Tag: inclusion

Diversity award honors work Lawrence is doing to address equity, inclusion

A rise in retention and graduation rates among African American students at Lawrence speaks to focused work on equity issues across campus, says Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University is being honored for its work in becoming a more diverse and inclusive campus.

INSIGHT Into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, announced that Lawrence is one of 90 recipients of its 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. Lawrence will be featured, along with the other recipients, in the November issue of the magazine.

It’s a notable honor because it recognizes the significant progress Lawrence has made in recent years, but it comes with the understanding that this is a work in progress, said Kimberly Barrett, who joined Lawrence as its first vice president for diversity and inclusion in 2016.

“Although much work remains to be done, this honor acknowledges the progress that has been made in both achieving equitable academic outcomes for students of all backgrounds as well as in our efforts to increase the diversity of folks working and learning at Lawrence,” Barrett said. “Like institutions around the country, we must continue to enhance the quality of these efforts.”

Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity, said the HEED Award follows a “comprehensive and rigorous” application process.

“Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus,” Pearlstein said.

Barrett pointed to retention and graduation rates at Lawrence for African American students, which have gone up significantly over the past half decade. In the most recent Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report, it’s noted that the graduation rate for African American students at Lawrence is up 56%, and the retention rate for students of color has been equal to or above white students over the past three years. That, Barrett said, speaks to progress being made in achieving racial equity on campus.

Initiatives such as the annual Cultural Competency Lecture Series, the work of the Inclusive Pedagogy Committee, the annual Diversity Planning Retreat that keeps a leadership focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics, and the growth and activity of various employee affinity groups have helped move efforts forward, Barrett said.

National honor spotlights Lawrence affinity group. See details here.

From 2015 to 2020, the percentage of students of color at Lawrence has increased from 19% of the student body to 26%, Barrett said. The number of faculty of color also has grown over that five-year period, going from 13% of total faculty to 17%. The number of staff who identify as people of color saw a jump of 65%.

Besides Barrett’s vice president position, other new leadership positions added since 2016 to address equity and inclusion include the Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life, a Title IX coordinator, a Diversity Center coordinator, and a Dean of Academic Success.

Also, through a grant from the Mellon Foundation and the work of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs, Lawrence has implemented training to enhance the process for recruiting diverse applicants for faculty positions. Another grant from the Mellon Foundation has led to the diversifying of curriculum and the development of new pedagogical methods.

In recent months, as a movement for social justice has elevated conversation and calls for systematic change across the country, Barrett has been leading a series of virtual workshops on antiracism for Lawrence faculty and staff. Those conversations will continue with the return of students to campus, either in person or from a distance, for Fall Term. Barrett also has stepped up as a leader with Imagine Fox Cities, a local initiative aimed at fostering conversations on a range of societal and community issues, including diversity and inclusion. That work has included, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizing virtual conferences on topics related to social justice.  

In a recent letter to the Lawrence community in advance of the start of Fall Term, President Mark Burstein pledged continued focus on issues of equity and inclusion.

“We continue to dismantle systemic racism through individual and organizational learning; through curricular, pedagogical, and policy change; and through enhanced efforts to increase the racial diversity of students, faculty, and staff,” he wrote. “We also continue to collaborate with the City of Appleton to help ensure that Lawrentians are safe and welcome here. Our goal is to create a campus climate that allows each of us to feel that we belong in this community whether we are learning on campus or at a distance.”

Lawrence wants to be a leader on these issues, both on campus and in the Fox Cities, Barrett said. The HEED Award is recognition that that hard work is being done and, despite setbacks and frustrations, progress is being made.

“Despite the work that still remains ahead,” she said, “it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the righteous work in which we have been engaged because, as Audre Lorde wrote, ‘Even the smallest victory is never to be taken for granted. Every victory must be applauded, because it is so easy not to battle at all, to just accept and call that acceptance inevitable.’”

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Diversity and Inclusion Award recipients honored for campus, community efforts

From left, top: Awa Badiane, Tim Hanna, Gaelyn Rose, and Jesús Smith.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University is honoring several members of the campus community, as well as a former mayor of Appleton, with its annual Diversity and Inclusion Champion Awards.

The awards celebrate efforts to foster greater diversity and inclusion on campus while creating a climate that encourages and supports the expression of diverse perspectives and builds avenues to academic and personal success for groups that have been underserved and underrepresented in higher education.

