News Release

College of Education and Human Development sponsors 'Conversations on Diversity Nov. 4 and 6

Contact: Christina Chapple


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s College of Education and Human Development will present its fourth “Conversations on Diversity” series Nov. 4 and 6.

     The free series, which is open to the public, is designed to give students the opportunity to expand their understanding of other cultures, said Dean Diane Allen.

     “By broadening our students’ horizons, we are giving them the knowledge and awareness they will need as teachers to expand the horizons of their own students,” she said.

     The fall 2008 “Conversations” series will feature presentations by Felicia Blacher-Wilson, assistant professor in Southeastern’s Department of Educational Leadership and Technology, on Nov. 4, and  J. Q. Adams, professor of educational and interdisciplinary studies at Western Illinois University, on Nov. 6.

     The one-hour presentations will take place in the Cate Teacher Education Center lecture hall, room 1022.

     Adams, who co-directs the Expanding Cultural Diversity Project at WIU, will present “Diversity: Teaching Racially and Ethnically Diverse Students” at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. For more than 25 years, he has worked extensively in the area of multicultural education as a consultant, presenter, and curriculum development specialist in K-12 schools and school systems as well as colleges, universities, and community organizations. In 2004 he was named Outstanding Teacher in the WIU College of Education and Human Services.

     Adams designed the PBS telecourse “Dealing with Diversity,” which is taught at more than 150 colleges and universities nationwide. A member of the WIU faculty since 1988, he is co-director of the Illinois Cultural Diversity Association housed at Western, which is part of an Expanding Cultural Diversity Project supported by a Higher Education Cooperation Act grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

     Adams is co-editor of “Cultural Diversity: Curriculum, Classroom and Climate” and co-director of an annual statewide diversity institute. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies and psychology from Grand Valley State College, a master’s degree in alternative education and psychology from Indiana University and doctoral degree in educational psychology from the University of Illinois.

     Blacher-Wilson, who joined the Southeastern faculty in 2007, will share her recent trip to Africa in “A View from the Outside: The Culture, People and Schools of Senegal and the Gambia.”

     Blacher-Wilson, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Xavier University and doctoral degree at Iowa State University, made a 20-day trip to Africa last August to learn more about the country and the Fulani tribe of her paternal ancestors.

     “I want to share what I saw, focusing on the children in schools in West Africa,” she said. Traveling from Senegal to the Gambia, Blacher-Wilson visited more than a dozen schools, where she found “deplorable” conditions.

     “In many cases the schools were not even a good hut,” she said. “There were dirt floors, no facilities or electricity. At the ‘Computer School,’ they were still waiting for computers.”

     Before coming to Southeastern, Blacher-Wilson served as an assistant professor at Xavier University, dean of the division of education at Dillard University, associate dean of students at ITT Technical Institute and director of education at the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans and the New Orleans Children’s Museum. She also has extensive administrative and teaching experience in New Orleans public schools and in the states of Missouri, North Carolina and Iowa.

     For additional information on “Conversations on Diversity,” contact the College of Education and Human Development, 985-549-2218.

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