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CCI’s Diversity and Inclusion Week Fosters Dialogue

Dean Wirth, Vice Chancellor Rickey Hall and Alice Wirth“Does Diversity Really Matter?” was the theme of CCI’s 2013 Diversity and Inclusion Week, September 30 to October 3.More than 1,100 people attended this year’s event  with many CCI classes participating in the sessions, workshop, forum and keynote address.

The four-day event featured panel discussions on a wide range of diversity and inclusion issues. Rickey Hall, UT vice chancellor for diversity, delivered the keynote address, “Does Diversity Really Matter?

The week concluded with the annual CCI Diversity Festival in Circle Park. The festival included a barbecue, music, dance, a photo booth, and performances by students from the college and Knoxville area entertainers. Click here to see the complete program.

“Diversity and Inclusion Week is an all-college event that allows us to come together to celebrate and discuss diverse ideas and concepts across a broad array of issues,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “The sessions stress the importance of dialogue, open–mindedness, and inclusion as important tools for solving problems and building communities.”

Seven panels plus a workshop and an open forum took place throughout the week in the Patrick Auditorium and Scripps Convergence Lab.

Discussion topics included:

  • “Accepting Each Other,” featuring panels on families & diversity and profiling.
  • “Working Together,” with sessions on diversity in public policy and in the workplace, plus an open forum on diversity and inclusion.
  • “The Mediasphere,” with discussions on diversity in both traditional media and the emerging world of social media.
  • “The Power of Words,” with a workshop on hate speech and a panel on humor and diversity.

“Understanding how to work and interact with those who are different from us is a critical part of being successful in the workplace,” said Alice Wirth, chair of the college’s Diversity and Inclusion Week planning committee and a lecturer in the School of Communication Studies. “This week, along with everything else we are doing in the diversity area, helps provide our students with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully enter and thrive in an increasingly diverse workplace.”

All sessions were free and open to the public and can be viewed in the Diversity & Inclusion Week section of