Stories and Empowerment Event
WISE (Wisdom Inspires Student Excellence) Stories and Empowerment Event offers a series of diversity and equity workshops and a leadership training to explore empowerment methods. These diverse and powerful lessons will spawn inclusivity and promote gender justice, economic justice, racial justice, and/or equitable access to services and resources. Participants are invited to experience unique inclusivity events that include personal nonfiction, poetry, mindfulness, theater, artwork, or photography as interdisciplinary strategies to evoke and amplify voices that support individuals who have been historically silenced or ignored.
There are 3 Graduate EDPD credits available for attending these workshops. For more information, there is a syllabus that goes into detail about the requirements for this course.
All workshops leading up to the main event will be streamed via Zoom. If you have any issues accessing the Zoom link, please contact the Office of Diversity and Equity.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 | Recording | 5:30-7 pm | Collage | Presented by Dr. Kate Hoof and Dr. Chiquita D. Howard-Bostic
Creating positive social change by serving, addressing, and improving community and global problems.
Pictures help us tell the stories of our lives and experiences. Every photograph is filled with topics and messages that tell a story. The times, locations, and subjects of our stories can inspire others, evoke strong emotions, and show relationships. Images can also draw viewers’ attention to a scene or incite positive social change. Images of Empowerment can uplift individuals in our communities. Participants will learn two types of technology for storytelling. Participants will learn tips and tricks to make Zoom presentations look professional and sophisticated. Second, we will learn the basics of Canva, a free app that turns every user into a skilled graphic designer. Canva will be used to create aesthetically pleasing photo collages for our storytelling projects (Duffy, 2011; Pauwels, 2015).
Presenter Backgrounds: Dr. Kate Hoof is focused on ways to support faculty members and instructional staff as they work to build inclusive online learning communities and teach virtually in innovative and effective ways. She currently serves as an instructional designer and trainer at Shepherd University. Prior to her work at Shepherd University, Hoof was the founding director of the Center for Mass Communications at Manchester High School in Richmond, Virginia. She developed an inclusive program centered on hands-on learning to improve communication skills in both speech and in writing. Students in the program created multimedia marketing and branding content for non-profits in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to over 25 years in education, Hoof is a freelance videographer. This work has taken her to six different countries, shooting videos for non-profits focused on international education and exchange programs.
Dr. Chiquita D. Howard-Bostic is the Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity and department chair of Sociology, Criminology, and Criminal Justice at Shepherd University (SU) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, US. As well, she is a certified life coach, girl scout, and 4-H leader, and founder of a program called “Help Bridge,” providing leadership and social justice education in the community. Howard-Bostic educates the community about anti-human trafficking, multicultural justice, dating violence prevention, and financial/environmental sustainability.
Thursday, April 8, 2021 | 5:30-7 p.m. | Recording | Presented by Wendy Baracka
Consciousness of self is an exploration of values, emotions, attitudes, and beliefs that cause an individual to take action.
As a result of societal conditioning, cumulative stress, and patterns of personal and political oppression, many of us struggle to feel at home in our bodies and deeply connect to the truth of our worth and our value. Through mindful movement, yoga, breathing practices, and reflection, participants will be offered the opportunity to enhance their consciousness of self. Using stories, guided visualization, and moment-to-moment awareness we will practice the art of nourishing and tending our true home within our mind, body, and spirit (Koch, 2015; Nussbaum, 2015).
Presenter Background: Wendy Baracka is the Director of Counseling Services at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. She recently completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training through Jala Yoga and is in the process of completing her requirements for certification through Yoga Alliance. Baracka is a Certified Trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach, a social-emotional methodology for transforming difficult intensity in children and adults to develop inner wealth and promote school, social, familial, and community growth and success. Baracka received her Master’s in Social Work through West Virginia University and her Bachelor of Science in Sociology through Shepherd College. Her specialty areas of focus include trauma-informed care, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and increasing bodily awareness and integrity through yoga and breathing practices.
Monday, April 12, 2021 | 6-7:30 p.m. | Recording | Presented by Professor Opal Palmer Adisa
Consciousness of citizenship is responsible for individual connectedness to the interdependence of all involved in the leadership effort through effective democracy.
