Equity in the Classroom Conference features renowned authors

BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University will host the statewide “Equity in the Classroom” conference Sunday, March 30, through Tuesday, April 1, at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Big Rapids.

This is the 18th year of the conference sponsored by the King-Chavez-Parks Initiative, 15 public and five private universities and GEAR UP Michigan.

“This year’s focus on ‘Inclusion, Leadership and the Classroom: Making the Connection’ could not be more appropriate for us here at Ferris, given our efforts over the past several months to shape and adopt a University-wide Diversity Plan,” said Ferris President David Eisler.

The conference has a comprehensive line-up of speakers and sessions. Among the featured speakers are

  • Paul Loeb, a scholar at the Center for Ethical Leadership in Seattle. Loeb is a widely published author and columnist best known for his influential book, “Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time.” His writing and speaking have helped inspire the American Democracy Project, which is active on some 200 campuses including Ferris.
  • Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of “Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought.”
  • James W. Loewen, author of the bestselling book, “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong.”

Loeb, Harris-Lacewell and Loewen are also leading breakout sessions during the conference.

SST Communications, the theatrical group who performed during Ferris’ Summer University last year, will be Monday evening’s program, “Synergy from Others: Cultural Diversity on Campus.”

Session facilitators include a number of people from Ferris: Anne Marie Gillespie; Brian Kelly and Wendy Hardy; Andy Karafa and Yolanda Barnes; Jessica Mills; Barry Mehler; and William Potter and Debra Cox. There will also be opportunities to tour the Jim Crow Museum.

“In Soul of a Citizen, Loeb writes about how we should count an action of ours as a victory, ‘…each time we bring new participants into a culture of commitment.’ With our diversity and strategic planning initiatives, we have extended the University’s commitment to the kind of ‘culture of commitment’ Loeb describes,” Eisler said.

To find a complete schedule of events and a registration form for the conference, go to www.ferris.edu/news/equity.pdf.


24 March, 2008