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Diversity Commission Report

  • Date: September 12th, 2011
  • To: Campus Change Team
  • From: Joie Acheson Lee

Members of the Diversity Commission, Fall 2011

  • Chris Davila
  • Daniel Oyinloye
  • Danny Frank
  • Deborah Petersen-Perlman
  • Elizabeth Johnson
  • Elias Mokole
  • Hli Vangh
  • Joie Acheson Lee
  • Lisa Rigoni Reeves
  • Laura Stolle-Schmidt
  • Mary Cameron
  • Monte Gomke
  • Mikosa Redetzke
  • Paula Pedersen
  • Penny Cragun
  • Tory White
  • Trisha O'Keefe
  • Stacy Crawford
  • Shelley Smith
  • Susana Pelayo Woodward

The Diversity Commission currently meets weekly on Tuesdays at 11am in Kirby 268. Meetings are open. We have reviewed our end-of-year report, attached. The report is also posted on our website for the public. The Diversity Commission has continuously worked to improve the UMD campus climate since 1989, by bringing awareness and education on issues of equity, diversity and social justice to students, faculty, staff and the community.

Our top action steps / activities for 2011-2012 :

6B: Intercultural competence curriculum integration across all disciplines - content and delivery (Universal Design for Learning); Possible integrated intercultural effectiveness certificate; Teaching and Learning Center to advance intercultural competence in the curriculum

7A: Build sustainable UMD-Community Partnerships

Diversity Commission Timeline for Achieving these Action Steps:

  • Create Curriculum Integration Resource Web Site for UMD faculty, administration, and staff. Created Fall 2011; ongoing through Spring 2012 (see example A, B and C attached)
  • Create campus-wide theme to help develop cultural awareness among students, staff, faculty, administration and community. Begins Fall 2011 and ongoing through Spring 2012 (see examples of multiple activities, programs, and community collaborations attached.)
  • Campus and Community Performances of Pastures of Plenty: How did you come to be here? To build sustainable community -UMD partnerships. November 11th and 12th 2011 in Marshall Performing Arts Center. Collaboration campus-wide, involving students, staff, faculty, administration and community in cultural competency building and awareness of self. Created and completed Fall 2011. (see example D attached)
  • Teaching and Learning Center to advance intercultural competence in the curriculum - In-progress Fall of 2011. Shelley Smith, Paula Pedersen creating proposal to address competencies.
  • Community outreach and partnerships: In-progress Fall of 2011. Mary Cameron, Joan Sargent (community), I.V. Foster (ISD 709)

Example A.

Welcome to the UMD Diversity Commission Curriculum Integration Resource Site
Making the case

Message from Chancellor Black To Members of the UMD Campus Community,

One of my top priorities is to create a learning and working environment that embeds the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion into all aspects of our programs. We accept our fundamental obligation to regard the campus setting as a place for civil and respectful discourse and behavior.

Our success in creating an inclusive campus environment will rest to a large extent on the commitment by each member of the campus community, on his or her willingness to work diligently, respectfully, and collaboratively, and to speak up when the principles of social justice are not upheld. Where we succeed in making progress in realizing our vision of inclusiveness, we will celebrate as a community. And where we fall short, accountability and clarity will characterize our work to fulfill our responsibility as an institution where social justice is valued and realized.

I am well aware that we will not achieve this goal without broad support throughout campus. Last November, I appointed members to the Leadership Team and the Campus Change Team. Since then, Unit Change Teams have been formed at various levels across the campus. This web site serves as central location for communicating the work of these various teams, and calls for feedback and for individuals to join this collective effort. The links in the menu will lead you to these and other elements of the Campus Climate Change initiative.

The following quotation reflects my view of how we can be successful.

"Equity and diversity efforts must be led not only by people with formal authority, but also by faculty, staff, students, and administrators at every level of operation and responsibility."

(Reimagining Equity and Diversity: A Framework for Transforming the University of Minnesota)

Thank you for your cooperation and ongoing efforts to create a more inclusive campus where social justice, equity, and diversity are valued at all levels of UMD.

