Morning Coffee and Academic Programs

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Monday, January 21, 2019

7:30–8:45 a.m. in the Student Center, Room 300, free admission | Get directions.

Start your day of exciting events and programming by joining members of the MLK Committee for a continental breakfast. Free and open to the public.

Academic Programs

9–11 a.m. 3rd Floor, Student Center (various rooms)
LBC credit is approved for this event.

Information on individual sessions coming soon.

9–9:50 a.m.

  • Activism and Organizing: Reflections from the Elections and Unto the Future
    Student Center 301

    In order to effectively organize and mobilize progressive and liberating groups, a cacophony of methods must be employed. Historically, organizing was the driving force for political and social movements. In 2016, mass mobilization occurred following the election of Donald Trump. Marches, rallies, difficult dialogues, discussions, opinion pieces, and even some statistical observations occurred. More recently with the 2018 election, politicians were challenged to undertake new methods of rallying and mobilizing constituents. In this presentation, speakers will reflect on the power of organizing and activism in the past election, present their methods for activism, provide examples of how it has worked, and present their vision of utopia. The presenters will focus on methods that step outside the typical methods of activism.


    • Alyssa Michelle Williams, EMU Graduate Student
    • Simone Dixon, EMU Graduate Student
    • Katrina Solomon, EMU Graduate Student
    • Glenn Miller, EMU Graduate Student
  • Multigenerational Transmission of Trauma in Communities of Color
    Student Center 304

    Historical trauma transmitted multigenerationally in communities of color such as the African American, Native and Immigrant communities, impacts communities in multiple ways. Group-based histories of slavery, genocide, colonization and losses due to cultural membership continue to reverberate, impacting physical and mental health. The community traumatization continues through ongoing discrimination, violence, poverty, and marginalization. Trauma consequences can be seen in the high rates of physical and mental illness, impulsivity and aggression, addiction, educational underachievement, unemployment, and incarceration. This session will acknowledge and outline historical trauma, as well as describe and focus on promising community-based interventions.

    Speaker: Devika Dibya Choudhuri, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Leadership & Counseling

  • Respectability Politics in America, the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s legacy and stand against the triple oppression of racism, segregation and discrimination for the African American people in the United States
    Student Center 320

    This session will focus on Dr. King’s legacy and mission to improve the world through transformational social change. Although the African American people have gained success for freedom, voting, civil and human rights through the legacy of Dr. King, we still experience a number of social injustices in America today, and are still striving for equality and respectability. On college campuses across the country, including EMU, racial incidents have historically led to racial tension, safety concerns, and a negative perception of the underrepresented black students on campus. The speaker will discuss how having a dialogue to address racism, segregation, discrimination and civil rights can be transformational for students, faculty and staff on campus, as well as in the community.

    Speaker: Kimberly Dixson-Ferrell, EMU Graduate Student

  • CWB: College While Black
    Student Center 330

    This panel of current Black college students will focus on strategies for student success. The students will share experiences of racism while in college, and strategies to stand for justice. The audience will join in a discussion about our opportunities for advocacy as a people.

    Panel Members:

    • D’Sjonaun Hockenhull, WCC Undergraduate Student
    • Ja’Shawna Rooks, EMU Undergraduate Student
    • Lorian Tompkins, EMU Undergraduate Student
    • Brandon Terrell, EMU Graduate Student

    Panel Moderator:

    • Regina George, EMU Director of Pathways for Future Educators and Doctoral Candidate in Educational Studies
  • The Aftermath: An Exploration of the College Experience of Students of Color
    Student Center 350

    The National Center for Education Statistics reported that between 2000 and 2015, the number of Black students increased 2.4% and 7.4% for Hispanic students. Many campuses are ensuring they focus on being inclusive, welcoming, and supportive to all students. With the continuation of hate messages across campuses nationwide targeted towards students of color, what type of conversations need to occur with incoming students during their new student orientation and beyond? What types of external barriers could all students, and specifically students of color, come to campus with? This session will explore high impact practices on a university level to help address the recovery from a hate message incident on college campuses and the prevention of future incidents.

    Speaker: Shondra Marshall, EMU Graduate Student

  • TRiO Works: Addressing Education Inequity from Secondary through Graduate Studies
    Student Center 352

    Students from low-income, first-generation and underrepresented populations often face academic, financial and non-cognitive challenges in completing secondary school and successfully navigating university studies. EMU hosts four federally-funded TRiO programs that employ evidence-based methods to create a pipeline of academic success for these students. This panel of TRiO professionals will discuss pedagogical practices that lead to persistence and success from middle school through doctoral studies. Panelists will present an overview of practices utilized by four programs: Upward Bound, Student Support Services, Veteran Student Support Services and The McNair Scholars Program.