“It is especially important given the current national context to recognize members of our community who make extraordinary efforts to create a more just Lawrence,” said Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty. 

Recipients include:

  • Jesús Smith, assistant professor of ethnic studies, with the Faculty Award.
  • Awa Badiane ’21, a former president of Lawrence’s Black Student Union (BSU), with the Student Award.
  • LUNA (Lawrence University Native American), with the Student Organization Award.
  • Gaelyn Rose, associate director of admissions, with the Staff Award.
  • Tim Hanna, the former mayor of Appleton who opted not to seek re-election following 24 years in office, with the Community Partner Award.

“I am extremely impressed by this year’s Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award recipients,” Barrett said. “The fact that they are being recognized in this way will come as no surprise to those who are fortunate enough to know them, given their positive presence on campus and in the Appleton community.”

The awards announcement comes at a time of pain and unrest across the country. It amplifies the need for leadership as has been shown by these recipients, Barrett said.

“As our country has seen the consequences of centuries of inequities play out in real time over the past few months in terms of needless death and suffering, these impressive individuals have used their many talents, resources, influence, and privilege to help make Lawrence University more inclusive,” she said. “While excelling in their individual roles of faculty, student, staff, or community leader they are helping to create a new normal in which we are all treated with dignity and respect.”

Smith has been part of the Lawrence faculty since 2017. He was recently awarded a 12-month Wilson Foundation Career Enhancement Fellowship that supports the career development of underrepresented junior faculty in the arts and humanities.

“In just three short years on campus he has become a favorite role model and mentor to Lawrence students while also making his mark nationally in terms of his scholarly research in ethnic studies,” Barrett said.

Badiane is a government major from New York City who served as president of BSU and has been a writer in the Communications office the past two years. She is being honored for her ongoing advocacy for students of color.

LUNA helped create the mural on the side of the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center.

Also, the students who are part of LUNA are being recognized. It’s the first time a student organization has been given one of the D&I Awards. LUNA played a huge role in bringing Project 562’s Matika Wilbur to campus and creating the indigenous education mural that now adorns the side of the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center.

“Although we usually only give one student award, this year we had two extremely strong nominees in this category,” Barrett said. “One was an individual and the other was an organization. So, we decided to give two student awards. I think giving an award to both an individual student and a student organization will become a tradition for us.”

Rose has worked diligently to enhance Lawrence’s admissions process to make sure it is accessible and equitable for all.

“As associate director of admissions, she helped recruit international students, students from tribal nations, and domestic students of color,” Barrett said. “She also helped to create systematic changes in the way the admissions counselors recruit students by developing training materials that address issues of diversity.”

Hanna, meanwhile, is being honored for his efforts to champion diversity and inclusion in the community during his six terms as mayor.

“He was a true strategic partner with the university in its efforts to become more inclusive,” Barrett said.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu 

Equity and inclusion focus of Lawrence’s annual Report to the Community

Collaborations between Lawrence University and local organizations to create a more just, equitable and inclusive community in which to live, work and learn will be celebrated Thursday, Feb. 8 at the college’s ninth annual Report to the Community. The program begins at 4 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center.

Kimnberly Barrett
Kimberly Barrett

The report will underscore ways in which Lawrence engages in mutually beneficial partnerships to enhance the well-being and vibrancy of the greater Fox Valley while also strengthening the educational experience it provides its students. Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion at Lawrence, will be the keynote speaker. More than 150 civic and community leaders are expected to attend.

“One of the important things we’re seeing nationally as well as in our own community, is a need to understand how do we create communities where everyone feels like they are a part, they belong and that they can contribute,” said Barrett. “We’ve been active on many fronts to make sure that’s the case. With the business community, it’s looking at talent attraction and retention. With schools, its looking at diversity issues, inclusion, reducing bullying and harassment, which unfortunately we saw an uptick in right around the election with all of the polarized political rhetoric. With community members, we want to make sure we have a place that is welcoming and where everyone can get what they need to thrive.

“We’ve seen positive movement in this area and Lawrence has been a part of a lot of it,” Barrett added. “We want to celebrate those efforts and the ways we are engaged in mutually beneficial partnerships as we present our annual report to the community.”

