Will It Get Better?  Schools’ Responses to LGBT Bullying and Suicide

Nick Derda and Caitlin Doherty, Alliance, Valparaiso University

Harre Union, Brown and Gold Room, A

In recent years, several social activist campaigns have emerged in response to LGBT-related bullying in schools and suicides of LGBT teens. This workshop will examine several of these campaigns, including the “It Gets Better Project.” In addition, several school anti-bullying policy changes will be discussed. Participants will be asked to assess whether or not these campaigns and policy changes are likely to have a lasting impact on the lives of LGBT students.  Does it really “get better” for LBGT students?


The Immigrant Experience:  An Evidence-Based Psychological Perspective

Stewart Cooper, Professor and Director, Counseling Services, Valparaiso University

Harre Union, Victory Bell Room

In response to the significant politicization of the issue of immigration, in 2011 the President of the American Psychological Association appointed a Task Force of experts to identify and make available science-based findings on the current experiences surrounding immigration. This is a presentation on the findings of that Task Force, including information on barriers to accessing education.


Education:  A Catalyst for Social Change

Social Action Leadership Team (SALT), Valparaiso University

Harre Union, Alumni Room

Is access to education a human right? Students from SALT will facilitate a session on the effects of education on social change. Using a variety of formats, presenters will engage, challenge and encourage participants to consider the complex ways that education is linked to many social problems. Participants will walk away from this dynamic session with a stronger awareness of the impact of education, as well as information on ways to utilize your own education as a catalyst for social change.


Reaching the Dream:  Education vs. Schooling, A Community Stakeholders’ Round Table Discussion

Victoria O. Chiatula, Assistant Professor, and Alexander Roberts, Graduate Student, Department of Education, Valparaiso University

Harre Union, Brown and Gold Room, B

Education is an inextricable part of society as well as of a community.  Research on education highlights the significance of community stakeholders as integral partners in the educational process.  The goal of this session is to invite community stakeholders to discuss their understanding of the meaning of education and to offer insights on their role in helping students reach “the dream.” Although a panel – drawn from teachers, business leaders, elected officials, law enforcement, social service organizations and others – will respond to a series of questions, the session will be an interactive dialogue, with audience members encouraged to engage as well.

FOCUS SESSION II: 2:30-3:30 P.M.

Other state: An Artist Talk by Claudette Roper

Claudette Roper, Artist, Sponsored by The Welcome Project and Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University

Brauer Museum of Art

Multi-media artist and educator Claudette Roper will discuss her installation, “other state,” on display in the Brauer Museum of Art from December 2, 2011- March 18, 2012. “other state” explores racism through the eyes of 40 African Americans, age 5-80, who were interviewed for the project. A collection of narratives representing the embodiment of Blackness, “other state” is rich in depth and scope and provides an intimate view of the vestiges of racism in business, academics, the media, social and familial settings.


Community Conversations: Education and Our Changing Community

Stacy Hoult-Saros, Professor and Chair, Diversity Concerns Committee, Valparaiso University

Harre Union Ballroom A

Join participants in our inaugural Community Conversations series in this wrap-up of our weekend conversations about education and the changing face of our community. These conversations have aimed to engage our community in thinking and talking about the importance of diversity in education. Participants will share outcomes from their groups’ conversations on diversity at all levels of education and present reflections on the challenges and opportunities that different types of diversity represent at all levels of education. All are welcome, regardless of your previous engagement with these issues.


Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System

Anthony McDonald, Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative/DMC Coordinator; Alison Cox, Director of Juvenile Detention; and Chris Buyer, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, all, Porter County

VUCA 1412

Prisons are already over-crowded with people of color. In the near future, reports suggest that youth of color will be even more likely to go to prison than college. Reducing racial disparities and developing opportunities for youth of color – including access to affordable education – is a priority. Attendees will explore public attitudes towards crime, race, and youth, the growing need for cultural competency in our community and among our public servants, and steps necessary for a true “grassroots” effort to address these concerns. The presentation includes the history of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) movement.

Building a House for Barbara Cotton

Gretchen Buggeln, Professor, and Brittany Rosenau, Student, Valparaiso University

Harre Union, Alumni Room

In 1969, members of the Valparaiso University community built a house for Barbara Cotton and her six children, who wished to move out of Chicago’s notorious Cabrini Green Projects. The builders overcame financial difficulty, legal obstruction, and prejudice, effectively beginning neighborhood integration in Valparaiso. Current Valparaiso students will tell the story of the construction of Cotton House and lead a discussion among members of the community who contributed to the building project and the Cotton family’s transition to life in Valparaiso.  Audience participation is encouraged.


