Debby Irving, author of “Waking Up White,” delivers the keynote address at the Fourth Annual Conference on Diversity and Inclusion.

Debby Irving, author of “Waking Up White,” delivers the keynote address at the Fourth Annual Conference on Diversity and Inclusion.

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Fourth Annual Conference on Diversity and Inclusion challenges perceptions, participants


PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – Shawnee State University hosted faculty, staff and students from numerous Tri-State colleges and universities Sept. 22 for the Fourth Annual Conference on Diversity and Inclusion. This year’s event focused on “Inclusion: Easier Said than Done?” and featured sessions focused on topics including student conversations across differences, imposter syndrome, diversity within the field of orthopedics, racial identity development and more. 

Keynote speaker Debby Irving, author of “Waking Up White,” discussed racial justice from the perspective of a community organizer and classroom teacher for 25 years without understanding racism as a systemic issue or her own whiteness as an obstacle to grapple with it in her presentation “Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race.”

“When we have vision, we can do amazing things,” Irving said. “Why then is diversity and inclusion often a roadblock to our success in companies and institutions?” Irving explored this concept in depth with participants through her unique perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners and tolerance. Irving also challenged attendees to change the way they talk about racism and to learn as much as they can about the racial justice movement.

Ohio University Southern participants included students and faculty from various disciplines and staff members. 

Conference committee member and Ohio University Southern Associate Director of Student Resource Commons Robert Pleasant said, “This conference is an incredible opportunity for students from our area colleges and universities to explore timely – sometimes challenging – conversations about diversity and inclusion. Our work is no longer just about leading awareness. Instead, conference sessions give participants the tools to make a difference in their classrooms, workplace and beyond.” 

Ohio University Southern is a co-sponsor of the event – held at a different location each year. The Fifth Annual Conference on Diversity and Inclusion is scheduled for September 2018 at Mountwest Community & Technical College in Huntington, West Virginia. 

More information about the conference is online at www.tristatediversityandinclusion.com.