Model for Change

To support, advance and embed social justice values of inclusion, equity and diversity into the fabric of the University, the UMD Campus Change Team has organized its efforts around these objectives. We encourage unit change teams to adopt this model and recommend strategies, actions and goals that are aligned with these elements. We hope that this approach will facilitate collaboration and communication across units.

  • Campus Climate and Intergroup Relations
    • Develop a shared and inclusive understanding of diversity
    • Improve campus climate for all who study, work and visit the University
    • Engage external community partners, alumni and donors in developing strategies to advance inclusion, equity and diversity
  • Representation: Access and Success
    • Recruit, retain and graduate a diverse student body
    • Recruit, retain and develop a diverse faculty and staff
  • Education and Scholarship
    • Develop curricula, pedagogies, and research that foster inclusivity, accessibility and cultural competencies
  • Institutional Viability and Vitality
    • Develop leadership and management capacity around equity and diversity work
    • Coordinate organizational change to support diversity goals

(1) University of Minnesota Reimagining Equity and Diversity: A Framework for Transforming the University of Minnesota (2008?)

(2) Pennsylvania State University A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State 2010-2015 (2010)

(3) Irvine Campus Diversity Evaluation Initiative Project (2005)

Core Values of the University of Minnesota Duluth

To promote student success and to enrich the educational experience, students, staff and faculty at UMD strive to learn, work, and live in accord with the following core values:

Learning. We educate students through an integrative learning-centered environment that fosters a lifelong pursuit of wisdom.

Discovery. We discover, create, and share knowledge.

Engagement. We actively collaborate with each other and the larger community to identify and achieve common goals.

Inclusiveness. We respect and embrace the diversity of individuals, perspectives, and ideas and promote social justice.

Sustainability. We balance current environmental, economic, and social needs with those of future generations.

Integrity. We adhere to the highest ethical standards and take responsibility for our ideas and actions.

Excellence. We achieve excellence through creativity, continuous improvement, and innovation.

Campus Goals at the University of Minnesota Duluth:

Goal 1: Promote integrated curricular, co-curricular, and living-learning undergraduate experiences that achieve UMD's student learning goals and prepare students for lifelong learning, globally engaged citizenship, and success in their academic, personal, and professional lives.

Goal 2: Create a positive and inclusive campus climate for all by advancing equity, diversity, and social justice.

Goal 3: Establish UMD as a center of excellence for graduate studies in the Upper Midwest.

Goal 4: Advance UMD's stature as a major campus for research and creative activities, leveraging our region's unique natural, human, and cultural resources.

Goal 5: Strengthen ties with Duluth and surrounding communities in an intentional, visible, and mutually beneficial partnership.

Goal 6: Utilize UMD's infrastructure; technologies; and information, human and financial resources to support the campus in a sustainable manner.

"...the assertion that diversity is 'inextricably' linked to excellence-[are] supported by comprehensive research that reveals extensive advantages and benefits at educational institutions where equity and diversity are core values. An August 2004 study published in the journal Psychological Science by researchers Anthony Antonio, Mitchell Chang, Kenji Hakuta, David Kenny, Shana Levin, and Jeffrey Milem, for example, found unequivocal evidence of the positive intellectual impact on students of learning in a diverse environment. This research is part of a growing body of scholarship demonstrating that exposure to diverse people, cultures, and ideas promotes complex thinking. It does that by challenging prevailing assumptions and prejudices, and by pushing people to think in new ways about questions for which they thought they had clear and definitive answers. The dynamic cultural and intellectual transactions that occur at the intersections of diverse cultures, perspectives, and knowledge systems spur the kind of questioning and innovative thinking that advance and even define discovery and scholarly excellence." (OED, Reimagining equity and diversity, p.3)

Attachments (2)

  • Social Justice in Higher Ed-1.pdf - on Jun 23, 2011 11:44 AM by Paula Pedersen (version 1) Remove 4033k View Download
  • The Next Generation of Diversity and Intergroup Relations Research.pdf - on Aug 16, 2011 6:41 PM by Paula Pedersen (version 1) Remove

Example B.

