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CCI Diversity & Inclusion Week 2014

Festival signThe College of Communication and Information celebrated its 5th annual Diversity and Inclusion Week Sept. 22-25. Total in person attendance plus live video stream viewership was more than 2,300.
The week featured a keynote address by San Diego County Library Director Jose Aponte on Sept. 24 along with lively panel discussions focused on a variety of important topics designed to foster introspection and personal growth with respect to diversity and inclusion (see for a complete list of CCI Diversity Week panels and participants).
Jose AponteAponte’s keynote, delivered to a large audience at UT’s McClung Museum Auditorium, was both entertaining and educational. His talk focused on the week’s theme, “Mapping Your Journey,” within the context of “mystery, purpose and autonomy.” He included examples of how he uses creative problem solving to deal with difficult management issues while continuing to focus on diversity and inclusion goals. Aponte’s keynote along with videos from all of the sessions can be found at
The Knoxville News Sentinel published an article written by Free Lance Contributor Victor Lee that covered a number of the ideas shared during the “Sports and Stereotypes” panel session (moderated by JEM Assistant Professor Erin Whiteside and featuring Lady Vol basketball player Cierra Burdick, Cumulus Broadcasting Sports Director Jimmy Hyams, Knoxville News Sentinel Sports Editor Phil Kaplan, and UT Knoxville Senior Associate Athletics Director Donna Thomas). The article can be found at
The grand finale was once again the Diversity Festival in Circle Park featuring barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs, Henna painting, a variety of cultural performances, and appearances by Smokey, Smokey Jr., and the UT dance squad. Smokey in the Park
“The educational content delivered through this year’s keynote and panel sessions was outstanding,” said Alice Wirth, chair of the CCI Diversity and Inclusion Week Planning Committee and a lecturer in the School of Communication Studies. “We achieved our goal of providing CCI students, faculty, staff and the UT Knoxville community with an inspirational and informative week designed to advance their understanding of and appreciation for diversity and inclusion.”
“CCI’s 5th annual Diversity and Inclusion Week was a rousing success,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “It continues to play a key role in helping us operationalize the CCI Diversity Statement (see below) as we prepare our students for the global workplace.”
CCI Diversity Statement
“CCI recognizes and values diversity. Exposing students to diverse people, ideas and cultures increases opportunities for intellectual inquiry, encourages critical thinking, and enhances communication and information competence. When all viewpoints are heard, thoughtfully considered, and respectfully responded to, everyone benefits. Diversity and fairness unite us with the wider professional and global community.”