College of Arts & Letters Funds DEI Initiatives
- Friday, March 26th, 2021
The College of Arts & Letters Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee at WKU awarded $3,200 in funding to departments and student organizations for DEI initiatives that closely align with the college DEI mission. From guest speakers to the creation of surveys and focus groups, all projects prioritize underrepresented minority student recruitment, retention, and sustainable curricular innovation.
“I’m glad that the committee was able to support the important work of faculty and students in their DEI efforts,” said Fabián Álvarez, Unit Leader of the College of Arts & Letters DEI Committee and instructor in the department of English. The college DEI Committee meets monthly and includes student, faculty, and staff representatives.
A complete list of projects awarded are listed below:
- History Department Student Panel (partially funded): The History Department’s Justice and Equity Committee will convene a panel of URM students who have taken HIST 101 or HIST 102, to hold frank discussions and then advise the department on ways to better serve such students. The panel’s insights and expertise will help us improve equity in our teaching. Contact: Dorothea Browder
- Guest Artist Residency: Melanie George (partial funding): Students of the WKU Dance Company worked with Melanie George, professional dance educator and choreographer, through Zoom rehearsals to restage her work ...from down here, which is rooted in jazz dance and vernacular vocabulary. Students will perform this choreography in the upcoming concert, Evening of Dance, produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance. Students also engaged in a Q&A session in which George highlighted her experience participating in the contemporary jazz dance documentary Uprooted as well as discussed topics such as racism within the history of jazz dance. Contact: Amanda Clark
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion English Department Survey and Focus Group (partially funded): Because we value diversity, equity, and inclusion, the English Department is reviewing its curriculum and practices to create an environment that students of any race find welcoming. We have purchased Barnes & Noble gift cards to help incentivize students to participate in an anonymous survey on the experiences of URM students in the department. Contact: Jessica Folk
- A discussion of beauty from a Black Feminist perspective (fully funded): The dept of Sociology and Criminology will sponsor a discussion of beauty based on an essay in “Thick and other essays” by Tressie McMillam Cottom . The event will take place on April 6 from 6-7:30 pm. Students can contact Dr. Krull (amy.Krull@wku.edu) to get a copy of the text.
- Professional Development Series (fully funded): The History Department will launch a professional development series for department members and social studies teachers in the region. Disability Studies Scholar and Critical Race Theorist Nirmala Erevelles will present, “Scenes of Subjection: Disability at the Intersections in the Carceral State,” this April. She is Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Education at University of Alabama. Contact: Audra Jennings
- Ebony Marshman Representation Public Art Work (partially funded): The Art & Design Department invites WKU alumna, Ebony Marshman to campus during fall 2021 for a multi-day event that will have a lasting impact on URM representation on campus and beyond. The event will include the creation of a painting permanently hung in the Fine Arts Center, a gallery exhibit, and a public artist talk. Contact: Kara Williams-Glenn
- The Laroche Approach (fully funded): “The Laroche Approach” seminar with Jenny Laroche brought a diverse perspective and years of professional experience to the dancers at WKU. Within her lecture series, she compiled educational and professional advice from concert dance, Broadway, and commercial work experience geared towards student success. “The Laroche Approach” prepared students for professional life experiences and career search after college. Funding for this event was provided to the National Dance Education Organization Student Chapter. Contact: Amanda Clark
- Ethnographic Research on URM Students in Undergraduate Programs(partially funded): The Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology will use the funding to hire two advanced students in their program to conduct ethnographic research on underrepresented minority students in undergraduate programs offered by the department. The baseline data will help develop programmatic initiatives to support URM students. Contact: Darlene Applegate
The College of Arts & Letters DEI Committee is committed to implementing DEI on our campus and supporting the fundamental values in the wider community, our nation, and the world. Learn more about DEI initiatives in the college at www.wku.edu/pcal/dei.php and follow @pcal_diversity on Instagram.