Collaborators for Change: Best Practices in Diversity and Inclusion


A great success!

Thank you to everyone in the campus community that made Collaborators for Change a great success. We look forward to the important work our diversity councils and commissions will complete in the coming year.

See photos from the event on Flickr:


This inaugural diversity council and commission summit will bring together diversity advocates across campus to explore and share best practices for forming and sustaining a diversity council within your unit.

This summit is intended for current members of University of Tennessee diversity councils and commissions, as well as persons in the process of forming a diversity council or commission.

The summit is scheduled for Friday, September 12, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Student Health Center and the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center. Breakfast and lunch are included with registration.

Please circulate our flyer to interested individuals. We will update this page with the latest information as it is available.

Seating is limited. Registration is available on a first come, first serve basis.

Keynote Speaker

lakerKeynote speaker Dr. Jason Laker is a tenured, Full Professor in the Department of Counselor Education and Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, and former Vice President for Student Affairs at San Jose State University in California. He previously served as AVP & Dean of Student Affairs, Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Democracy, and on the Gender Studies Faculty at Queen’s University in Canada. He has taught courses and spoken extensively about issues of identity and diversity, especially related to gender. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, where he also served as Director of Business Programs and Workforce Development. Dr. Laker also holds a Master of Arts degree in Community Counseling. His national and international activities include engagements as board member, visiting faculty, consultant or speaker, particularly in Europe. His scholarly work includes four books in the U.S., Canada and Internationally relating to gender, identity issues and democratic citizenship. He is a popular campus speaker who has received awards for his research, teaching and service.




8:00 – 8:30: Breakfast

  • Student Health Center: 2nd floor, Conference Room A/B

8:30am – 9:30am: Keynote Session with Dr. Jason Laker

  • During the keynote presentation, Dr. Jason Laker will discuss persistent challenges and hopeful possibilities associated with diversity work in higher education.  Some of the tensions around inter-group and intra-group trust and politics will be addressed, including the historic “baggage” and dirty laundry we face that undermines the courage, resilience and creativity needed to speak truthfully and to make meaningful and lasting change.
  • Student Health Center: 2nd floor, Conference Room A/B

9:45am – 10:45am: First concurrent sessions

  • Best Practices sharing from keynote speaker Dr. Jason Laker
    • Dr. Jason Laker will facilitate a working session for participants to engage in honest dialogue about the present state and future prospects for an inclusive campus community at the University of Tennessee. During this session, attendees will be challenged to critically consider so-called best practices, and whether they really move us closer to the ideals of multiculturalism, diversity and excellence to which we aspire.  We will use an asset-based approach to identify locations and situations of success at UT, and consider how these can be applied more broadly to achieve a community that embraces all of its members, and supports their success and wellbeing.
    • Student Health Building: Conference Room A/B
  • Best Practices sharing from Vice Chancellor for Diversity Rickey Hall and Dr. Kenli Urruty
    • Facilitated by Vice Chancellor Hall and Dr. Urruty, this session will apply the Institutional Cycle of Sameness to the UT Student Counseling Center Diversity Committee’s journey. Best practices for breaking the cycle and maintaining a thriving committee will then be discussed. Major topic areas will include composition of committees, benchmarking, communication, and sustainability.
    • Student Health Building: Room 204

11:00am – noon: Second concurrent sessions

  • Meet with your own Diversity Council
    • Practical application and goal setting for diversity councils/committees. This is your chance to discuss ideas and goals that are applicable to your particular entity or group. Since each group or entity faces unique challenges with regard to diversity, it is our hope that you can tailor the ideas and strategies presented by our speakers to improve diversity in your area.
    • Music Center: Room 110
  • Nuts and Bolts of Starting Your Own Diversity Council
    • Facilitated by Lili’a Uili Neville, co-chair for the Commission for Blacks, and Tyvi Small, Director of the Office of Diversity and Community Relations in the College of Business Administration. Lili’a and Tyvi have nearly a combined 10 years serving on diversity committees at UT and will present best practices for those wanting to form and lead a diversity council. Session attendees will engage in an interactive session to personalize the best practices discussion.
    • Music Center: Room 135

Noon – 1:00pm: Closing remarks and lunch

  • Music Center: Room 12