NFO 2006: Diversity Panel - Part 3


Uploaded by facdevEIU on 25.04.2011

Transcript:
So I am really excited and looking forward
to what's to come.
Jeanie?
Gene.
Oh, Gene.
Yes, my name is Gene Deerman in Sociology and I've come today
with a piece of advice, which is sort of two sided.
On the one side because so many of us came to Eastern because
we're passionate about teaching, we're excited about the kinds of
students we're going to find in our classrooms here.
I want to offer a gentle reminder, students are not
our reference group.
We spend a lot of time as first year faculty with students
and we want them to like us and we want them to come
to office hours and do well in our classes and we want them
to offer us good evaluations end of the term,
but they are not our reference group.
We have to allow a space that says I have goals as
an educator, I will do my best to achieve those goals
as an educator, but what they think of me is irrelevant.
And I'm offering that to you in the context of diversity because
regardless of how you bring it up, regardless of how adept you
are at doing this, how sensitive you are, how enthusiastic,
charming, funny you are in the classroom, there are going
to be students who don't take it well.
To remember that, we have a distance between our students,
they are not our reference group.
The other side of that is, in central Illinois, which I adore.
My partner is here making a thriving business in Sullivan,
the whitest town I've ever lived in my entire life.
We love Sullivan, we love Illinois, my colleagues
at Eastern are fantastic.
And yet I have these experiences where, for example,
at the Mushroom Festival, in Sullivan, I was sick
to my stomach, it was so not me.
It was just so not me.
And it hurt, it made me sick to my stomach and it reminded me
that one of our obligations to ourselves is to seek out
and indulge in activities, events, people that reaffirm us
and our heritage.
If you're Mexican American, Latino, love Mexican food,
go to Arcola.
There's a queer student group on campus for those of us who want
to be mentors and role models for the queer students
on campus.
If it's your church, seek out the right congregation for you.
Whatever it is you need to seek out and indulge in regularly,
those activities that affirm your heritage.
Excellent advice.
Thank you.
Because you just naturally long for it.
I was going home, quite honestly, every weekend.
Every weekend God sent, I was out of here.
But gas is higher and I had to find another way, but I do plan
purposefully my weekends.
So no, I don't run to Milwaukee or Memphis every weekend now.
My parents live in Memphis, my siblings are in Milwaukee.
I'm centrally located, I can go--isn't that nice?
I will tell you, but it is healthy, I totally agree
with Gene to do that.
Get out of Charleston, but come back.
Retention, I'm to retain faculty.
I just want to add something to Gene.
What the Office of Minority's Affairs is the first week
of class those faculty and staff of color that are new this year
will be receiving a packet.
Now please don't think if you're not a faculty or staff of color
that you can't get the content, but we do have directories
in with some of the cultural restaurants
in the surrounding area.
We have restaurants in Champaign, we have restaurants
in Decatur, Arcola, those types of place where you can get
your hair done, you're hair cut, that kind of thing.
We do have that available for all faculty and staff,
but we give it primarily to new faculty on their first week
just so they'll know places that they can go, but everyone
is welcome to come by and get a copy of it.
I want to also say, Gene said something very powerful.
You're faculty, your colleagues that you will connect with
on campus will be wonderful resources for you.
It was Dr. Bill Weber who looked up my make-up, the nearest
location I could find, so I wouldn't go back to Memphis
and Milwaukee every weekend whenever I needed something.
They will be wonderful resources for you, so I now can
get it in Indy.
Well that's less gas money and less travel time.
But it's little things that you don't think about
for a person of color.
I can't get my hair done in Charleston.
Now I did find me somebody through the Student Life.
Ceci Brinker connected me with somebody in Champaign and now
I have a person who can do my hair in Champaign.
They also have an African American male who comes
and does hair both for males and females on Tuesday
in our University Union.
Oh, that's good to know.
I'm David Radavich and I'm in the English Department
and I've also been active in the leadership of UPI,
the faculty union, for a number of years and I was president
from 2000 to 2003.
And what I'd like to talk about is we have wonderful resources
in my opinion for mentoring and nuturing our minority students,
our diverse population of students.
However, we have always had that for faculty.
And one of the things I learned as Faculty Union President,
a lot of the problems that arose, that came to me,
had to do with miscommunication.
And along the way this could be, and part of it could be,
miscommunication with students, the kind of students we have
here, if someone comes in from another culture and has some
trouble negotiating or listening or reading the way students
are here.
Some of it is reading the colleagues in your department
and how they read you and being alert to danger signals
or difficulties that could be there.
And I don't think we've always been as nurturing a campus
as we could be and so I would strongly, strongly encourage
you to find the mentors you need who can help you.
Either through the Mentoring Circles Program, find mentors
in your department who can help you in learning to read your
students a little better and also read your colleagues
and the university because I'm not from the Midwest region.
And, by the way, this applies not only to visible minorities,
but there are a lot of invisible minorities
and I don't just mean gay/lesbian.
A lot of people come here who are not from the Midwest or not
from the nice part of the Midwest and they may miss.
Even in our students you will find in the classroom that we
have a group of students from the Chicago area,
we have the Chicago suburbs, we have the inner city,
and we have downstate.
These are different cultures.
And you may even have to mediate in your classroom
with the different cultures in that classroom.
And then if you come from another part of the country,
you may need some time to learn to read the signals
that are being sent to you.
So I would encourage you to find mentors who can help you
with that process.
Thank you, excellent advice.
You are?
My name is Darrel Enck-Wanzer, I am an instructor
in the Department of Communication Studies.
I'm also the secretary of the Latino/Latin American
Studies Committee.
I've been sitting here thinking about, you know, what is it that
I want to say, how do I want to approach what I want to say.
And I decided to settle with a representative anecdote.
And the anecdote goes like this.
My first semester here, as I assume happens every year,
the University Police publish a report on hate crimes on campus.
And lo and behold, we had none, we had a hate-free campus
in 2004.
And the impression that the article gave was and I'm racking
my brain trying to figure out if it was explicitly stated or not,
this was in the Daily Eastern News, but the impression given
was basically, there really isn't racism here.
It's all good, alright.
And the problem with that, which I think is a kind of
common attitude amongst a lot of the student and other folks
here in the community, is that because there isn't,
because we don't have these big examples of racism, right,
someone beating somebody else up because they're black,
or Puerto Rican, or Asian, or gay, alright.
Which does happen, by the way, even if it's not in the report.