ranking administrators and leaders from those institutions, as well as state organizations were on hand.

The day’s agenda featured a leadership panel, featuring president Mohler-Faria, as well as an afternoon plenary on creating equity, access and opportunity. Participants were given time after each session to discuss what they’d learned and to formulate plans they could take back to their home institutions. Meanwhile, breakout sessions illuminated best practices and other matters of importance to educators seeking to create a more diverse and open campus.

Fred Clark, executive vice president and vice president for external affairs, spoke at the end of the event, declaring it a success, but reminding attendees that the work must go on. “Running through this entire day was the awareness that this work is essential but not easy,” he said. “It takes the commitment of many, at different levels of the institution, to create change.” (Story by John Winters, G ’11; photos by David K. Wilson, ’71, University News)

Fred Clark addresses the attendees
Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior
The capacity crowd in the RCC ballroom