Welcome to the UMD Diversity Commission Curriculum Integration Resource Site > Curriculum integration

Historically, students have left our colleges and universities with the ability to process information from the Eurocentric perspective. This style of acting, thinking, and doing has helped perpetuate the void that many graduates experience when dealing with issues of diversity that goes beyond stereotypic data. Consequently, it becomes incumbent on today's educators to create a learning environment that will prepare every student to deal effectively with the “coloring" of the world. However, some may say, “and so what, why should we do this? I see no real need to change, what I have done for the past 10, 15, 20 … years works!" Yet research suggests that the comprehensive integration of diversity into the pedagogy provides a world view necessary for success in the 21st century (Heuberger, Gerber & Anderson, 1999).

This section provides a brief definition of Curriculum Integration (CI) general frameworks needed to "Integrate" cultural competence, diversity, and social justice into your curriculum.


Broadly speaking, Curriculum Integration (CI) is a pedagogical approach that helps students build a small set of powerful, broadly applicable concepts/abilities/skills, i.e., it promotes depth rather than breadth. It implies restructuring learning activities to help students build connections between topics. As a result it is about creating multiple contexts in which students, encounter, re-encounter, and integrate concepts, skills and issues so that they become an integral part of the perspective that they bring to the examination of ideas, people, and events they encounter.

Because this is not merely the addition of a unit or an isolated reading, CI requires restructuring learning strategies as well as content in order to help students build connections between and among the things they are learning and what they already know. And it takes into account not just the context in which students learn but the contexts in which learning is applied, reiterated, and reconnected. As Bransford and Brown observe, "Knowledge that is taught in only a single context is less likely to support flexible transfer than knowledge that is taught in multiple contexts. With multiple contexts, students are more likely to abstract the relevant features of concepts and develop a more flexible representation of knowledge.(1)"

When applied to the teaching of intercultural competence, multicultural, diversity and/or social justice, CI is the seamless blending of these issues with disciplinary content when one is developing goals, objectives, and assessments, seeking resources, and planning learning strategies for a course and, ideally, within a broader curriculum where students can encounter these issues and concepts in multiple courses, disciplinary and co-curricular contexts for maximum understanding of their importance and intrinsic value in understanding and navigating their world in the 21st century (Heuberger, Gerber, & Anderson, 1999).

Curriculum Design

When approaching the development of any new course you will gain valuable ground by approaching your course design strategically. This is especially true when addressing a curriculum that is transformative, i.e., has the potential to challenge or change previously help assumptions and perspectives.

The potential impacts of a fully integrated transformative curriculum will affect students and faculty on two levels:

  • Content: Provides resources, models, and perspectives
  • Process: Facilitate growth and development of a new perspective and the skills to use it.

Each of these is necessary but not sufficient. Because academics work most easily on the issue of content and theory, process can be the trickiest part. Student interpretation of and emotional response to course content may be culture-bound and knowing how to facilitate that learning in three dimensions is key:

  • The affective dimension drives student engagement, motivation to learn, and their valuing of the knowledge they encounter. Failing to build positive relationships and a climate of trust between and among teacher and students, or to be concerned about students' emotional and value laden responses to world views and perspectives that challenge what they believe to be "true," can negate even the most carefully chosen content.
  • The behavioral dimension involves the development of the skills and behaviors required to use and apply what they are learning. To paraphrase Mao Tse Dong, knowledge without action is dilettantism."
  • The cognitive dimension involves the integration of new of knowledge into one's existing world view, and requires students and teachers to engage in critical dialogue around the issues and ideas encountered, What do they mean? How do they affect the way I think about things? Why do I believe what I believe?

In a Culturally Competent Classroom this looks like...

