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2015 CCI Diversity and Inclusion Week

Chris Geidner The College of Communication and Information hosted its sixth annual Diversity and Inclusion Week September 28 – October 1.
More than 1,100 participants joined the discussions, dialogue and learning across the week’s 9 sessions, two keynotes and the Diversity Festival. The 2015 theme was “Unifying and Transforming Our World” with daily sub-themes of Unifying and Transforming: “Our Self,”  “Our Home,” “Our Community” and “Our Workplace.”  

San Jose State Professor Jason Laker delivered the first keynote address, “To Transform, Seek First to Understand,” on Monday, September 28. As part of his keynote, Laker asked attendees to consider including the following items in their transformation toolbox: self-awareness, attention (listening, watching, perceiving, intuiting), head (thinking and scheming), hands (strength, technical commitment, agility), heart (courage (confronting fear), resonance, compassion), voice (speaking, writing, expressing), “stick-to-itiveness” (persistence) and resilience (the ability to heal and continue on through pain).
Chris Geidner, legal editor and award winning journalist, delivered the week’s second keynote, “Diversity Is Essential,” on Wednesday, September 30. He shared why a white guy from Ohio has decided that diversity is essential while talking about the 5 “W’s” and the “H” of journalism (i.e., who, what, where, when, why and how). Here are some twitter quotes and comments about Geidner’s presentation.

  • UT Vice Chancellor for Diversity Rickey Hall – “If you are avoiding diversity, you are missing America.”
  • JEM Associate Professor Erin Whiteside – “Most important role a journalist can play is telling a story that is not being told.”
  • UT Director of Student Media Rachel McClelland,– “@chrisgeidner to @UTKDailyBeacon: “Reporting with authority requires awareness, intentionality and leadership.”

Remarks by Knoxville Deputy Police Chief Nate Allen and UT Chief of Police Troy Lane highlighted the “Diversity and Law Enforcement in a Post-Ferguson World” panel. Allen and Lane provided students with advice on how to behave if they are stopped by the police and emphasized that their primary goal in these types of interactions should be “to go home safely at the end of the night.”
Other panels included: Self-Identity in a Celebrity World; Who Am I: What Do Genes, Ethnicity, Religion and Socio-Economic Class Have to Do with It?; Diversity and Inclusion: Lessons Learned from Home; Diversity and Inclusion at UT: Unifying and Transforming Our Campus Home; Coming to America: Immigration and Inclusion in the 21st Century; Social Media Etiquette in the Workplace; Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities; and an open forum on Overcoming Life Changing Challenges: How to Find Help at UT and Beyond.
The week ended with the CCI Diversity Festival in the Communications Building featuring a barbecue along with a kaleidoscope of cultural dance, music and performances. Student organizations were present to share information about themselves and to interact with those attending the festival. The rich diversity of entertainment and activities was a visual representation of all the educational topics covered during the week. Due to rain, this year’s festival utilized the new CCI patio, lobby and front portico. It was very successful with great interaction and an energetic crowd despite the weather.
WBIR anchor Robin Wilhoit, UT President DiPietro
“Topping off the week with the CCI Diversity Festival was a real highlight,” said Alice Wirth, Diversity and Inclusion Week chair. “All the weeks of planning and preparation culminated with this extraordinary celebration of our differences and our common humanity. We worked hard during the week and learned a great deal about how to unify and transform ourselves, our homes, our campus community and our workplace.”