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Diversity Dialogues workshop series begins at Cuyamaca College

Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 11:00:00 AM
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Contact: Della Elliott (619) 644-7690 della.elliott@gcccd.edu

 A semester-long workshop series that each year draws hundreds of students at Cuyamaca College and encourages them to embrace diversity kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 4, with a discussion of Chaldean culture and traditions.

The interactive workshop -- the first of six scheduled this fall --  will focus on the origin, culture, practices, and traditions of Chaldeans in the world, and specifically in San Diego.  Leading the 11 a.m.-noon workshop will be Sami Jihad, an outreach specialist for the Admissions and Records Office at Cuyamaca College. The college in Rancho San Diego enrolls many Chaldean students because of the large Iraqi refugee population in East County.

The Diversity Dialogues -- all free and open to the public -- focus on a variety of diversity awareness and social justice topics. Students who attend at least three of the semester workshops earn a Diversity and Leadership certificate that can be used by those transferring to San Diego State University to earn credit toward the SDSU Multicultural Competence requirement. All workshops, with the exception of one on Sept. 9, are in Room I-207 in the student center. The one on Sept. 9 takes place in Room I-104.

To provide students an opportunity to further delve into diversity issues, the college this fall has developed the Cultural Competency Institute, a series of additional workshops created by Tanis Starck, director of the San Diego State University Cross-Cultural Center.

The hourlong workshops are designed to give students a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures, construct environments that foster cultural learning, and to apply principles of cultural competency to personal, professional or academic life. Students who complete three of the five workshops will receive a cultural competency certificate and will receive recognition at a student leadership ceremony in May.

“As an institution where diversity is a defining virtue, Cuyamaca College embraces the Diversity Dialogues series and the Cultural Competency Student Institute as valuable learning opportunities,” President Mark J. Zacovic said. “These conversational workshops are created to bring us together and to understand better our roles and responsibilities in the global community."

Diversity Dialogues workshops are set for:

  • 1:30-2:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9: “Diversity at Work,” a presentation by Victoria Hankins, a professional development consultant and training instructor. The workshop will introduce participants to the many dimensions of diversity that may impact the workplace, including age, race, gender, disability, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.  Students will also explore how personal culture shapes values, assumptions, behaviors, and expectations.

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26: “Social Justice,” an interactive workshop in which participants will learn about social justice-related concepts, as well as effective communication skills working in diverse groups. Leading the workshop will be Grace Bagunu, a UC San Diego doctorate student who puts on seminars on communication and leadership skills at the university.

  • 10-11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2: Standing in Solidarity: Supporting the Interests of Students on Campus” will explore why some students find a campus environment unwelcoming. Participants will discuss strategies to enhance student culture that may also include the formation of alliances. The presenter, Wendy Craig, assistant dean of Extended Opportunity Programs and Services at Cuyamaca College, in recent months completed her dissertation on how white student allies can support the interests of minority students on campus.

  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8: “Cultural Narratives” is a workshop in which participants will discover and reflect on their own cultural self-awareness and begin writing their personal cultural narrative. Participants will also explore the impact of diversity on a college campus. Shaila Mulholland is an assistant professor in the College of Education at San Diego State University who has conducted extensive research in the area of diversity.

  • 12:30-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7: “Making Spaces Safe: Introduction to Safe Zones” will be led by Conor McLaughlin, a doctoral student at the University of San Diego’s School of Leadership who has extensive Student Affairs experience at colleges throughout the country. This workshop will focus on the importance of creating safe spaces on college campuses and will include discussion on the elements and structures necessary to create a safe zones training program. 

For additional information on the Diversity Dialogue Program, contact Lauren Vaknin, associate dean of Student Affairs at Cuyamaca College, at (619) 660-4295.

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