  • An openness to engage and value new perspectives (affective)
  • The development of skills for critical analysis of the knowledge and perspectives encountered (cognitive & behavioral)
  • The ability to observe, participate in, and reflect on the information encountered (cognitive & behavioral)
  • The ability to imagine multiple Interpretations and evaluations for a single action or event
  • Culture Specific and Cultural General Knowledge
  • Understanding the ways cultures can differ and being skilled at recognizing these differences as they are experienced (Values, Communication Styles, Problem-solving Preferences, Nonverbal Communication, Stereotyping, etc.)

In a Nutshell….
One moves from Fear -->Tolerance--> Respect--> Valuing --> the Internalization of Cultural Differences into One's Sense of Identity

Finally, when designing curriculum that has the potential to challenge and transform, it is important to consider 7 main concerns as you plan:

  • What, specifically, do your students need to know?
  • What concrete skills do they need to master?
  • What values and attitudes do they need do examine?
  • How will you know if they have achieved these outcomes?
  • What techniques will most effectively build these skills?
  • What ethical questions and dilemmas need to be addressed by the teacher and the students?
  • What do you need to do/know/work through in order to be prepared to create the best learning experience for your students


  • How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (1999). Bransford J.D., Brown, A.L., and Cocking, R.R. (editors). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  • Saunders, S., and Kardia, D. (2004). Creating Inclusive College Classrooms. In A Guidebook for University of Michigan Graduate Student Instructors. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Accessed May 5, 2011.


Banks, J. A. (2002). Approaches to Multicultural Curriculum Reform

Silver, H. " Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences." Educational leadership 55.1 (1997): 22-27.

Beane, J. A. (1995). Curriculum integration and the disciplines of knowledge. The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 76, No. 8 (Apr., 1995), pp. 616-6

Montgomery, S. M. & Groat, L. N. (2004). Learning Styles and their Implications for teaching. In A Guidebook for University of Michigan Graduate Student Instructors. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan., Accessed May 5, 2011.

"The context in which one learns is important for promoting transfer. Knowledge that is taught in only a single context is less likely to support flexible transfer than knowledge that is taught in multiple contexts. With multiple contexts, students are more likely to abstract the relevant features of concepts and develop a more flexible representation of knowledge.(1)"

Attachments (2)

  • Cultural Competence Education.pdf - on Jun 23, 2011 12:29 PM by Shelley Smith (version 1)
    478k View Download
  • Mathematics & Race in the classroom.pdf - on Jun 23, 2011 12:29 PM by Shelley Smith (version 1)
    521k View Download

Example C.

Welcome to the UMD Diversity Commission Curriculum Integration Resource Site
Syllabus Creation: Setting the Stage, Building a Classroom Culture

Deliberately creating a class culture that supports respectful learning and values the diversity within our classrooms and communities, takes a few deliberate steps to create the learning environment. This is a central part of UMD's strategic plan ( and UMD Learning Goals and Outcomes (

• VCAA Policy on Teaching and Learning:

UMD is committed to providing a positive, safe, and inclusive place for all who study and work here. A central mission of the university is to educate students through the offering of courses and programs leading to the conferral of degrees. Teaching and learning at the university take place in a variety of educational settings including on-campus lecture halls and classrooms, laboratories, field sites, and online. Instructors and students have mutual responsibility to insure that the environment in all of these settings supports teaching and learning, is respectful of the rights and freedoms of all members, and promotes a civil and open exchange of ideas. Making hostile, threatening, discriminatory or disparaging remarks toward or about the instructor, other members of the class or groups of people will not be tolerated.

• VCAA Syllabus Polic:y

Please use the language on this page or adapt it for your needs. You are welcome to use any and all of this material. However, if the text has a parenthetical citation, please keep the citation connected to the quoted text.

