LAWRENCE – The Michael Tilford Conference on Diversity & Multiculturalism provides an opportunity for individuals at schools governed by the Kansas Board of Regents to approach diversity in higher education by examining the challenges and opportunities in Kansas. This year, the University of Kansas Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging will host the daylong conference Oct. 18 at the Kansas Union. Faculty, staff, administrators and students at all Regents institutions can take part in interactive workshops and presentations to examine problems and solutions specific to diversity in Kansas higher education.
This year’s theme is “Better Together: The Power of Coalition Building in DEI Work.” It reflects the importance of relationships and collaboration in successful efforts.
“This is an opportunity to strengthen not just our coalitions on campus, but also across the state,” said D.A. Graham, interim vice provost of diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging. “Our communities can learn from one another by sharing our successes and our challenges. We are excited to create spaces where attendees can be in dialogue with one another, asking and answering important questions that are core to creating culture change in our campus communities.”
This year’s keynote speaker is Rebecca Nagle, an award-winning advocate, writer and citizen of the Cherokee Nation who identifies as a two-spirit woman. As the host of the chart-topping 2019 podcast “This Land,” Nagle told the story of one Supreme Court case about tribal land in Oklahoma, the small-town murder that started the case and the surprising connection to her family history. Her writing about Native representation and tribal sovereignty has been featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, USA Today, Teen Vogue, HuffPost and more.
The conference has a rich history that spans over two decades. In 1994, the Kansas Regents Conference on Diversity and Multiculturalism instituted an annual conference for diversity in higher education. In 1996, the conference was renamed to honor Michael Tilford (1936-1996), Wichita State University committee representative and noted advocate of diversity in Kansas higher education. The conference took on several forms from 1994-2007, and in 2008, the KBOR Council of Chief Academic Officers decided to rotate the conference among regent universities, which is the current format.
Photo: Rebecca Nagle, an award-winning advocate, writer and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, will be the keynote speaker at the 2021 Michael Tilford Conference on Diversity & Multiculturalism.