The World Becomes What You Teach

Zoe Weil, President and Co-Founder, Institute for Humane Education

(Note: This session will be conducted via Skype)

Harre Union, Brown and Gold Room A

Humane Educators seek to highlight the connections among environmental ethics, animal protection, and human rights. The mission and vision of humane education is to create a peaceful, just and sustainable world through education – the most viable form of activism on the planet. Students informed by the elements, principles and content of humane education become “solutionaries,” able to respond to the most challenging problems facing the planet today. Attendees will engage in conversation about humane education and its role in educating global citizens. (NOTE: Humane Education is now offered as a graduate degree and concentration at VU.)


My dream is learning, too!

Lorrie Woycik, Special Olympics, and members of the Porter County Special Olympics Team

Harre Union, Brown and Gold Room B

Special Olympics has provided a voice for those with special needs and given them a chance to speak out for justice in our society.  Through Special Olympics, athletes have realized their own educational dream. They have found those who believe in them and they learn to believe in themselves; this helps them address the difficulty they face as “outsiders” recognize their abilities and potential. In the process, they help educate others, too. There will be question and answer time along with the presentation.



Accessing the DREAM: Immigration and Education Today (A Film showing and discussion)

Latinos in Valparaiso for Excellence (LIVE), Valparaiso University

Neils Science Center, Room 234

This interactive session combines showing of selected segments of the film “Papers, The Movie” with a presentation on the DREAM Act, a national effort to secure access to education for the children of undocumented immigrants. Discussion will focus on issues surrounding access to education for immigrants and children of immigrants. VU students will share their own stories as immigrants or children of immigrants, and all participants are encouraged to share their experiences.  Join members of LVE for a lively discussion on a current hot topic in education.


Head of the Class: Popular Culture Looks at School Desegregation and Diversity

Bridget Kies, Film Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Mueller Hall Refectory

Popular culture has long attempted to reflect and analyze issues of diversity and integration in the classroom, from the portrayal of desegregation in movies like Hairspray to the representation of Arab and Asian cultures in contemporary television shows like 90210 and Glee. This presentation will make use of movie and television clips, as well as open discussion, as we attempt to make sense of what we can learn by dissecting how learning is depicted.


Take the Scary Out of Writing! Games, Stories, and Acting for Self-Expression and Social Justice

Diane Lefer, ImaginAction, Los Angeles

Harre Union, Heritage Room

Disrespect, frustration, failure in the classroom? No matter how many words and ideas clamor inside a person’s head, many of us are stymied when it comes to moving these thoughts from the brain through the hand and to the screen or page. We’re not going to sit and stare at the blank page! Instead, we’ll actively participate together in a series of exercises that encourage personal expression, as well as deeper reflection and social engagement.


Education is not Neutral! Using Popular Education Pedagogy to build Powerful Social Actors and Social Movements

Tony Nelson and Stuart Schussler, Mexico-US Solidarity Network/ The Autonomous University of Social Movements (Chicago)

CCLIR Community Room

In today’s global context of rapidly increasing income disparity, education should not be merely a rudimentary skill set obtained through K-12 and university attendance. Instead, many social change actors adopt popular education for raising consciousness and human agency in their struggles for justice and dignity. Popular education is a philosophy and method of learning that intentionally blurs the line between teacher and student and concentrates on the lived human experience. Participants will actively engage in how to build and strengthen social justice movements on their campus and in their communities, by engaging in listening campaigns, employing problem-posing practices, and collectively organizing for social change.


The Fight for Education: Combating Poverty

Chiquita Richardson and Christina Crawley, Black Student Organization, Valparaiso University

CCLIR Room 205

This interactive session will include showing of selected clips from the film “Waiting for Superman,” as well as presentation of an interview by Geoffrey Canada, founder of “Harlem Children’s Zone, which has helped low-achieving students in New York to succeed in school. Discussion will focus on how we can improve the educational system for our youth.


Inclusion in the program does not constitute endorsement by Valparaiso University
or the MLK Steering Committee of any of the views presented.
MLK Celebration 2012
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