Creating a Respectful Learning Environment:

  • From Paula Pedersen (Department of Psychology):
    Successful education can only occur in an atmosphere of mutual respect, free from racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and intolerance, and from their harmful effects. Educational excellence depends on the creation and maintenance of environments in which all members of the academic community can thrive, working up to their full potential (Minnesota' Commitment to Educational Excellence developed by the President's Task Force: Strengthening Excellence through Diversity, June 1990.)
  • Another example of a syllabus statement: Classes must provide equal access to students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, religion, age, ability. Each one (myself included) is expected to treat everyone with respect. Hate speech, sexual harassment and other behavior that intimidates will not be tolerated. If you ever feel uncomfortable, please see me (or Counseling Services) about your concerns.
  • Samples from Helen Mongan Rallis (Department of Education):
    As one of a number of items that I list in the expectations area of my course syllabus, I include the following expectation:
    • Respect & trust & cooperation: The nature of this class is such that you will be asked to reflect deeply on complex issues that may be controversial and personal. For us all to do this requires that we create and maintain a community founded on mutual respect and trust. Every person in our class helps to create a learning environment in which others feel safe and comfortable in sharing their thoughts. Two guiding principles here are:
      1. Seek first to understand, and then to be understood: We do not need to agree, but we do need to be open to listening to and seeking to understand others.
      2. Do unto others as they would have you do unto them: When you understand others, you will come to realize that they may not want to be treated in the same way as you. Be careful not to assume that they do!
  • Statement from Deborah Petersen-Perlman (Dept. of Communication): Assumptions and Ground Rules to Guide us in Class Discussion:

The following is based in part on suggestions made by Lynn Weber Cannon in Fostering Positive Race, Class, and Gender Dynamics in the Classroom.

We can assume that discrimination exists in many forms (e.g. sexism, racism, classism, ageism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, etc.). Any critical understanding of these various -isms means that we need to recognize that we have been taught misinformation about our own group as well as about members of other groups. This is true for both dominant (e.g. white, male, upper class, heterosexual, able-bodied, etc.) and subordinate (e.g. people of color, women, poor, and working class, gay/lesbian, disabled, Jew, etc.) group members.

Based on these assumptions then, let's agree that we cannot be blamed for the misinformation we have learned, but we are responsible when we repeat misinformation after we have learned otherwise. People and groups are not to be blamed for their subordinate positions. Let's assume that people are always doing the best they can. Let's actively pursue information about our own groups and those of others. Let us share information about our own groups with other members of the class but never demean, devalue, or in any way put down people for their experiences. We each have an obligation to actively combat the myths and stereotypes about our own groups and other groups so that we can break down the walls which prohibit group cooperation and group gain. Let's create a safe atmosphere for open discussion.

Statement from Paul Ranelli (School of Pharmacy)

Diversity and Civility: In studying the complex traditions, roles, and responsibilities of health care, it is very important that we are also aware that we each bring diverse backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and viewpoints to this class. Inasmuch as these differences impact our understanding and interpretation of the readings, we would encourage us to use these divergent points of view to challenge our assumptions and expand our intellectual horizons. This can be accomplished if we are civil toward and respectful of each other both inside and outside the classroom.

Creating a Learning Environment that is Accessible for All UMD Learners:

UMD Syllabus suggestions for disability and universal design:

  • Shelley Smith (Instructional Development Service) suggests adding a more welcoming personal statement before the policy piece:
    • Accommodations for Participants with Disabilities: We believe every student deserves the opportunity to have the most productive and comfortable learning experience possible. Participants with special needs are invited to meet with the instructor as soon as possible to gain maximum access to course information. All discussions will remain confidential.
  • UMD Sample Disability Statement:
    • It is the policy and practice of the University of Minnesota Duluth to create inclusive learning environments for all students, including students with disabilities. If there are aspects of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or your ability to meet course requirements - such as time limited exams, inaccessible web content, or the use of non-captioned videos - please notify the instructor as soon as possible. You are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Resources to discuss and arrange reasonable accommodations. Please call 218-726-6130 or visit the Disability Resources website at for more information.
  • Disability statement from Helen Mongan Rallis:
    • •IMPORTANT: If you have a disability, either permanent or temporary, or any other special circumstances that may impact your ability to perform in this course I encourage your to inform me. You do not have to have a formal, medical diagnosis of a disability in order to request that adaptations be made to help you learn. All I ask is that you advocate for yourself and work together with me to design your learning experiences so that you can succeed. I will work with you confidentially and make every effort to adapt methods, materials, and evaluations as needed and as appropriate to provide for equitable participation.I recommend that if you have a disability and have not registered with the UMD ACCESS Center, you should do so as they will provide you will additional support. Thank you!

