Cultural Diversity Symposium at UGA set for February 7

ATHENS, Ga. – Michael Thurmond, Georgia labor commissioner, will be the keynote speaker at a day-long cultural diversity symposium organized by the University of Georgia Center for Humanities and Arts. The symposium, an administrative special topics workshop titled “Cultural Diversity at the University of Georgia in the 21st Century,” will explore the educational and social benefits of cultural diversity in higher education and will identify how the university can make diversity a part of its character.

“Our target audience is really university faculty and administration, but we’re not excluding anyone,” said Betty Jean Craige, director of CHA. “Our purpose is to brainstorm about steps we can take to make the university a truly more integrated institution and to look at how we can make it more hospitable to all races, genders and cultures.” Craige said the participants of the symposium are from a variety of backgrounds and the committee identified each as having something important to contribute. Delmer Dunn, vice president for instruction, said the symposium would help stimulate a dialogue with faculty on the meaning of diversity and how it’s related to the education of students.

The symposium will be held Feb. 7 and will last from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. Patricia Carmichael of J.P. Morgan Chase will deliver the luncheon address; Dunn will give opening and closing remarks.

Included in the schedule are two panel discussions, “What is Cultural Diversity” and “UGA at the Crossroads.” The panels and moderators consist of the following UGA faculty: Rodney Bennett, interim associate provost for institutional diversity; Lioba Moshi, director of the African Studies Institute; Han Park, director of the Center for the Study of Global Issues; Eve Troutt-Powell, assistant professor of history; Jace Weaver, associate professor of religion; Rob Shewfelt, professor of food science and technology; Deryl Bailey, assistant professor of professional studies; Fausto Sarmiento, director of the Office of International Education; and Karen Webb, associate director of admissions.

Craige cited Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the first African American admitted to UGA and now the head of CNN’s news bureau in Johannesburg, as an inspiration for the symposium.

The symposium is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Institutional Diversity and the Office of the Vice President for Instruction.