Making Excellence Inclusive is more than just a phrase at UW-Superior, it is a priority. It is a belief that is put into practice daily on campus and in the community. Alvin (Chip) Beal, the diversity coordinator at UW-Superior has announced the MEI grant recipients for this year and explains a little bit about each program. Here are a few short examples of how Making Excellence Inclusive is put into practice at UW-Superior:
1. Wing Young Huie workshop: During Welcome Week 2014, Wing Young Huie will give a presentation on his provocative photography work to the incoming freshman class. The students will break up into smaller groups for Chalk Talk workshops, and take pictures of each other. Their images will be printed and posted throughout campus.
From Wing's website: "Workshop participants pair with someone in the room they are unfamiliar with, ask each other questions, choose each others' answer, and then write that answer down on black construction paper with white chalk. Participants then photograph each other with their chalkboards. This intimate and non-confrontational interaction addresses issues of bias, challenging preconceptions of the other and one's self."
Persons submitting proposal: Beth Austin, Jen Bird, Chip Beal, Mary Lee Nichols, Khalil "Haji" Dokhanchi, Joel Sipress, Susie Isaksen
Amount funded: $2,000
2.Superior Interaction: Superior Interaction is a University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS) student-run theatre performance with a mission to use theatre as a tool to explore diversity issues that deeply affect our college campus. UWS students write and perform theatre works to increase awareness of campus issues regarding diversity, with a specific focus on inclusion. The final performance will be presented in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Affairs as a "Diversity Dialogue," with a target show date of mid-April, 2014.
Participating students are actor-educators of positive change who work to learn and teach about diversity and inclusion. Rehearsals are split between two activities: 1) diversity and inclusion training, and 2) theatre rehearsals that both create scripts out of improvisation and rehearse for final performance. The resulting script is grounded in our shared experiences as UWS students and based on real issues currently facing our community.
Person submitting proposal: Simona Simkins, Graduate Student in Communicating Arts
Amount funded: $1,740
3. Learning Circle: The Social Work Program wants to initiate a Learning Circle, to take place between January and May 2014, in which they invite other faculty and staff from the helping professions and disciplines at UW-Superior, particularly counseling and education. The intent of this Learning Circle will be to lead us to make individual and classroom changes that incorporate an anti-racism perspective. The book Racism in the United States: Implications for the Helping Professions will be the foundational content for the circle. This book is taught from a critical race theory perspective and is intended to help those in the "helping professions" recognize racism and then actively resist it. As a program, we want to increase the extent that we are relevant to the diversity of students, aware of how our privilege manifests in the classroom, and ways in which we are preparing students to provide culturally relevant services.
Group submitting proposal: Social Work Program - Dr. Lynn Amerman Goerdt, Dr. Monica Roth Day
Amount funded: $766
4. Soul Food Dinner: This event is sponsored by the Black Student Union. . The Soul Food Dinner is a night in which we invite the entire campus to sample home-style foods popular in African American culture. This event serves as a great way of bringing out students to socialize with people they normally wouldn't as well as functioning as a catalyst for more racial sensitivity on campus, creating a stronger respect, not just for African-Americans, but people of all colors. This event is free to the public and is open to the Twin Ports community at large.
Group submitting proposal: Black Student Union, Yoel Yohannes (President)
Amount Funded: $2,000
5.First Nation Center 25th Anniversary Celebration: This project will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the First Nations Center on the UW-Superior campus with week-long activities for campus and the community. The theme for this celebration is going to be 25 years of Indian Education. We will coordinate our efforts with the Alumni Association to contact former students and faculty, staff, and community. Activities will include an Alumni dinner-feast, Powwow demonstration-dancing, and guest speaker during the feast.
Group submitting proposal: Circle of Native Nations, Alex Gokee, Cyntia Bilges, and Gary Johnson (advisor)
Amount funded: $1,494
6.You Can Play: UW-Superior You Can Play project will incorporate all athletic teams in a video that communicates a message of inclusion for our campus. The project is intended to show that every person at UW-Superior has the right to experience unconditional positive regard as a member of the community, no matter their sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender… The goals of this project are to 1) educate campus about the world of individuals who are LGBT, 2) send a message of acceptance and safety to our student athletes and beyond, 3) participate in a national campaign designed to raise awareness for human rights, and 4) model the way for other universities in WI and MN to support these efforts.
Group/Person submitting proposal: Athletic Department, Steve Nelson
Amount Funded: $1,000
7.Men's Retreat: Men's Retreat for spring 2014, a three-day, two-night retreat/conference at Camp Amnicon in South Range, Wisconsin. It is open to students at UW-Superior who identify as male or genderqueer (no gender). The costs of the event will be kept low so the retreat will be free for students. Staff and faculty will be required to pay $99 each, which is the cost of the lodging and food for the weekend.
The weekend will include diversity training, conversations about outreach, and how masculinity stops men from being supportive of feminist causes. The diversity training will be Superior Allies training developed by the Gender Equity Resource Center. It is 3-4 hours of training in the exhaustive nature of diversity and will give the participants tools to be a more effective ally and be able to confront discrimination they encounter.
Group submitting proposal: Gender Equity Resource Center, Debbie Cheslock Program Director
Amount Funded: $1,000