Highlighting the program will be the presentation of the eighth annual Lawrence University Collaboration in Action Award by Lawrence President Mark Burstein to three local organizations: ThedaCare’s Community Health Action Team (CHAT); The Fox Cities Diversity Officers Collaborative; and The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

The award recognizes an individual or organization, who, in partnership with Lawrence, has provided exemplary service to the Fox Cities community through strategic vision, leadership influence, long-standing commitment and enthusiasm, financial contributions and/or volunteerism.

Two students speaking at a Voices of Men event
The Fox Valley Voices of Men project is one of the initiatives the ThedaCare Community Health Action Team (CHAT) is involved with.

Beyond its role as a regional leader in healthcare, ThedaCare, through its CHAT initiative, has launched a series it calls “the plunge,” innovative, collaborative community projects that lead to change. Since 2001, CHAT has conducted plunges on various issues that impact community health, including affordable housing, understanding the LGBTQ population, childhood obesity, diversity, mental health, poverty, the Voices of Men program and the issue of being black in the Fox Cities, among others.

“Our faculty and staff have been involved with the plunges in a number of ways, providing expertise, being a part of some of the focus groups or the organizing groups,” said Barrett, who is a new member of the group. “I’m particularly interested, given my role at Lawrence, in the way that CHAT meets the needs of a variety of different diverse communities in the Appleton area.”

“We all have a role to play in creating the kind of community that we want to be a part of, a just community, an equitable community, an inclusive community.”
Kimberly Barrett

One of the programs Lawrence is particularly involved with is an offshoot of the CHAT plunges that is looking at helping reduce the “opportunity gap” — the difference in graduation rates in high school and college attendance rates for African American students in the Appleton schools.

“We’re proud to be collaborating with and honoring the work of the ThedaCare community health action teams,” said Barrett.

The Fox Cities Diversity Officers Collaborative features nearly two dozen leaders from business and industry, municipalities, schools and local non-profit organizations. Formed in early 2017, collaborative members meet quarterly to discuss issues relating to recruiting, retaining people within the various organizations and providing the education needed to create the kind of inclusive climate they hope to have in each organization.

The collaborative grew out of Barrett’s own desire to create a network to support people who are engaged locally in diversity and inclusion work after she joined the Lawrence administration in the summer of 2016.

“We share best practices. We share problems and work through them together,” said Barrett, who hosted the collaborative’s first meeting. “It’s really a brain-trust for those of us who are engaged in this work.”

Discussion with students and members of Spectrum Dance Theater
Members of the Spectrum Dance Theater and Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence conservatory of music (standing far right), collaborated on a discussion with students during Spectrum’s residency in the Fox Cities last spring.

The Performing Arts Center is being recognized for its efforts to enhance the arts’ relationship to social justice, diversity and inclusion. One example was its work with the Seattle-based Spectrum Dance Theater last February. Lawrence partnered with the PAC in planning the arts group local residency and coordinating some of its curricular activities while they were here, including speaking with members of Lawrence’s dance team, a performance at the Lawrence Memorial Chapel that focused on using the arts to encourage conversations about race and a community conversation at the Trout Museum of Art, of which Barrett was a panelist.

“The Spectrum Dance Theater residency really spoke to the issue of how do we look at creating a community in which everyone feels like they belong, how we can talk to each other across our differences and try to empathize and understand the perspectives of others,” said Barrett.

One new element of this year’s report to the community will be table conversations among the attendees facilitated by Barrett.

“Our annual report is an opportunity for us not only to share with the community how we’ve been engaged with the community, but it’s also an opportunity for us to get feedback from the community about the ways we can be even more effectively engaged,” said Barrett. “Given the theme is equity and inclusion, we’re going to ask people for input about how Lawrence can expand its role as  a thought leader on these issues.

“We all have a role to play in creating the kind of community that we want to be a part of, a just community, an equitable community, an inclusive community,” Barrett added. “We’re sharing some ways in which we and community partners have started to engage in this work. While much work remains to be done, we’re taking this opportunity to acknowledge our progress.”

Past recipients of Lawrence’s Collaboration in Action Award include the Community Early Learning Center (2016), Mile of Music (2015), Riverview Gardens (2014), Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Cities (2013), the Appleton Area School District (2012), the YMCA of the Fox Cities (2011) and the Mielke Family Foundation (2010).

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

“Those Who Have Been Left Out” focus of annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration

Senegal native Aly Wane, an undocumented organizer living in Syracuse, N.Y., shares his message for the need to fight inequality in all its forms as the keynote speaker at the 27th annual Fox Cities Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration.