Theater performance and storytelling have long been used as vehicles of therapeutic healing and social transformation. In these modules students will be guided in basic role-playing, tapping into emotions, and exploring “otherness” to gain greater insights into ideas and perspective that might be different from theirs. They will also be guided into basic techniques that allow them to use their bodies and use physical gestures via mime to convey emotions and create a setting; they will explore consciousness of citizenship and understand the importance and impact of voice –sound, pacing and intonation. As a result of these exercises, students will gain confidence and be empowered to write and perform stories that speak to complex and challenging issues that seek to transform society (Jocson, 2008; Mills, 2009).
Presenter Background: Professor Opal Palmer Adisa is the University Director of The Institute for Gender and Development Studies at The University of the West Indies, Mona. She is professor emerita of California College of the Arts, Oakland, California where she headed the Diversity Studies Program for nine years and is co-founder of the MFA in Creative Writing program at that institution. For over 10 years, she taught at both the graduate and undergraduate level, at CCA. Professor Adisa designed and taught “Writing for Performance” a course in which students learned basic theater techniques and were required to perform four stories they wrote that reflected diversity in terms of ethnicity, age, class, and political views. Professor Adisa has a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in Ethic Studies and Comparative Literature; and hold two MA degrees in Creative writing and Theater: Directing, respectively. She has written and directed many plays in California and St. Croix.
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 | 5:30-7 p.m. | Recording | Presented by Sadie Shorr-Parks
Common purpose is the aim and value to achieve mutually agreed upon and collective objectives and visions.
Poetry not only illuminates the world as it is but helps the reader imagine a brighter future. This workshop will explore the ways we can use poetry to identify a common purpose and to inspire social change. The workshop will begin with a poetry reading from Shorr-Parks, along with an international guest poet. After the reading, students will be led in guided poetry writing activities where they will generate their own poems. Students will leave with additional poetry prompts to help them continue to tell their stories (Burr, 2017; Ciardiello, 2010).
Presenter Background: Sadie Shorr-Parks is a poet and the director of the Society for Creative Writing in the Department of English and Modern Languages at Shepherd University, where she teaches first-year and creative writing courses. She also works as a director for New City Community Press, currently housed at the University of Virginia. Her writing has been featured in Aquifer: The Florida Review, Blueline, Cimarron Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Witness, among several others.
Thursday, April 15 | 5:30-8 p.m. | Keynote | Breakout Session A | Breakout Session B | Leadership Training Q&A
WISE Stories and Empowerment offers a series of workshops and a leadership training to explore empowerment methods for communities to capture and share their experiences and histories. These diverse and powerful lessons will spawn empowerment and courage to support gender justice, economic justice, racial justice, and/or equitable access to services and resources. Participants will be invited to share their stories during unique events that include personal nonfiction, poetry, theater, artwork, or photography as interdisciplinary strategies to evoke and amplify the voices that support individuals who have been historically silenced or ignored.
Core Competencies: Participants of this workshop will learn how to engage inclusivity leadership via presentations that apply the following eight core diversity, equity, and inclusivity competencies:
- Positive social change
- Consciousness of self
- Consciousness of citizenship
- Common purpose
- Contend with civility
This DEI training will address DEI leadership success strategies about civility principles, managing change, emotional capital, and self-assessment and reflection.
Presenter: Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic, Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity, Shepherd University
Competency: Consciousness of citizenship is responsible for individual connectedness to the interdependence of all involved in the leadership effort through effective democracy.
Description: This presentation will explore the potential to encourage individual actions, progress, and growth potential beyond the norm using adaptive change models. Likewise, the outlook related to conversations across political divides and consciousness of citizenship will be elevated as leaders learn to balance their strengths and vulnerabilities. Participants will also be encouraged to identify accountability partners who encourage action, best behavior, positive relations, and sound, well-versed reactions.
Presenter Background: Dr. Chiquita D. Howard-Bostic is the Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity and Department Chair of Sociology, Criminology, and Criminal Justice at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, US. As well, she is a certified life coach, girl scout leader, and founder of a program called “Help Bridge,” providing leadership and social justice education in the community. Howard-Bostic educates the community about anti-human trafficking, multicultural justice, dating violence prevention, and financial/environmental sustainability.
