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Talk About It Thursday


The IICC “Talk About It Thursdays!” Professional Development Series is a monthly, brown bag lunch, professional development, and educational series that creates an opportunity for the Office of the Dean of Students to engage and explore strategic areas around diversity, inclusion, social justice, and cultural competence. This program will help staff leverage the impact of personal storytelling to develop a broad and comprehensive understanding of ways in which they can assist in creating a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable campus for all. 

Learning Objectives

  1. To provide an opportunity for self-exploration of how one’s unique worldview, perspectives, biases, and/or experiences influence one’s understanding of leadership, planning, and teamwork.
  2. To gain an understanding of the foundational theories pertaining to difference, privilege and oppression as relevant issues facing higher education.
  3. To provide an opportunity to deepen the level of authentic and inclusive dialogue across university offices and departments.
  4. To provide practical communication and leadership tools necessary to effectively navigate multicultural communities with sensitivity, empathy, and confidence.

Spring 2018 Schedule

Upcoming Dates:

February 8th, 2018

Helping Students Find Their Way: The Intersecting Identities of Faith and Race (12pm – 1:00pm in Sarratt 216/220)


March 15th, 2018









All Talk About it Thursdays will be held in the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity Training Space (Sarratt 327) and begin at 12:00pm.

October 5th

Addressing the Costs of Student Activism (12pm – 1:30pm in Sarratt 325/327):  Associate Dean of Students for Social Justice and Identity Frank Dobson Jr. will share personal narratives that highlight the mental, physical, and opportunity costs associated with student activism. The talk seeks to highlight how Vanderbilt faculty and staff can best support and uplift the well-being of student activist in our respective areas.

November 2nd

Cultivating Inclusive Environments for Asian American Students (12pm-1:30pm in Sarratt 325/327): Dr. Museus is an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is also the Founding Director of the National Institute for Transformation and Equity. Dr. Museus has produced over 200 publications and conference presentations focused on diversity and equity, campus environments, and college student outcomes. His presentation: “Cultivating Inclusive Environments for Asian American Students” will provide an overview of the ways in which institutional environments lead to challenges for Asian American college students. He will discuss important challenges encountered by these students, as well as how institutions can work to create conditions for them to thrive in college

Supporting DACAmented and Undocumented Students (12:00pm-1:00pm on January 12th, 2017 at Sarratt 216/220): Currently, the U.S. accounts for more than 11 million individuals who are classified as “undocumented.” Since 2012, approximately 740,000 of those undocumented individuals have been able to take advantage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) American immigration policy, which allows for them to have a “temporary” status to stay in the U.S., get work permission, and start a path to legalization. The purpose of this presentation is to offer an overview of some of the terminology, background, political and economic aspects of undocumented and/or DACA-eligible individuals. It will also provide individuals with the necessary tools needed to support our DACA and/or undocumented students on the Vanderbilt campus. Facilitated by Ali Soltanshahi, Director for the International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS).

Building Inclusive Communities: “Safe Spaces” (12:00pm-1:00pm on January 19th, 2017 at Sarratt 2016/220): In light of national conversations and controversies surrounding our American ideas of democracy and justice, there has been a rise in universities and campuses declaring themselves as “safe spaces” for groups of people that have been historically and currently marginalized. Beginning with an analysis of other institutions that have made headlines, this session will take a look at how the conversation has been shaped through the media perception of these ideas as well as provide individuals with the necessary tools for creating inclusive spaces for students. Facilitated by Greg Fontus, Assistant Director of the IICC, and Jalen Blue, Graduate Assistant.

Those People: Counter-Narratives Around Poverty and Class (12:00pm-1:00pm on February 16th, 2017 at Sarratt 216/220): Pathology and deficit models are often used to describe the experiences of poor and near poor people. These paradigms do not reflect the complex, nuanced lives and experiences of economically marginalized people. The session will consider: prevailing research on the attitudes and behavior of poor and near poor people; non-traditional themes about their trials and triumphs; and, ways in which such persons have been shown to be adaptive and resilient. Central to the discussion are possible mechanism to combat poverty and build relationships across class divides.  Facilitated by Dr. Sandra Barnes, Asst. Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Meeting at the Crossroad: Intersectionality in our Students and Ourselves (12:00pm-1:00pm on March 2nd, 2017 at Sarratt 216/220): Using black legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw’s argument that black women are discriminated against in ways that often do not fit neatly within the legal categories of either “racism” or “sexism”, Briana Perry, from the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center, will lead a discussion that explores the topic of intersectional identities.  This session will provide tools for navigating potentially difficult conversations with students, colleagues, and supervisors as well as discuss ways to best support our students in their identities and interactions.  Facilitated by Briana Perry, Program Coordinator for the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center.

