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CCI Diversity & Inclusion Week 2011

DIArtPanelNearly 1,100 students, faculty, staff and community members attended CCI Diversity and Inclusion Week panels and workshops along with a Diversity Festival from September 18-22.
“We were very pleased with the quality and level of participation in this year’s program,” said Alice Wirth, director of Diversity and Inclusion for the college and chair of the Week’s Planning Committee. “Our keynoter, Joetta Clark Diggs, was superb. We have certainly set a high bar for next year.”
Four-time Olympian and former Lady Vol Joetta Clark Diggs’s keynote,* “Determined to Reach Your Destiny,” provided an inspirational start to the week. “When I came to this school, we had women in charge and we were winning,” Clark Diggs said. “They showed you could be successful and have character.”
Panel and workshop sessions throughout the week included: “Everybody Has a Story,” “Understanding Diversity,” “Building Spiritual Communities of Acceptance,” “Negotiating Workplace Differences,” “Open Forum on Diversity and Inclusion,” “On Campus Stories of Empowerment,” “Freedom Riders: The Journey Continues,”  “Diversity and Self Expression: The Body as a Canvas,” and “Breaking Boundaries through Music”.
The Freedom Riders panelists with Alice Wirth
During the “Freedom Riders: The Journey Continues” panel, attendees heard from civil rights pioneers: Theotis Robinson, UT vice president of equity and diversity; Robert Booker, historian and columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel; Avon Rollins, Sr., CEO and Director of the Beck Cultural Center; and Civil Rights Attorney Harry Wiersema; along with UTK undergraduate Jayanni Webster. As panelists shared their stories, audience members were treated to a lively discussion and thought-provoking dialog. As one attendee noted, “this was a great session. Every time someone spoke, it was like having someone turn my head to help me see another point-of-view.”
Chefs Gross, Morrison and Bates prepare the feast!Helping students look at issues and ideas through someone else’s eyes is one of the key goals of CCI’s Diversity and Inclusion Week. Gaining a better understanding of all types of diversity and becoming more aware of the importance of including “everyone at the table” will have a very positive impact on how students think and interact with those around them. It will also help prepare them for the real world.The culminating event for Diversity and Inclusion Week was a Diversity Festival with an all-college barbecue and cookout on the lawn of Circle Park. Music, entertainment, games and a WUTK remote provided a relaxed atmosphere for CCI students, faculty and staff to talk, eat and enjoy each other’s company.
*Press coverage of Joetta Clark Diggs’ keynote can be found at: – writer John Painter,; – writer John Shearer,; and – writer Wendy Smith,