    • Dr. Heather Neff, Director, EMU McNair Scholars Program
    • Roderick Wallace, Director of EMU Upward Bound
    • Josiah Pankiewicz, Program Specialist, Student Support Services
    • Wayne Doyle, Director, Veterans Student Support Services
  • MLK: What We Have Forgotten
    Student Center 360 KIVA

    Late in his life, Martin Luther King began to speak out more and more about the “giant triplets” threatening the human race, namely racism, poverty and militarism. Dr. King also stressed how these “triplets"; did not just exist separately, but were deeply connected. In the 50 years since we lost Dr. King, his birthday is celebrated with a proper emphasis on ending racism, and growing action on poverty (i.e. living wage campaigns), but rarely touches on that third, connected, giant triplet, militarism. This session will focus on the need to not forget Dr. King's teachings on militarism and war. The speakers will highlight the speeches and thoughts of Dr. King on militarism, attempt to show how these teachings very much relate to the present day, and why speaking out against militarism is still out of favor.


    • Bob Krzewinski, U.S. Navy Veteran
    • Bill Shea, U.S.  Marine Corps Veteran

9–10:50 a.m. 

  • A Visit to Tar Beach: Children's Dreams of Justice
    Student Center 310A

    For Children Ages 4 to 12, plus families.

    The book "Tar Beach", by the acclaimed artist and children's author Faith Ringgold, explores the dreams of justice and fairness that Cassie Louise Lightfoot imagines while she visits her favorite place "tar beach", the rooftop to her family's apartment in Harlem that hosts some of her favorite but rare times where her entire family is together. As part of the COE's family educational programming for the day, elementary children and their families will participate in small group read-aloud and discussions. Children will then create their "Tar Beach", an artwork wherein they'll imagine the social injustices they would like to challenge. Children's artwork will be displayed as a mural in Porter, and returned at a later date.


    • Christopher Robbins, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Teacher Education
    • Scout Bostley, EMU Undergraduate Student
    • Mackensi Crenshaw, EMU Undergraduate Student
    • Amanda Ducharme, EMU Graduate Assistant, Leadership and Counseling
  • 6 Figures Playback
    Student Center 310B

    For youth ages 10+ and families.

    Playback Theatre is an improvisational form of performance that invites audience members to share stories from their everyday lives and then re-performs them with artistry and respect. Founded almost a decade ago by Professor Anita Rich of EMU, 6 Figures Playback Theatre Company will work with youth to develop their stories of injustice and change. These performances will be recorded and displayed in Porter Building.

    Speakers: 6 Figures Playback Theatre Company

10-10:20 a.m.

  • Voter Suppression in the 2018 Election
    Student Center 301

    This presentation will compare how voter suppression is occurring in the United States today versus during the lifetime of Martin Luther King Jr. This issue predominantly affects black, indigenous, impoverished, and other minority communities and reflects the fact that their government is suppressing their voices during a time in which they need to be heard now more than ever. The speaker will provide examples of what voter suppression looked like in the time of Dr. King versus what it looks like now and will explore the issues that occurred in specific states during the 2018 midterm elections, and what is being done to address these issues in states across the country.

    Speaker: Alexa Cooley, EMU Undergraduate Student

  • From Mali to Motown: Developing Social Justice Lesson Plans Using Music and Art
    Student Center 304

    The Civil Rights movement brought Black and White people together from "ghettos" and suburban neighborhoods to work for the common cause of equality. Dr. King and others used music as a strategy to mobilize and invigorate participants in the Civil Rights Movement. Drawing from her African American Cultural Humanities (AC) curriculum, the speaker will provide participants with useful lesson plans that include a song list from Stax, Motown and DefJam Records. Teachers with an “at-risk” student population, after-school program developers, and districts working to close an achievement gap will greatly benefit from this interactive workshop that includes discussion on challenges and strategies in teaching diverse student populations.

    Speaker: Victoria Shields, EMU Graduate Student

10:25–10:45 a.m.

  • Mon Detroit
    Student Center 304

    Mon Detroit, literally translated to “My Detroit” is a research project designed to address the prevalent negative stories that have saturated media outlets about Detroit, Michigan. The purpose of this study is to explore different variables of how Detroiters define the city of Detroit in which they have cultural and artistic activities. The study seeks to gain insight into what Detroiters believe define the spirit and culture of the city, and to understand Detroit’s unique brand and influence devoid of general assumptions. This poster session will present preliminary results based on the data collected through ethnographic observation of specific neighborhoods that span all areas of Detroit.

    Poster Presenter: Shaunda Bunton, EMU Graduate Student

  • Working Against Sanism in Higher Education: Mad Studies and Activism
    Student Center 301

    This is a thing about madness, made by Mad teachers clinicians and students. In it we will be radically vulnerable and we will tell stories about being Mad in higher education. We’ll talk about the saneism (and ableism) inherent in universities, and how Mad Studies and Mad Activism might work against that. We will no longer allow our voices, the voices of our students to be silenced, ignored, or threatened. This performative session will open a conversation space about neurodivergence, Mad teachers and students and what Mad Studies might look like from the ivory tower..