Introductory Assignments: Building a Community of Learners

One way to help build connections and create a community of learners is to make the first assignment(s) ones that build connections and set the tone for collaborative, respectful learning. Using Moodle or email to do online introductions can be very helpful.

  • Introductory assignment example from Paula Pedersen (Department of Psychology):
    Send an introductory e-mail to your instructor and TA. After grading by the instructors, you will be asked to post your introduction on Moodle for all to read. Please answer the following questions:
    • Your name? What is the meaning of your name/naming?
    • Your name as you prefer to be called?
    • How do you identify yourself ethnically and culturally?
    • Your hometown? What were your experiences/concepts of diversity/different growing up?
    • What is your intended major and how sure are you about this? What led to your choice?
    • What are your hobbies or favorite activities?
    • What significant experiences in your life so far have expanded notions of "difference" from your childhood?
    • What do you think your biggest challenge will be this semester?
    • What are you most looking forward to at UMD?
    • Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?

Example D.

UMD Campus Invited to Share Stories
Everyone has a unique story - (Featured Homepage article Sept 2011)

7 students each holding a sign with a word.
         Together the signs read: 'How did you come to be here?'
The entire UMD community is invited to answer the question, "How did you come to be here?" Long Xiong, Tawana Stocker, Susana Peylayo-Woodward, DeAngelo Johnson, Tom Isbell, Sara Thomsen, and Leo Howard bring a little personality to the task.

How did you come to be here? That is the question the entire campus community is invited to answer as UMD integrates the newly adopted, inclusive, core values and Strategic Planning Campus Action Plan into classrooms and activities.

Everyone, faculty, staff, administrators, and students, are invited to go to a special website, " Share YOUR story ," and explain how he or she arrived at this college in Duluth. UMD has a goal of having an openly engaged campus. "When students, faculty, and staff-can talk about all the issues-even the difficult ones, we will be successful." said Susana Pelayo-Woodward, director of the Office of Cultural Diversity. "That's why we encourage everyone to share a story."

Chancellor Black and the UMD Diversity Commission invites faculty, staff, administrators, and students to participate in the 2011-2012 campus theme, "How did you come to be here?" The questions asked of the UMD community are: How did YOU come to be here? Are you indigenous to this land? Were your ancestors forced here in slavery? Did you or your ancestors immigrate? What was the interaction between different racial, cultural, religious groups in our ancestry? And in reference to the campus: Who is the UMD community now?

"The project is our collective attempt to make the Strategic Plan a living, breathing evolving force on the UMD campus," said Joie Acheson Lee, co-chair, of the Diversity Commission. "It asks all of us to become culturally aware by learning our own unique stories as well as listening to each other. We hope that it is a cornerstone in the foundation of an inclusive campus climate - a climate that in turn deepens our appreciation of our rich and multi-layered community."

Across campus, UMD has already begun using the diversity topic. Danny Frank, coordinator for the First Year Experience Program, introduced Bulldog Welcome week by asking 2,000 freshmen to answer 'How did you come to be here?' Susana Pelayo-Woodward is one of the leaders of the project. "The question is at once simple and profound," she said. There are a myriad of viewpoints. Some individuals have a history of sovereignty, immigration, or forced relocation. Others may not know all the details of their heritage, but can offer insight on their personal journeys. "There will be some unique combinations," Woodward said. "We know we need to be aware of different cultures in order to fully accept and celebrate our rich diversity."

