WMU News

Students, faculty, staff can attend equity conference free

March 11, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Michigan's 15th annual Equity in the Classroom Conference will take place Sunday through Tuesday, April 3-5, in the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo and the Bernhard Center at Western Michigan University.

The conference focuses on achieving parity in higher education in enrollment, retention and graduation for underrepresented minority students and academically and economically disadvantaged students.

WMU is serving as host for the 2005 event, which is being sponsored by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth's King-Chavez-Parks Initiative and GEAR UP Michigan! as well as the state's 15 public universities and five private universities in the state.

This year's theme is "Visualizing the World of Possibilities: Preparing Students for the Challenges of Equity and Opportunities in Higher Education." The topics to be covered are creative faculty approaches to meeting the challenge, critical issues facing students with special needs, collaborations with businesses, and math and science.

WMU will pay the registration fee for its faculty, staff and students who wish to attend. The deadline for members of the WMU community to register is March 21, and advance registration is required. Seating is limited, so early registration is encouraged.

The cost of meals will be picked up by WMU for a small number of early faculty and staff registrants. Other members of the campus community, including students, may pay a nominal fee for food or sit in on the programs that include meals.

The conference will feature informational sessions and speakers. It will begin on Sunday in the Radisson. One of the evening's highlights will be an opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m., during which Dr. Von Washington, WMU professor of theatre, and his wife, Fran, will perform.

On Monday, conference activities will move to the Bernhard Center and on Tuesday, they will return to the Radisson. There will be five main speakers during this year's event.

From 9 to 10 a.m., Monday, April 4, a talk on the persistence of inequality in higher education outcomes from the perspective of institutional and state-level accountability will be presented by Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon, director of the Center for Urban Education at Columbia University.

From noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, April 4, a talk will be presented by Dr. Calvin Mackie, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Tulane University and co-founder of Channel ZerO, an educational and motivational consulting company.

From 1:30 to 3 p.m., Monday, April 4, a talk on the future of diversity in U.S. higher education, given challenges such as immigration, globalization, the gap between rich and poor, and the "war on terrorism," will be presented by Dr. Evelyn Hu-Dehart, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University.

From 8 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 5, a talk on higher education issues associated with America's impending changeover from a majority population of whites to people of color will be presented Dr. Joseph White, professor emeritus of psychology and psychiatry at the University of California.

From 12:30 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, a talk on some of the structural changes that will impact the way people live and work as the 21st century progresses will be presented by futurist Edward Barlow, president of Creating the Future Inc.

For more information, download the event brochure at <www.conference.wmich.edu>. To register, complete the registration form in the event brochure and fax it to Dr. Martha Warfield, assistant vice president for student affairs, at (269) 387-3390 or e-mail it to her at <martha.warfield@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
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