Breaking the Cycle: Speaking Up Against Everday Bigotry (12:00pm-1:00pm on April 6th, 2017 at Sarratt 216/220): Have you ever been in the midst of a conversation, or overheard an insensitive remark and found yourself, standing there, in silence, thinking “What can I say in response to that?” Or, have you ever seen someone treated unjustly, such as being ignored or overlooked in a setting, and you wondered if it was due to that person’s identity (race, ethnicity,  gender, or other visible quality)?    Have you ever then wondered, “what should I have done?”   This session will focus on how to address those uncomfortable situations. The intent is offer tools and suggestions which will help you address such situations as they occur in everyday life. Facilitated by Dr. Frank Dobson and Kathryn Farkas, Graduate Assistant.

Race, Reconciliation, and Rhetoric (12:00pm-1:00pm on September 1, 2016 at Sarratt 216/220): Associate Dean Frank Dobson will lead a presentation and dialogue on the impact of race within our communities. This session is intended to provide a brief history on why racial rhetoric that is prevalent in today’s context. He will also address the racial rhetoric which moves within media and society and will address various theories and methods for how reconciliation must be the aim between diverse communities.

Special Edition Talk About In Thursday w/ Dr. Shaun Harper (12:00pm-1:15pm on September 15, 2016 at Sarratt 216/220): IICC will be partnering with the Peabody College of Education to bring in Dr. Shaun Harper, Professor and Executive Director for the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Harper has expertise in the areas of Race in Higher Education, Black Males, Men and Masculinities, and College Environments.

LGBTQI+ Movement Post Marriage Equality: Where Do We Go From Here? (12:00pm-1:30pm on October 6, 2016 at Sarratt 216/220): Chris Purcell, Director of LGBTQI Life at Vanderbilt will discuss the state of the LGBTQI+ movement, post marriage equality nationally, in Tennessee, and at Vanderbilt. Participants will learn what we still have to do both here at Vanderbilt and beyond our walls to create true equity for individuals of all sexual and gender identities. Please note: the material in this presentation is similar to that covered in the August RA, VUcept, and Greek Ally trainings. This presentation is for staff members who did not attend those trainings.

Cultural Appropriation: Homage or Insult? (12:00pm-1:30pm on November 3, 2016 at Sarratt 216/220): With the growing diversity in America, someone picking up on the dialect, customs, and religious traditions of surrounding cultural groups can occur in an instant. This has often resulted in a debate surrounding the difference between cultural appropriation and the appreciation of a culture different from your own. This session will focus on developing an understanding of what cultural appropriation is in and how we can avoid behaviors that can be damaging to groups outside of our own.

Beginning the Conversation (February 4, 2016 at Sarratt 216/220):This session will focus on the importance of setting dialogue norms and expectations. Participants will also explore the barriers that prevent one from being able to engage in the conversation of diversity, inclusion, and equity and gain practical tools on how to begin to engage in a conversation about race, equity, and social justice.

Session 1 Presentation
Cycle of Socialization and Oppression
Key Terms

Cultural Competence and Higher Education (March 3, 2016 at Sarratt 216/220): This session will provide participants with an understanding of multiculturalism and cultural competence within the broad context of higher education. Participants will look at current trends, statistics, and events that make up the campus climates across the country in order to work more effectively with diverse populations.

Session 2 Presentation
Talk About It Thursdays- Hot Button Activity
Room Considerations Sheet

Allyship (April 7, 2016 at Alumni Hall 201): This session will focus on exploring how university faculty, staff, and administration can serve as allies for students. Participants will engage in a conversation about office culture, advising students, and hiring/selection practices.

Session 3 Presentation
Goodman (2000)
Edwards (2006)

The Socialization of Words (May 5, 2016 at Sarratt 216/220): This session will focus on the history of words and phrases that have often been used and seen as hurtful. Participants will engage in an open conversation that is designed to increase an awareness and knowledge of inclusive language.

Socialization of Words – IICC Talk About It Thursdays
Allyship – Case Study 1
Allyship – Case Study 2
Allyship – Case Study 3

Working Through Difference/Navigating Controversial issues (June 2, 2016 at Sarratt 216/220): This session will focus on engaging in difficult, current, societal, and institutional issues of racism. Using a current issue as a case study, participants will learn how to engage in controversial subjects and navigate both internal and intercultural conflict in a supportive, nonjudgmental, and inoffensive way.

Talk About It Thursdays- Session 5
The Triggering Event Cycle
Triggering Events Activity

Diversity and Assessment (July 7, 2016 at Sarratt 216/220): This session will focus on assessment and evaluation through the lenses of self-awareness and inclusive practices. Participants will learn how to leverage their assessment tools to work towards more inclusive programs and services.

Diversity and Self-Assessment – IICC Talk About It Thursdays
Emotional Feelings Wheel
Social Identity Worksheet. IICC Talk About It Thursdays
Personal Self-Assessment of Anti-Bias Behavior:

Power/Privilege (August 4, 2016 at Alumni Hall 201): This session will focus on developing an understanding of power and privilege. Participants will focus on how one’s identity and the intersections therein perpetuate power and privilege within the context of both Vanderbilt and the world at large.