MCLA Announces Its Second Day of Dialogue

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will hold its second Day of Dialogue on Thursday, Nov. 7. This is an annual, campus-wide initiative with suspended day and evening classes to ensure full campus participation by students and faculty. The theme of this year’s Day of Dialogue is “Educating A Diverse Community: Inclusive Teaching and Learning at MCLA.”

According to Christopher MacDonald-Dennis, MCLA’s chief diversity officer, the Day of Dialogue is one of a number of initiatives the College has undertaken in its continuing effort to create an increasingly equitable campus. “This year's theme encourages us as a community to explore the various forms of education that occur on our campus (and beyond) and to think together about innovative forms of education that use our diversity as a strength and resource,” he said. “We are defining education broadly to include not only the academic classroom, but also students teaching students, community-based learning, and student affairs work, among other examples.”

The day will begin with an opening breakfast and welcome from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in the Venable Gym.

Attendees may choose to attend one of the following morning workshops from 9:45-11:45 a.m., in Bowman Hall, which include “Black Feminism Then and Now” with students in Professor Amanda Kleintop’s HIST 320-01: Women and Gender in the U.S.; “Teaching to Frailty: An Experiential Creative Writing Workshop” with Caren Beilin, assistant professor of English/communications; “Teaching Diversity from a Global Perspective” with Guangzhi Huang, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies, and Mohamad Junaid, assistant professor of anthropology; “How the Championship Dynasty Mindset Destroyed True Teamwork” with Jamal Ahamad ’11; and “’Pipeline’ Community Development: Exploring Empathy and Classroom Culture” with BRIDGE’s Gwendolyn VanSant, Stephanie Wright, and Lia Russell-Self, and actors from WAM Theatre’s production of “Pipeline.” In addition, MacDonald-Dennis will lead “Educating for Diversity: An Open Conversation with the CDO” in the Freel Library Learning Commons.

Following the morning workshops, participants are invited to lunch and a keynote lecture in Amsler Campus Center Gym, from 12-1:30 p.m. The lecture, “Leading for Racial Equity in Schools,” will be given by Tracey Benson, assistant professor of educational leadership at University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Afternoon workshops will take place from 1:45-2:45 p.m. and from 3-4 p.m. in Bowman Hall. The first section of workshops will include “IDEA—Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access through Encounters with Outsider Art” with Tony Gengarelly, emeritus professor of art history; “Reducing Mental Health Stigma through Respectful Dialogue” with Michael Birch, professor of English/communications, Ben Wood, assistant professor of psychology, Heidi Riello, director of MCLA Counseling Services, and Cindy MacDonald, assistant director of disability resources; “Open Up: Community Dialogue Workshop” with Professor Jenna Sciuto and her ENGL 441 class; “Dialogue across Difference: An Introduction to Intergroup Dialogue” with Professor Kerri Nicoll and IGD students; and “What Do They Expect of Us? Exploring Student Perceptions of Advisor Expectations” with Ruby Vega, assistant professor of psychology, Sara Trova, Najah Sims, and Elly McMeniman. In addition, the workshop “MCLA's Gallery 51 as a Diverse Classroom: Diversity through Community” will be led by Interim Curator Tammara Leminen and Tyler Rockenfield ’19 at the gallery.

Workshops running from 3-4 p.m. in Bowman Hall include “A Spectrum of Experiences: Autistic Students on College, Life, and Neurodiversity” with Assistant Professor of Anthropology Anna Jaysane-Darr, Cindy MacDonald, assistant director of disability resources, and MCLA students; “Conscious Casting: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Disability on Stage and Screen” with Laura Standley, associate professor of theatre; “We, Not Them: Inclusive Language at MCLA and Beyond” with MCLA’s Creative and Brand Strategy Manager Francesca Olsen and Kate Gigliotti, director of alumni engagement and donor relations; “Travel Education and Issues of Access” with Julia Boger-Hawkins and Bria Wells; and “Self-Authorship: Stories that Unite” with Joshua Mendel, director of corporate and strategic partnerships, and Dennis Rebelo. In addition, “The Art + Practice of Self Care” will be led by Don’Jea Smith, Isamaya Hagstrom, Erica Barreto, Black Student Union Group Members, in the Freel Library Learning Commons.

The Day of Dialogue will conclude with a reception in the Bowman Hall Atrium at 4:15 p.m.