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Diversity forum to focus on solutions

September 20, 2004 By John Lucas

Students, faculty, staff and the community are invited to spend a day – or even a few hours – talking about solutions and identifying the “missing pieces” of UW–Madison’s efforts to strengthen diversity and improve campus climate.

Those themes will be the focus of this years Plan 2008 Campus Forum, to be held from 8:15 a.m.-3:45 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 27, at Memorial Union. (Check Today In The Union for room location.)

Plan 2008 is the campus blueprint to increase the diversity of UW–Madison’s students, faculty, staff, curricula and campus life. All sessions are free and members of the Madison community are invited.

In a break from the past, this year’s forum has been designed to share best practices and dispense practical, “how to” advice related to diversity and climate issues, says Bernice Durand, a professor of physics and associate vice chancellor for diversity and climate.

“The basic theme is, what are the missing pieces as we move forward?” Durand says. “What needs to happen if we hope to achieve our goals? We are looking for practical advice on how to make it happen.”

For the first time, the session is being held early in the fall semester to give participants time to apply the ideas and strategies presented, says Durand. Past sessions have been held in April and May.

“Participants always come out of the forums with a lot of energy and momentum,” Durand says. “We’re hoping that scheduling the forum early will give people time to make positive changes through the entire academic year.”

The forum will begin with introductory remarks by Provost Peter Spear, Durand and Michael Thornton, professor of Afro-American Studies and co-chair with Durand of the Plan 2008 Diversity Oversight Committee.

The group will discuss overall progress made during the past few years, along with plans for a renewed focus on student, staff and faculty retention and climate in the classroom.

Next will be a new feature, which the organizing committee, co-chaired by Ruby Paredes, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, and Rebecca Ryan, a senior advisor in the cross-college advising service, refer to as a “teach-in” or “diversity practicum.” This will be a plenary session on privilege and social justice, led by Professor Peggy McIntosh of Wellesley and her two colleagues, Victor Lewis and Hugh Vasquez, who were featured in the film “Color of Fear.”

To round out the morning, several concurrent breakout sessions will also be held, each featuring a way to get involved.

Faculty members who have Ethnic Studies classes meeting on Monday, Sept. 27, are strongly encouraged to allow their students to attend forum sessions – especially in the morning – as a substitute for a normal class meeting. Students should bring their ID cards, for validation of attendance.

A lunch session will explore the topic of diversity in the public and private workforce, with presentations from executives from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Kimberly Clark and SBC. The forum will conclude with a question-and-answer session with Chancellor John Wiley, and other campus vice chancellors and deans.

Throughout the day, participants will have the chance to air their thoughts on diversity, climate, Plan 2008 and UW–Madison by talking in front of a video camera or writing on a “Wall of Thoughts,” and signing up for student focus groups on campus and classroom climate issues.

For more information, or to register for the forum, visit Free box lunches are available to all who preregister by noon on Wednesday, Sept. 22. Click on “5th Annual Plan 2008 Campus Forum,” then on “sign up.”


  • 7:30-8:15 a.m.: Register, refreshments
  • 8:15-9:15 a.m.: Opening session: Provost Peter Spear, Associate Vice Chancellor Bernice Durand and Professor Mike Thornton
  • 9:30-10:45 a.m.: Plenary session on privilege and social justice: Professor Peggy McIntosh of Wellesley and two colleagues, Victor Lewis and Hugh Vasquez, who were featured in the film “Color of Fear”
  • 11 a.m.-noon: 10 concurrent sessions (see list of topics below)
  • 12:15-1:30 p.m.: Lunch with Spear’s panel, which includes Wisconsin Secretary of Revenue Michael Morgan, Andy Smiltneek of Kimberly Clark and Dextra Hadnot of SBC-Wisconsin. They will discuss how and why they successfully recruit for diversity.
  • 1:45-3:45 p.m.: Chancellor John Wiley’s plenary “Q&A” session with vice chancellors, deans and directors


  • Continuing conversations with McIntosh, Lewis and Vasquez
  • Experiential Learning: Student SEED, PREA, Student of Color Connections, Mosaic
  • Living and Learning in a Diverse Community: The Multicultural Learning Community
  • Service Learning: Bringing Together Academics and Activism
  • Classroom Climate: The Faculty and Staff Role
  • Ethnic Studies and the Sciences
  • PEOPLE & Posse: Building Support Across Campus
  • Changemakers: Social Justice in Campus Life
  • Diversifying a Department’s Faculty: Practical Suggestions for Positive Outcomes

Tags: diversity