Lectures and Seminars

Diversity Brown Bags

Deborah Bieler, English Department (right) and Jordan Leitner, Department of Psychology (left)

Diversity Brown Bags are informal discussions led by faculty and affiliates of the Center for the Study of Diversity. In selected lunch sessions throughout the semester, winners of the Center's Diversity Research Grants share the progress of their award-funded projects. Other sessions feature faculty, researchers, and administrators exchanging ideas and research updates about diversity topics, approaches, data, and concepts.

Fall 2016 Series

Postdoctoral Research Associate Rebecca Covarrubias delivers her fall 2013 brown bag talk

The Center continues our Diversity Brown Bag series in Fall 2016. These sessions provide a forum for faculty, grad students, and other affiliates of the Center to exchange ideas and updates about diversity research topics, approaches, data, and concepts as part of our motto "Scholarship that drives diversity practice".

All are invited to these informal talks that take place on select Thursdays from 12:30-1:45 pm in the Faculty Commons, 116 Pearson Hall.

September 29, 2016 - Emily Davis, Associate Professor of English "The Revised Multicultural Requirement at UD and the Ongoing Work of Transforming the Classroom"

November 10, 2016 - Marisa Kofke, doctoral student in the School of Education "Undergraduate Student Perspectives of Disability: Implications for Postsecondary Pedagogy"

December 8, 2016 - Katrina Anderson, doctoral student in History "Traveling the British Atlantic World: Free Women of African Descent and Emancipation in the Black Atlantic, 1770-1865"

Spring 2016 Series

Our Spring 2016 Brown Bag Series takes place on select Thursdays from 12:00 to 1:15 in the Faculty Commons located in 116 Pearson Hall. Beverages and cookies provided; bring your own lunch. All are welcome. The following talks are scheduled:

February 18: Esme Allen-Creighton, Assistant Professor of Music
"Bitter Roots to Sweet Fruit"

    In September 2014, racist social media comments erupted on campus over a UD vs. Delaware State football game. In response to these events, Bitter Roots, Sweet Fruit tells the real story of segregated education in Delaware: its origins, its legal realities, the incredible reformers, but especially the ordinary citizens who achieved incredible success within this unjust system. To bring these struggles to life, oral history recordings of Black Delawareans were intertwined with original music commenting on the personal challenges and victories of these citizens. Professor Allen-Creighton will share aspects of this research.

February 25: Lynnette Overby, Professor of Theatre
"Making Visible the Invisible through Arts Based Research Projects"

    Since 2011, Professor Overby has been involved in several arts based research projects in collaboration with literary historian, Gabrielle Foreman, and additional choreographers, poets, musicians, and visual artists. Arts-based research is defined as "an effort to extend beyond the limiting constraints of discursive communication in order to express meaning that otherwise would be ineffable" (Barone and Eisner, 2012). This is different from research activity in which the arts are used as data for answering a traditional research question. Choreography, poetry, music, and visual art fall into the realm of arts-based research if the artwork focuses on issues that make a difference to society. This presentation will share examples drawn from three productions including "Sketches: The Life of Harriet E. Wilson in Dance, Poetry, and Music" (2012), "Dave the Potter" (2014), and "Same Story, Different Countries" (2016). The performance examples focus on issues of race and culture, and will be discussed in terms of arts-based research assessment criteria of incisiveness, concision, coherence, generativity, and illumination.

March 3: Lindsay Hoffman, Associate Professor of Communication
"The Difficult Conversation: Perceptions of Race and Diversity at UD"

    This talk will provide the results of a survey conducted by a group of students under the guidance of Professor Lindsay Hoffman. The project was a component of the National Agenda course, where students spent the entire semester reading about and discussing race in this country. This happened at a time where campuses around the nation were erupting in protests, and when alleged "nooses" were found hanging on UD's Green. The experience was timely, and the survey provides insight into staff, faculty, and student perceptions of race and race relations on this campus.

April 7: Emily Bonistall Postel, Director, ADVANCE Institute
"International Graduate Students and Gender-based Violence" - The research was part of Postel's PhD in sociology. She is currently Director of the ADVANCE Institute at UD.

    This research project aimed to understand what factors, if any, make international graduate students vulnerable to victimization and perpetration. This research finds seven different components that may influence such vulnerability and provides the first step in understanding the complexities of international graduate students' experiences and their vulnerability to sexual violence. It uncovers factors that influence students' vulnerability and isolation, as well as protective factors that help reduce their risk and provide support in the aftermath of victimization. In addition to adding new knowledge to the gender-based violence literature, these research findings add to our sociological understanding of intersectionality and gendered institutions. Finally, from this data, tangible recommendations for universities and colleges have been developed to address this issue.

April 28: Lei Chen, doctoral student in Education and Human Development
"UD Faculty and the Chinese Students’ Reflections on Critical Thinking: A Critical Perspective"

    Critical thinking concept has been regarded as one of the most important goals for higher education by many faculty members, administrators and educators. With a large growing number of Chinese undergraduate students on U.D. campus, there is the question whether the Chinese students, with their unique sociocultural backgrounds, would come to approach critical thinking concept like other U.S. students. In this qualitative research study, Ms. Chen interviewed 12 faculty and 12 undergraduate Chinese students from different disciplines to explore the question. How do the Chinese students define critical thinking? What do they find helpful and difficult in completing academic requirements? Is there any misunderstanding between the faculty and the Chinese students’ in terms of critical thinking? The findings of this study will help us reflect on how the Chinese students are perceived on U.D. campus and how to facilitate the Chinese students’ development.

