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Diversity Committee

UT Libraries Diversity Committee Meeting Minutes September 15, 2016

Diversity Committee Meeting Minutes: September 15, 2016 at 1:00 in Room 150

Present: Michelle Brannen, Keila Zayas-Ruiz, Cathy Jenkins, Melanie Allen, Kenya Flash, Megan Venable, Regina Mays, Thura Mack

Thura opened the meeting with announcements and thanked Keila for emailing the article about endangered safe spaces to the group.

Thura announced that Chancellor Cheek had initiated a task force on campus to examine our local safe spaces.

Please put the Lunch and Learns on your calendar:

October 19, 2016 – Intersectionality: From Scholarship to Action

Patrick Grzanka, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Nora Berenstain, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

The directors of the Intersectionality Community of Scholars at UT will facilitate a conversation about the origins of intersectionality theory in U.S. Black feminism, current directions in the field, and the relationship between interdisciplinary scholarship, activism, and social justice.

November 9, 2016 – Practical Tips for “Keeping Calm and Carrying On” Difficult Conversations

Becky Jacobs, Waller Lansden Distinguished Professor of Law, UT College of Law

Most of us probably have struggled at one time or another with sensitive or difficult conversations, i.e., raising workplace concerns; confronting an unreliable partner or co-worker; or apologizing, or seeking an apology for, inappropriate behavior. This session will focus on practical tips for preparing for, initiating, and handling potentially unpleasant exchanges in a way that hopefully will minimize negative consequences, improve understanding, and strengthen relationships.

The spring topics and facilitators are yet to be determined but will align with the Lunch and Learn’s theme of encouraging inclusivity and respect during difficult conversations. Because of the thematic focus of the “Lunch and Learn” series, the Libraries Diversity Committee will address inclusivity, diversity, dialogue, collegiality, respect, knowledge, learning, awareness, and response—nine of the university’s ten principles for civility and community. To make these conversations more inclusive we will identify campus faculty members with the specific expertise and interest in our topical areas to facilitate the discussion. Should the success of the Lunch and Learn program series continue, we would consider expanding our program to include community leaders to facilitate future discussions.

Cathy will finalize the handbills for distribution to the group. The group will distribute as follows:

  • Megan to put on Sharepoint and UTK calendars, send to the chairs of the CDI and Commission for LGBT
  • Thura to send to Commissions for Blacks and Women and TRECS
  • Cathy to the library branches, to Martha for a digital sign and perhaps to
  • Caroline to promote on social media
  • Michelle to the Student Union, HSS and Presidential Courtyard
  • Kenya to the Intersectionality group
  • Melony to Alice Wirth

Cathy announced that staff members were eligible for Stride training, a program that features bias awareness in hiring practices.

Thura announced that there is currently no Safe Zone Training being offered. Megan will draft a request for it to be reinstated to the chancellor on Thura’s behalf, and it will be posted as an open request on our website.

The International Festival is 9/30. Please sign up for a volunteer shift at our booth.

  • Michelle will make a sign for our booth
  • An all lib notice will go out soliciting volunteers and offering to host flyers from departments on our table
  • Megan will request mini cupcake liners to distribute the food in from the business office

Molly is working on getting the Culture Corner prepared as per our request from the August meeting. The Career Center is OK with us advertising the availability of their personality test at our Culture Corner, and Michelle will make a sign highlighting it.

The committee indicated their willingness to participate in the Day of the Dead activities on 11/2.

The Resources sub-committee reported that there are nine RSS sources that are feeding into the site. Keila is working on a glossary and definitions. A list of community resources and a list of campus resources has been identified. Melanie will provide her lib guide on cultural competence in healthcare as a resource as well.

The next meeting will be October 20th at 1 PM in room 150. Agenda items will include:

  • Lunch and Learn debrief from 10/19
  • International fair debrief
  • Day of the dead confirmation details
  • Ohio conference debrief

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