Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

CCI Diversity Week 2011

College of Communication and Information

Diversity & Inclusion Week: Empowering and Celebrating Yourself and Others

September 19 – 22, 2011

Program Planning Committee: Alice Bowling Wirth (Chair), Beth Cole, Asia Farmer, John Haas, Catherine Luther, Bharat Mehra, Margie Morrison, Chelsea Sanz, Kiah Simmons, Erin Whiteside, Mike Wirth, Courtney Wright

Diversity Festival Committee: Alice Bowling Wirth (Chair), Vanderbilt Brabson, Jondra Darden, Shiela Hawkins, Jacquelyn Mabry, Caitlin Newman, Eva Posner, Lauren Washington, Julian Wright, Victoria Wright, Jim Young

 “CCI Diversity and Inclusion Week: Empowering and Celebrating Yourself and Others” is targeted at all members of the CCI community with specific focus on our 1,600 undergraduate majors. The 4-day event offers participants an opportunity to gain diversity skills and knowledge along with a chance to dialogue about diversity and inclusion issues and to share best practices by bringing together leaders and experts from inside and outside the college and university. This year’s Diversity and Inclusion Week theme is “Empowering and Celebrating Yourself and Others” along with daily sub-themes consisting of Exploring Diversity,” “Building Relationships,” “Strengthening Communities on Campus,” and “Expressing Diversity through the Arts.” A keynote speech, a workshop, an open forum, 7 panels and a diversity festival will provide our students, faculty, staff and the UTK community with an inspirational and informative week designed to advance their understanding of and appreciation for diversity and inclusion. The week was made possible through funding from UTK’s Ready for the World Initiative and CCI. The schedule for CCI Diversity and Inclusion Week is as follows.

Monday, September 19 – Exploring Diversity and Inclusion

Morning Session

Topic“Everybody Has a Story”

Moderator:  Courtney Wright, Assistant Professor, School of Communication Studies


  • Rita Geier, Senior Fellow, Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and Associate to the Chancellor, University of Tennessee, Knoxille,  
  • Rob Heller, Professor, School of Journalism and Electronic Media, 
  • Lieutenant Colonel Danny M. Kelley II, Battalion Commander & Professor of Military Science, 
  • Mustapha Moussa, UTK Undergraduate

Location: Scripps Convergence Lab -COM 402

Time: 10:10 – 11:10 a.m.

Afternoon Session

Topic: “Understanding Diversity”

Workshop facilitator:  Alice Wirth, Lecturer, School of Communication Studies and Director, CCI Diversity Student Leaders Society (DSLS)


  • Jondra Darden, DSLS
  • Asia Farmer, DSLS
  • Victoria Kisluk, UTK Undergraduate
  • Frank James, III, DSLS, 
  • Lauren Wilson, DSLS

Location: CCI Auditorium -COM 321

Time: 1:25 – 2:25 p.m.


Diversity & Inclusion Week Keynote

Keynote Speaker: Joetta Clark Diggs, 4-Time Olympian; President, Joetta Sports & Beyond, LLC; Executive Director, Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation 

“Determined to Reach Your Destiny”

Location: McClung Museum Auditorium

Reception Time: 6:15 – 7:00 p.m.

Keynote Time: 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.


Tuesday, September 20 – Building Relationships

Morning Session

Topic: “Building Spiritual Communities of Acceptance”

Moderator:  Dr. Christine Shepardson, Associate Professor, UTK Department of Religious Studies


  • Jonas Holdeman, member of Rationalists of East Tennessee and Director of Camp Quest of the Smokies,
  • Dr. Jeremy McGinnis, Associate Pastor, Park West Church of God, 
  • Deborah Oleshansky, Director, UT Hillel/Jewish Student Center, 
  • Nadeem Siddiqi, Member, Muslim Community of Knoxville’s Dawah (Outreach) Committee, 
  • Rev. Jill Sizemore, Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of Knoxville

Location: Scripps Convergence Lab – COM 402

Time: 9:40 – 10:55 a.m.

Afternoon Session

Topic: “Negotiating Workplace Differences”

Moderator:  John Haas, Director, School of Communication Studies


  • Jan Brown, Senior Advisor for Diversity & Labor Relations, TVA
  • Pat Carson, Compliance Coordinator, Knox County Human Resources Department
  • Linda Cox-Collier, Regional Marketing Manager, Mercy Health Partners
  • Jennifer Richter, Associate Director, UTK Office of Equity and Diversity
  • Fernandez West, Associate Director, UTK Thornton Athletics, Student Life Center

Location: Scripps Convergence Lab – COM 402

Time: 2:10-3:25 p.m.  

Evening Session

Topic: “Open Forum on Diversity and Inclusion”

Moderators:  Victoria Kisluk, UTK Undergraduate, Julian Wright, (CCI Diversity Student Leaders Society) DSLS

Location: Scripps Convergence Lab – COM 402

Time: 5:05-6:20 p.m.


Wednesday, September 21 – Strengthening Communities on Campus

Morning Session

Topic: “On Campus Stories of Empowerment”

Moderator:  Erin Whiteside, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Electronic Media


  • Bryan Hilbert, Testing Coordinator, UTK Office of Disabilities Services
  • Annazette Houston, Director, UTK Office of Disability Services,
  • Rick Mula, UTK Undergraduate, 
  • Anton Reece, Director, UTK Student Success Center

Location: Scripps Convergence Lab – COM 402

Time: 9:05-10:05 a.m.

Afternoon Session

Topic: “Freedom Riders: The Journey Continues”

Moderator:  Theotis Robinson, Vice President, Equity & Diversity, University of Tennessee


  • Robert J. Booker, Knoxville News Sentinel Opinion Columnist, Author and Historian, 
  • Avon Rollins, Sr., Director and CEO, Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 
  • Jayanni Webster, UTK Undergraduatuate
  • Harry Wiersema, Civil Rights Attorney

Location: Scripps Convergence Lab – COM 402

Time: 2:30-3:30 p.m.  


Thursday, September 22 – Expressing Diversity through the Arts

Morning Session

Topic: “Diversity and Self Expression: The Body as a Canvas”

Moderator:  Asia Farmer, CCI Diversity Student Leaders Society (DSLS)


  • Dr. Kelly Baker, Lecturer, UTK Department of Religious Studies, 
  • Derrick Furlow, Jr., Business Entrepreneur and former UT Football Player
  • Shiela Hawkins, WUTK-FM 

Location: CCI Auditorium – COM 321

Time: 11:10-12:25 p.m.

Afternoon Session

Topic: “Breaking Boundaries through Music”

Moderator: Benny Smith, General Manager, WUTK-FM


  • Black Atticus, Knoxville Hip Hop artist and slam poet, 
  • Todd Steed, Local musician, WUOT-FM Jazz Program Director and Host of Studio 865 and Flipside, 
  • L
    ane Shuler, Hip Hop artist and slam poet from Townsend, TN, 
  • Dr. Erin Whiteside, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Electronic Media

Location: CCI Auditorium – COM 321

Time: 3:40-4:55 p.m.

Evening Festival

CCI Diversity Festival

An all-campus barbecue with diverse musical, dance, and dramatic performances; games, arts and crafts, CCI student club booths/tables, prizes, WUTK remote and more. 

Location: Circle Park

Time: 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.