Aly Wane
Organizer Aly Wane will deliver the keynote address at the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King community celebration.

Focusing on the need for a better understanding of the concept of citizenship and global citizenship, Wane will deliver the address “Those Who Have Been Left Out.” The celebration commemorating Dr. King’s life and legacy will be held Monday, Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public and will include a sign language interpreter.

Two community members will be honored during the celebration with a reception immediately following the program in Shattuck Hall 163.

Wane’s message is inspired by a passage from a 1966 speech in which King said, “I choose to identify with the underprivileged. I choose to identify with the poor. I choose to give my life for the hungry. I choose to give my life for those who have been left out of the sunlight of opportunity. I choose to live for those who find themselves seeing life as a long and desolate corridor with no exit sign. This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way. If it means sacrificing, I’m going that way. If it means dying for them, I’m going that way, because I heard a voice saying, ‘Do something for others.’”

Wane, whose work is at the intersection of race and migration, is active with a variety of organizations, working with the Syracuse Peace Council, the country’s oldest grassroots antiwar group, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the Undocumented and Black Network and the Black Immigration Network.

In a 2017 interview with The Progressive, Wane spoke of the need to make the immigration conversation a racial justice conversation.

“When folks still think about undocumented folks, they still think about Latinos,” Wane told the magazine. “I don’t want to say ‘privilege’ that I have had, but I have had U.S. citizen Latino friends stopped by Border Patrol and ICE and I have been able to get away with it because I don’t look Latino. Of course, I am black and therefore I am always getting stopped by cops anyway. But, I think that it would be a lie to have an analysis of the immigration system that doesn’t speak very directly about the influence of race in this country.”

Pa Lee Moua
Pa Lee Moua

Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for diversity at Lawrence, said the theme of this year’s community celebration, “Those Who Have Been Left Out,” struck a personal chord with her.

“As a refugee child, adapting to another world was extremely hard — hard on my family, myself and my outlook on the future,” said Moua, a member of the MLK celebration planning committee. “As much as I wanted to adapt, I did not want to change who I was in order to be accepted by others. No one should judge another person, assumptions create exclusions. When you choose to exclude others, you create additional unnecessary barriers and burdens for them to carry, sometimes for a lifetime. Therefore, before you act, think about your actions. The smallest act of kindness goes a long way.  As Dr. King once said, ‘I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.’”

Wane, 41, who considers himself a global citizen, is the son of a Muslim father from Senegal and a Catholic mother from Mali, who met each other while studying in France. They separated when Wane was young and his father passed away at the age of 38. He came to the United States when he was almost nine with his mother after she landed a position with the United Nations Development Program.

He’s lived in Rwanda and Gabon with his mother who was on assignments there before he returned to the U.S. when he was 13. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2001 from Le Moyne College in Syracuse.

His older sister and only living relative, who was able to obtain H-1B status through her work, established permanent residency and eventual citizenship, is sponsoring Wane for legalization, a process that could take 10 years.

Yee Lee Vue, the adult services engagement librarian at the Appleton Public Library, will be recognized as the 24th recipient of the Jane LaChapelle McCarty Community Leader Award.

Maysa Pasayes, manager, Scholars for Success program, Diversity and Inclusion Services at Fox Valley Technical College, will be presented the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educator Award.

The celebration also will feature student winners of the annual MLK essay contest reading their entries. This year’s winning student essayists are:

Portia Hah, 3rd grade, Woodland Elementary School

Kate Jannette, 4th grade, St. Francis Xavier Elementary School

La Lee Yang, 8th grade, James Madison Middle School

The celebration will include a music performances by Anthony Gonzalez, B-Lilly and the Soul Brothers and university organist Kathrine Handford.

Martin Luther Kind DAy of Service logoPrior to the evening celebration, members of the Lawrence community will make the MLK holiday a day of service by participating in a variety of volunteer activities throughout the Fox Cities, including sorting and tagging items at Appleton’s Bethesda Thrift Store, providing arts programming with students at the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley, packaging, labeling, sorting at the Feeding America food bank and weeding, planting and prepping beds in hoop houses at Riverview Gardens.