Presenter: Emily Cole, MPA, Chief Development Officer of Lifting as We Climb, LLC and Shepherd University Alumna (’12)
Competency: Contend with civility is an ability to recognize and value inevitable differences in viewpoints and to allow such differences to be expressed openly and with civility.
Description: This presentation will explore the importance of leading with authenticity and vulnerability, and utilizing civility principles to engage intentionally, respectfully, and meaningfully with others. Participants will build the capacity to engage courageously, contend with civility, lead with accountability, and connect with all populations of people with authenticity and respect.
Presenter Background: Emily Cole, MPA, is the Chief Development Officer for Lifting as We Climb, LLC. Through her work, Cole develops strategies for engaging educators across communities to advance equity and dismantle systems of oppression and white supremacy. Cole develops content that provides a critical analysis of current events for the LAWC company blog, framing discussions from the perspective of disrupting unjust norms and dismantling inequitable institutions, policies, and procedures. Cole works with the LAWC team to connect with professional organizations, institutions, and schools grappling with injustice and white supremacy, supporting their journey towards being anti-racist educators, community members, and leaders.
Presenter: Naheem Muhammad, Facilitator with Lifting as We Climb, LLC
Competency: Commitment demonstrates involvement and investment in activities, services, and collective efforts.
Description: This presentation will explore potential blind spots in leadership that could collapse the foundation of success, providing tools for flaw management. Participants will be able to identify their own potential leadership and commitment to engaging blind spots and leave with strategies to manage those flaws and capitalize on strengths to succeed.
Presenter Background: As one of today’s most insightful observers of the realities of urban life and modern trends, Muhammad serves as a Facilitator for Lifting as We Climb, LLC. Born and reared in Cincinnati, Muhammad has been present for or involved in most of the watershed historic events of the last 30 years. Muhammad also appeared on CNN’s “Black in America 2” in his role of Program Director of the Wedded Bliss Foundation, a Washington, DC-based, nonprofit missioned to promote Black marriages and healthy families in at-risk communities from coast to coast. Muhammad is a Lead Facilitator for LAWC, coaching educators, and professional organizations as they work toward equity and build a culture of anti-bias and anti-racism within their institutions.
Presenter: Hakeem Leonard, Higher Ed Professional, IDI Administrator, Music Therapy Scholar, Consultant
Competency: Congruence is the importance of thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty toward others.
Description: Key foundations of a community of care, radical self-love, and anti-racism are empathy and congruence. This presentation will provide a grounded understanding of empathy from a Black intersectional perspective, with an emphasis on learning for all persons. The evidence of Black-lived experience, as well as the reference of intercultural scholarship, will both be used to reinforce empathy as both an action for everyday living and transformative pedagogy. Empathy actively leads to the decentering of dominant experience, to taking up space in every area where one has been made to shrink and incorporates boundaries and an ethic of resistance over resilience for meaningful inclusion.
Presenter Background: Hakeem Leonard, Ph.D., MT-BC, is an Associate Professor of Music Therapy and Assistant Provost for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. As a music therapy educator and thinker, Leonard integrates the understanding of music engagement with developmental approaches, aesthetic meaning-making, and co-created relationships. This experience, as well as being a student of history, allows him to approach conversations about justice, equity, anti-racism, and anti-oppression from a unique lens. He is a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI) and has experience connecting ideas of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and culturally sustaining pedagogies to curricula, group processes, and everyday living.
Presenter: Nadirah Z. Mayweather, M.A.T., Director, Cultural Center, Georgia College
Competency: Collaboration is interdependence through creative solutions to problems and goal achievement while trusting in and utilizing the diverse talents and perspectives of team members.
Description: This presentation will explore the power of collaboration by incorporating the 3L’s (language choice, listening, and love) into the spoken and written word as a framework for building a more inclusive community. Participants will engage in self-reflection of their own word usage and be challenged to rethink the ways in which they communicate.
Presenter Background: Nadirah Mayweather, M.A.T., is the Director of the Cultural Center at Georgia College & State University. In this role, Mayweather works to increase cultural competency within the campus and local communities, provide support to historically marginalized and underrepresented student populations, expand access to resources, and encourage all to celebrate the rich diversity within and around them. Her higher ed experience is multifaceted, including areas such as diversity, academic advising, and student affairs. Mayweather is also a certified English language arts teacher who is passionate about spreading love and light and helping others become the best version of themselves.