Everyone is invited to " Share YOUR story ;" watch the TEDTalks with Chimamanda Adichie, The danger of a single story ; find inspiration in the various bulletin boards, posters, presentations, and campus wide discussions during fall 2011 and spring 2012; read, watch, and study.


Paula Pedersen, assistant professor and chair of the Curricular & Co-Curricular Integration Committee, said students, staff, faculty, and administrators are encouraged to consider their own unique story. Faculty and staff are encouraged to integrate the theme "How did YOU come to be here?" into the classroom or activities. "Integrating our core values into life at UMD will help us prepare our students to contribute to an increasingly diverse world," Pedersen said. "This is an opportunity for UMD to come together. As we encounter cultural difference and commonality, we also have the opportunity for increased intercultural effectiveness."

A website has been created that is dedicated to the integration of equity, diversity, and social justice into curricular and co-curricular offerings across disciplines. It includes information and ideas on creating an inclusive classroom climate, resources including videos, websites, curriculum examples as well as providing a place for faculty and colleagues across campus to provide tips and examples from their own discipline.

All of the instructors who teach the first year seminar received training on how to integrate equity and diversity, along with the theme, into their courses. Additional training will be available through the Instructional Development Service for faculty who are interested in participating and would like some assistance.


Bringing this diversity project into classes has already begun across the campus. Pederson and Joellyn Rock, assistant professor, Department of Art and Design, are bringing two classes together. Rock has given her students in the digital filmmaking class a visual narrative assignment. Students will create very short films, about one minute each, answering the question, "How did you come to be here?" The digital filmmaking students will make films on their own and with Pederson's students, who are also exploring the theme in a general psychology class.

This is one example of the ways that faculty and staff across campus are working together to integrate the theme.


The TEDTalks presentation, The danger of a single story, by novelist Chimamanda Adichie, resonated so much with the committee, they have recommended it for everyone to watch. In the clip, Adichie tells how she found her authentic cultural voice. She explains that by only hearing a single story about another person or country, people risk serious misunderstandings.

Long Xiong, president of the Asian/Pacific American Association and a student in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics agrees. "I grew up hating myself because of stereotypes. Because I now love who I am, I continue to share my story, not as a single story but as my own," Xiong said. "That is why the 'How did you come to be here?' project is so great."

Students at UMD come from every state and from around the globe. The project helps people on campus to see how all have rich cultures and complex backgrounds. Xiong said. "Give me a sense of humanity, and I can promise that you and I are not so different at all," Xiong said. "Don't ask me 'What are you?' but instead ask me 'Who are you?'"


The project includes a multi-media performance, Land of Plenty: How did you come to be here?, at 7 pm on November 11 and 12 in Marshall Performing Arts Center. The performance is produced by Sara Thomsen, directed by Theatre Professor Tom Isbell, and is presented with the involvement of the Duluth community, including Independent School District 709. For questions/comments on the performance, contact Joie Acheson Lee.


The project is led by the UMD Diversity Commission Curricular & Co-Curricular Integration Committee. For questions/ comments on: campus engagement efforts, departmental bulletin boards, library lesson guides, the library display case, film series, course syllabi questions, and student activities, contact chair Paula Pedersen and committee members: Laura Stolle-Schmidt, Danny Frank, Deborah Petersen-Perlman, Susana Pelayo-Woodward, Hli Vang, Liz Johnson, Lisa Rigoni Reeves, and Shelley Smith.

For information on the performance project, contact Joie Acheson Lee and committee members Stacy Crawford, Mary Cameron, Daniel Oyinloye, and Penny Cragun.

Susana Pelayo-Woodward is the publicity and media chair.

For questions/comments on departmental bulletin boards; posters; web sites; advertisements; newspaper and radio ads, contact Deborah Petersen-Perlman, Monte Gomke, and Mary Cameron.

Contact Deborah Petersen-Perlman for questions/ comments on grants; co-sponsorships; budgets; and contracts.

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