May 12: Andrew Garcia, doctoral student in Psychological and Brain Sciences
"Fostering Interest in STEM and Higher Education for Students from Underrepresented Backgrounds"

    With the expansion of STEM-related fields, there is a need for individuals with sufficient backgrounds and adequate preparation and training to fill increasing occupation demands. Despite the growing importance to school districts, universities, and employers, in 2010 the U.S. Department of Education identified that "only 16 percent of American high school seniors were proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career." Furthermore, the Department reported that black and Hispanic students represented only about 7 percent of all STEM degree awards for the 2008-2009 academic year. If an interest in science and higher learning can be nurtured early in education (before high school), students may have the opportunity to develop an intrinsic motivation that can drive successful completion of core courses, such as advanced-level math, that are fundamental to STEM fields. Consistent with the CSD mission of generating and transmitting diversified scholarship through developed partnerships with local communities, this project aims to establish a unique UD-based platform that could ignite interest in STEM for nearby middle school students from racial/ethnic groups or socioeconomic backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in the sciences.

    Led by UD graduate students interested in providing enriching and novel experiences for students, the goals of this program are to provide interactive exposure to science foci as well as providing resources and encouragement and sharing experiences on navigating the path toward higher education. The unique approach of graduate student leaders (of varying racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds) holds the potential to stream a novel avenue of introduction and exposure that allows students the opportunity to identify with individuals in science of a closer age. This can make the path toward higher education appear more concrete and tangible, thus holding the potential to foster increased involvement of underrepresented students who may not have otherwise considered pursuing science or higher education.

Download the Spring 2016 Brown Bag flyer (PDF)

Previous Brown Bag Sessions

Fall 2015

Rosalie Rolon Dow, Professor, School of Education
Carla Guerron-Montero, Professor of Anthropology, Director of Latin American & Iberian Studies
"Campus Goals fo Diversity and Equity at the Univesrity of Delaware: Latino/a Student Perspectives"

Michael Dickinson, PhD candidate in History
"Creating Kinship: Enslaved Black Families in the Urban British Atlantic, 1680-1807"

Early American port cities provide valuable, though understudied, spaces to investigate the dynamics and utility of enslaved black families. Kinship ties contributed significantly in making the slave system function, since family life provided enslaved blacks with some reprieve from the harsh realities of bondage. Other aspects of enslaved black existence remained subject to the confines of slavery and the whims of slaveholders. This research examines how black captives formed and maintained kinship ties in the port cities of early British America.

Samantha S. Kelley and Faith Okpotor, PhD candidates in Political Science and International Relations
"Gender Code Switching and Political Decision Making"

Stereotypical masculine communication styles that are aggressive, direct, and succinct are valued in politics, while stereotypical feminine communication styles that are submissive, indirect, and elaborate are not.  Female politicians are often confronted by this negative typecasting, and thus frequently adopt masculine behavior (e.g., speaking more directly, less disclaimers, etc.) for legitimization. These researchers investigated to what extent a group's sex composition prompts female leaders to (1) adopt behavior considered masculine, and (2) to make more aggressive political decisions that are considered stereotypically masculine. An adapted prisoner's dilemma game employing a political context requiring foreign policy decision making was administered to UD undergraduates in this analysis.


Spring 2014

Ted Davis, Department of Political Science and International Relations
Race, Politics, and Educational Disparities: The Case of Delaware

Jill Ewing Flynn, Department of English
Addressing the Demographic Imperative: A Public Scholarship Framework to Recruit and Retain Diverse Teacher Candidates

Carrie Barnum, Department of Biology
SACNAS Two-Step Mentoring Program Towards Diversity in STEM Fields

Rebecca Covarrubias, Department of Psychology
Promoting Academic Success: Examining the Academic Self-Concepts of First-Generation College Students


Fall 2013

José Aviles, UD Director of Admissions
Expanding Diversity at the University of Delaware

Deb Bieler, Department of English
Jordan Leitner, Department of Psychology
Impacts of English Teacher Candidates’ Urban SAT Course

Rebecca Covarrubias, Department of Psychology
Academic Identity Development and College Success Outcomes for First-Generation College Students

Cynthia Diefenbeck, School of Nursing
Factors influencing underrepresented minority applicants’ acceptance of admission offers to Health Science majors: A pilot study of the Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program

Justin de Leon, Department of Political Science & International Relations
“Mapping the Margins” Documentary and Film Discussion Series

Barret Michalec Department of Sociology
The Path Less Taken: Understanding the Experience of Black Pre-Medical Students


Spring 2013

James M. Jones Center for the Study of Diversity
What is the Value of Diversity Reputation for Colleges and Universities?

David Wilson Department of Political Science & International Relations
NUCLEUS Evaluations

Stephanie Kerschbaum Department of English
The Reveal: Identity, Disability Disclosure, and Higher Education

Yasser Payne Department of Sociology
The People's Report: The Relationship Between Structural Inequality and Physical Violence in Wilmington, Delaware

Sharelle Law Graduate Assistant, Center for the Study of Diversity & University Diversity Initiative
Update on the Diversity Dialogues Focus Group Project