One Great Challenge Conference takes place April 7

The One Great Challenge Conference: Learning Together in the New Millennium will take place in the RUC on Tuesday, April 7. This conference aims to explore successful strategies for administrators, teachers, and students committed to fostering diversity and culture in schools. Co-sponsored by Minority Affairs, the Honors Program and the Diversity, Equality and Access Council, the conference is for educators and students of primary, secondary, and university education. It will focus on pedagogical approaches to education and serving underrepresented groups.

While almost everyone can agree diversity makes for a richer educational experience, creating and maintaining a diverse environment can be a challenge. This conference looks beyond the mere celebration of diversity and addresses real life situations.

“With this conference our main goal is to explore diversity and multiculturalism beyond the general politically correct crusting that we see everyday,” Robert Owens, director of Minority Affairs, said. “There will be both professors and students from across the state presenting both theoretical and practical examples of what diversity and multiculturalism are and how they look in action.”

“We will discuss concrete ways that can help conversation [of diversity] continue,” Rita Barnes, director of the Honors Program, said. “We want to make that commitment concrete.”

Panels and workshops include, “Building Diverse Learning Communities,” “Understanding Islam and Your Muslim Students,” “Why Who Teaches Matters,” “Do Justice: Service Learning for a Diverse World Beyond Campus,” and “What’s Wrong with African Studies, Women’s Studies, Asian Studies?”

Feature speakers are Rita Geier and Finnie Coleman. Geier, the associate to the chancellor at the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, works to promote diversity goals and intercultural public policy. Her keynote address will be presented at 9 a.m.

Coleman, director of African American and Africana studies at the University of New Mexico, has worked on research projects recovering lost or marginalized African American literature. His keynote address will occur during the luncheon at noon.

“The more students we have participate, the better,” said Owens. “As our world becomes more diverse by the day it is our duty as an institution of higher learning to train our faculty and staff and prepare our students to be successful in just such an environment.