In addition to the off-campus efforts, student spend part of the day involved with on-campus service projects including baking treats for local shelters,
making blankets for community members without housing, writing letters of encouragement to patients going through chemotherapy, creating dog toys and treats for animals at local shelters and making laundry detergent for a local shelter.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Self-care focus of opening 2017-18 cultural competency lecture issues

Erin Buenzli
Erin Buenzli

A lecture series examining issues related to cultural competency launched last year by Lawrence University returns Thursday, Sept. 21 with the opening program of the 2017-18 academic year.

Erin Buenzli, Lawrence’s director of wellness and recreation, presents “A Community of Self-Care” at 11:30 a.m. in the Esch-Hurvis Room of the Warch Campus Center. The program is free and open to the public.

Underscoring the importance of taking care of ourselves as well as others for the betterment of the campus community and society, Buenzli, will discuss campus resources available for creating an inclusive wellness culture where each person’s unique needs are recognized and nurtured in their individual pursuit of wellness.

a icon for the cultural compency lecture seriesShe also will examine ways each members of the Lawrence community can take part in the shared responsibility of creating a culture of compassion, empathy and self-care.

The cultural competency lecture series is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Diversity conference focuses on effective, inclusive teaching methods

Amid increasingly diverse classrooms, Lawrence University is sponsoring a conference focused on inclusive pedagogy.

Head shot of Derald Wing Sue
Multicultural scholar Derald Wing Sue

Lawrence’s inaugural diversity conference — “Teaching All Students Well: Preparing an Educated Citizenry for Wise Participation in a Diverse Democracy” — will be held Aug. 17-18 on the Lawrence campus.

The conference is organized by Kimberly Barrett, vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty, and the professional development committee of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs.

The conference is designed to help all educators strengthen their individual learning communities through effective and inclusive teaching methods.

Highlighting the conference will be a keynote address by multicultural scholar Derald Wing Sue, professor of psychology and education in the department of counseling and clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Sue also holds an appointment with Columbia’s School of Social Work.

The author of 19 books, Sue has written on topics ranging from cultural diversity and psychology of racism and antiracism to multicultural competencies and racial macroaggressions. His most recent books are 2015’s “Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues in Race” and 2013’s “Case Studies in Multicultural Counseling and Therapy.”

Sue was honored by the American Psychological Foundation in 2015 with the APF’s Gold Medal for Life Achievement in Psychology in the Public Interest, an award that recognizes distinguished careers and enduring contributions to the application of psychology in the public interest.

Registration for the conference prior to June 19 is $135. From June 20 to Aug. 11, when registration closes, registration is $175. Any non-Lawrence student can attend for $25. Registration includes a networking reception, lunch and conference materials.

Interested parties can register online to attend the conference. For questions or additional information, contact Michelle Lasecki-Jahnke at 920-832-67454 or  michelle.l.lasecki-jahnke@lawrence.edu.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Diversity program aims to help individuals find “their authentic self”

Photo of Sandy Eichel
Sandy Eichel

Professional diversity and inclusion consultant Sandy Eichel leads the community program “Finding Your Voice” Wednesday, April 19 at 4:30 p.m. in Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center cinema. The event is free and open to the public.

Eichel’s presentation will focus on ways for individuals to let go of the past, break free from a life of people pleasing, build a positive future and find your “authentic self.” An engaging speaker, Eichel uses humor and her own personal vulnerabilities to broach difficult topics and expose the audience to perspectives outside of their comfort zone.

The former wife of a Lutheran pastor, a one-time professional opera singer and a consummate perfectionist, Eichel’s seemingly perfect life was anything but. When it became intolerable, she decided to change…everything.

After years of looking outside of herself for answers, she decided to focus internally and seek them from within. She changed her name and her career. She became a financial advisor and discovered an industry in which she saw much need for change. It led to her work as a leadership, diversity and inclusion consultant and facilitator.

Based in Madison, Eichel is active in a variety of nonprofit organizations, including serving on the board of O.P.E.N. (Out Professional Engagement Network), C.A.S.A. (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and MadREP (Madison.Regional Economic Partnership).

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Critical Issues Forum series explores “The Purpose of Higher Education”

A Head shot of Lawrence University President Mark Burstein
President Mark Burstein

Lawrence University President Mark Burstein leads a panel discussion examining the issues and challenges facing higher education as part of the university’s ongoing Critical Issues Forum series.

The program “The Purpose of Higher Education,” Friday, April 14 at 11:10 a.m. in the Thomas Steitz Hall of Science atrium, is free and open to the public.

