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Diversity Dialogues continue to engage at Cuyamaca College

Posted on: Sep 8, 2014 1:00:00 AM
In: Cuyamaca
Contact: Della Elliott (619) 644-7690

The power of music. People of different generations working together. Disabilities that go unrecognized. Talking to your kids about diversity.

These topics and more will be covered over the fall semester in six workshops at Cuyamaca College’s Diversity Dialogues, a series now in its third year that focuses on a variety of diversity awareness and social justice issues.

The hour-long workshops have become well established venues for discussions and exercises opening people’s eyes to the unique qualities of wide-ranging communities. The workshops, held in Room 207 in the student center, are free and open to the public.

Kicking off the series for the fall semester is “The SongStream Project: Building Empathy and Community at the Intersection of Story and Song.” The Sept. 17 workshop from 12:30-1:30 p.m. features a San Diego-based non-profit envisioned by its founders as a mobile recording studio that travels around, gathering stories related in some fashion to music.

Co-founders Michael Fryer and Talia Morales, a board-certified music therapist, will give a presentation that will include songs and a discussion of the role of music and stories in building empathy and awareness of key social issues. Past shows put on by the arts group have covered issues such as autism and mental health.

Professional development consultant and training instructor Victoria Hankins leads “Generational Diversity,” from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, focusing on the multigenerational workplace. For the first time in American history, four generations are working side by side, creating challenges including communication issues, differing workplace values, and misconceptions about workplace motivators.

The workshop will define the differences between the four generations and will provide tips on how to effectively work with cross-generational teams.

“Diverse Capacities,” presented by Mariko Peshon, a Leadership Studies instructor at the University of San Diego, takes place from 11 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Oct. 15.

This workshop focuses on the physical, emotional, and social abilities and disabilities that often go unrecognized and are not accommodated. How they affect people’s interactions and the communities’ social systems will be discussed.            A third workshop, “Finding Your Voice in the Social Justice Movement,” will be held from 11 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Oct. 21.

In this interactive workshop to be led by Kenyon Whitman, another Leadership Studies instructor at USD, participants will explore how they develop their own leadership style. Participants will learn about important social justice-related concepts, in addition to learning creative ways to effectively communicate in diverse groups.

“Leadership and Diversity” is the topic of the Thursday, Nov. 6, workshop set for 10:30-11:30 a.m. Presenting will be Cynthia Davalos, who has a doctorate in Leadership Studies at USD and has conducted extensive research in the field of diversity and leadership.

Davalos, special assistant to the vice chancellor of Student Affairs at the University of California, San Diego, will lead a discussion on how the diversity issue is approached in the workplace and will cover the various models of diversity operating in higher education. Attendees will learn how to incorporate diversity and inclusion in their leadership strategies and create a more welcoming and inclusive space.

The fall workshop series closes Wednesday, Nov. 12, with a 1:30- to 2 p.m. workshop on how to talk to children about differences and how to help youngsters develop a positive attitude toward diversity. “Differences are Delightful: How to Talk with Your Children About Diversity” will be led by Kristin Zink, the department chair and instructor for Child Development at Cuyamaca College.

The workshops reflect the college’s commitment to respecting and celebrating the rich cultural diversity of its students and staff, Cuyamaca College President Mark J.  Zacovic said. Attendance at the interactive workshops has grown to more than 400 participants last semester.

“The fabric of today’s society is multilayered and its colors are richly diverse,” Zacovic said. “These complex textures are also reflected in our student population and we celebrate and respect the diversity. It is our differences that draw us together and make Cuyamaca College such a special place.”

Students who attend at least three of the fall and spring semester workshops earn a Diversity and Leadership certificate and will be recognized at a student leaders reception in May 2015. Certificate earners transferring to San Diego State University earn credit toward the SDSU Multicultural Competency Certificate offered through the university’s Cross Cultural Center.

Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in the community of Rancho San Diego.

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