    Speakers: Dr. Phil Smith, Associate Professor, Special Education

10–10:50 a.m.

  • We the Students: Improving the Historical Record while Reflecting on the 1969 Stand Against Injustice on the Campus of Eastern Michigan University
    Student Center 320

    In February 1969, a group of Eastern Michigan University students organized a takeover of Pierce Hall to press the University Administration to change hiring practices, course offerings and support services for African American students. The events of 1969 can be seen in photographs, newspaper clippings, and a few collected documents in the university archives that disproportionately illustrate the point of view of the administration. In the spring of 2018, alumni from this group of student activists began to plan for a reunion to commemorate the 50th anniversary, along with an effort to document these student experiences through oral histories. On July 28, 2018 fifteen alumni gathered to reflect on the historical context of the events of the 1960s and of February 1969, and the impact of these events on their lives since. This event became the first intentional effort to document the student experience of standing up to the injustice happening at EMU and illuminate that experience. This panel will address themes of activism, institutional change and the importance of being included in the historical narrative.


    • Rasheed Atwater, EMU Graduate Student
    • Jocelyn Harris, EMU Alumna
    • Kurt Hill, EMU Alumnus
    • Mable Jones, EMU Alumna
    • Robert Smith, EMU Alumnus
    • Floyd Walton, EMU Alumnus
  • Making Injustice Visible: African American Student Quest to Academic Success
    Student Center 330

    Disparate cognitive and non-cognitive skills of African American students are intensified by socioeconomic status, environmental and psychological factors, which perpetuate barriers as evidenced by lower grade point averages, and hindered persistence and degree attainment. The troubling reality is that more African American males are leaving without a degree in hand than any other racial/ethnic group attending American colleges and universities. This presentation will examine factors that determine college persistence towards degree attainment among African American males in comparison to their university geographic location. Speakers will explore how collaborative assignments, projects, and undergraduate research, considered High-Impact Educational Practices, are utilized to confront student barriers and improve academic achievement of first-generation, low-income African American students in the EMU McNair Scholars Program.


    • Kimberly Brown, M.A., EMU Graduate Student
    • LaMarcus Howard, M.A., EMU Graduate Student
  • Gateways to Completion: Creating Equity and Opportunity in the Classroom for All Students
    Student Center 350

    This presentation will examine the multidimensional relationship between race/ethnicity, communication, and academic performance in large enrollment gateway STEM courses at Eastern Michigan University. The speakers will investigate the disaggregated DFWI (grades of D and F, withdrawals and incompletes) data for students, discuss how to build a learning environment that lowers the achievement gap, and address the impact of equity and opportunity in the STEM classroom through the Gateways to Completion initiative. Further, this session will consider techniques for analyzing communication patterns with students and/or teachers from various racial and ethnic backgrounds and examine processes for course redesign that support the learning of ALL students.


    • Amy Flanagan Johnson, Professor, Chemistry
    • Doris Fields, Director, Undergraduate Studies
  • New Social Justice Research by EMU McNair Scholars
    Student Center 352

    This session will include a panel of EMU students speaking on new social justice research conducted under the McNair Scholars Program. Ashley Beals will present, "The Role of Prescription Trends in the Opioid Epidemic and the Factors that Affect Physician Prescriptions," a study examining patient risk for opioid misuse, racial disparities in opioid prescribing, controversies in pain perception, and the factors that have contributed to the opioid epidemic. Fajr Muhammad will present, "Analyzing the Complexity of Gender and Gender Relations in the Navajo Culture," which discusses the historical exclusion of Indigenous women, an important, alternative dialogue on the vastly diverse positions and roles of women worldwide. Desiree Drake will present "From Intervention to Impact: Exploring the Impact of Mentoring in K-12 Schools”, which discusses the Making Youth Matter Mentoring Program (MYMMP), an original model developed by EMU Social Work faculty, Dr. Celeste Hawkins and Dr. Sarah VanZoren.


    • Ashley Beals, EMU Undergraduate Student
    • Fajr Muhammad, EMU Undergraduate Student
    • Desiree Drake, EMU Undergraduate Student
  • Let Student Voices Ring
    Student Center 360 KIVA

    Joined by students from programs served by Academic Success Partnerships (ASP) who are on track to graduate despite dueling distractions, obligations, and often lacking support systems and resources, this session will focus on relevant topics in higher education surrounding the need to value the complete student, not just their tuition dollars. Let Student Voices Ring, explores the past actions taken during the powerful civil rights movement in which Dr. King diligently served, even when he felt isolated and misunderstood. Attendees of this session will take an honest assessment of individual and collective actions surrounding the treatment of our students. Finally, this session will explore opportunities to better assist students on their quest to degree obtainment.


    • Elise Buggs Sturdivant, Director of Academic Success Partnerships

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