A Head shot of Lawrence Provost David Burrows
Provost David Burrows

A Head shot of Lawrence vice president for diversity and inclusion Kimberly Barrett
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Kimberly Barrett

Burstein will be joined on the panel by Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Kimberly Barrett. Together they will explore the role education plays in addressing the challenges of our day and discuss university and community practices related to higher education. Audience members will be encouraged to share their perspective and opinions on the topic and their input will be used to inform future university decision making and practices.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence hosts weekend reunion for Black Alumni Network

A photo of Lawrence University alumna.Lawrence University welcomes members of its Black Alumni Network to campus Sept. 30-Oct. 2 for its second reunion. The weekend-long event is designed to provide opportunities to reconnect with former classmates and the college as well as interact with current students.

“This reunion provides a wonderful opportunity for Lawrence to support this engaged and successful group of graduates,” said Kimberly Barrett, vice president of diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty. “It also provides a way for these individuals to give back to the institution by contributing to the success of current students, particular those who identify as African-American.

Alumni attending the reunion can relive their college days by sitting in on one of three Fall Term classes with current students: “Democracy in Comparative Perspective,” “Introduction to Gender Studies” and “Literature and the Environment.”

Other reunion activities include campus tours, a lunch with small group conversations addressing campus issues related to identity development and diversity with Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for diversity and students, a screening of author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 Lawrence convocation “Race in America: A Deeper Black” followed by group discussion and a Diversity Circle program offering a contemporary approach to diversity training moderated by current Lawrence students.

A photo of Lawrence University alumnus.As part of the weekend festivities, the president and other senior administrators will join the alumni for lunch on Oct. 1, members of Lawrence’s Black Student Union will host an open house at Sankofa House for the alumni Saturday evening and members of the President’s Committee on Diversity Affairs will host a question-and-answer session in conjunction with a Sunday brunch.

“Those attending the reunion will be able to share key insights with university administrators to assist in our efforts to create a more inclusive Lawrence,” said Barrett. “I feel extremely fortunate to have access to this brain trust to inform my work as I begin my tenure at Lawrence as the college’s first chief diversity officer.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Young alumni-driven crowdfunding initiative looks to enhance Lawrence Diversity Center

A $10,000 crowdfunding effort to support Lawrence University’s Diversity Center and enhance campus life for students is in the home stretch.

Diversity-Ccenter_newsblog-3Organized by the Viking Gift Committee and led by Lawrence alumni Erin Campbell Watson ’09 and Gayatri Malhotra ’14, the effort is targeting young alumni in an effort to help current and future Lawrentians. The campaign, which runs through Monday, April 18, has generated nearly $2,600 to date.

“We thought it would be meaningful to explore fundraising opportunities related to campus inclusivity and the student organizations involved,” said Watson. “This is a powerful way for young alumni to show current students that we support them while making an impact on the campus climate that really demonstrates the meaning of our donations, no matter how small.”

Gail Watson '09
Erin Campbell Watson ’09

The Diversity Center, which will be relocating this summer from the lower level of Memorial Hall to the main floor, provides a safe, welcoming place for students to be aware, educated, and engaged with cultural competency and building a more inclusive community.  It provides resources that are often taken for granted, such as cultural support, campus wide programming, connections to student organizations, community collaborations, as well as a comfortable space that is “home” for many students.

The Diversity Center currently has one full-time staff member, a part-time program coordinator and 18 student workers. An additional full-time staff person is expected to be added this spring.

Funds raised through the crowdfunding effort will be earmarked to support professional development opportunities for student workers, provide additional educational programming to campus and establish a monetary reserve to assist students in times of emergency need. In addition, they will enhance the environment of the new location with artwork and visuals to represent a transparent diverse community.

Pa Lee Moua
Pa Lee Moua

“As our Lawrence community continues to grow and become more diverse, we also need to enhance the necessary resources and services that foster student success,” said Pa Lee Moua, associate dean of students for multicultural affairs. “The Diversity Center is much more than a department or location. For many, it’s home. It’s a supportive community. It’s personal growth. It’s leadership development. It’s education, awareness and knowledge, which are all essential components in retention and overall academic success.”

All donations go directly to the Diversity Center’s annual budget. They will not count as a gift to the Lawrence Fund. For more information, contact Kari Swason, assistant director of annual giving, 920-842-7307 or kari.e.swanson@lawrence.edu.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.