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History of Dealing With Difference Institute

Since 1994, the Dealing with Difference Institute (DWDI) has offered WIU faculty, staff and students as well as educators from across the region and the state, opportunities to discuss a wide range of topics related to cultural diversity and social justice.

Issues of race/ethnicity, gender, class, and sexual orientation have been embedded in each of the institutes while themes such as identity development, media representation, multicultural consciousness, white privilege, anti-racist activism, intercultural communication, the uses and abuses of fear in a culturally diverse world, multiculturalism vs. assimilation, and nonviolent strategies for social transformation have been explored from multiple perspectives and through various conference formats. Pragmatic instruction strategies have been interwoven with theoretical constructs in each of the institutes; innovative approaches have been introduced; and early takes on multicultural education have been examined and re-examined as the field has evolved and educators have sought to develop cultural competency skills without losing sight of social justice issues.

Some of the scholars who have contributed to these discussions are the following individuals. They are identified via their current affiliations and some of their major areas of study.

  • Dr. Nancy “Rusty” Barcelo. President, Northern New Mexico College. Equity and diversity
  • Dr. James B. Boyer, Kansas State University, a Founding member of the National Association for Multicultural Education. Curriculum and classroom climate assessment
  • Dr. Carlos E. Cortes, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Riverside. History and media representation
  • Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, President of Spellman College. Psychology and identity development
  • Dr. Derald Wing Sue, Professor of Psychology and Education, Columbia University. Counseling
  • Dr. Peggy McIntosh, Senior Research Scientist and Associate Director, Wellesley Centers for Women. White privilege
  • Dr. Johnnella Butler, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Spellman College. Education
  • Dr. William Ayers, Retired Distinguished Professor Education and Senior University Scholar, University of Illinois, Chicago. Interactive teaching/learning
  • Dr. Sut Jhally, Professor of Communication, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Founder and Director of the Media Education Foundation
  • Dr. Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita of College of Professional Studies, California State University, Monterey Bay. Multicultural education
  • Dr. Geneva Gay, Professor of Education, University of Washington, Seattle. Effective teaching/learning
  • Dr. Michael Omi, Professor of Ethnic and Asian American Studies, University of California, Berkeley.  Racial formation
  • Ms. Paula Rothenberg, former director of the New Jersey Project on Inclusive Scholarship, Curriculum, and Teaching. Senior Fellow at the Murphy Institute, CUNY.
  • Dr. Jack G. Shaheen, Professor Emeritus, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Author of Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People.
  • Dr. Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, Distinguished Professor of Globalization and Education, New York University. Immigration studies
  • Dr. Henry A. Giroux, Global Television Network Chair in Communication Studies, McMaster University. Cultural critic, scholar,  and author
  • Dr. Donaldo Macedo, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Education, University of Massachusetts, Boston. Chief translator and interpreter in English of Paulo Freire’s work.
  • Mr. Maurice Ashley, First African American International Grand Master of Chess and a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman’s Center. Games as educational tool
  • Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and chair of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Creator of Kwanzaa. Multiculturalism and ethics
  • Mr. Tim Wise, author,anti-racist activist, and lecturer. His latest book: Dear White America: Letter to a New Majority.
  • Dr. Shakti Butler, filmmaker, educator, and founder of World Trust Educational Trust. Her latest film is Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity
  • Dr. Pedro Noguera, sociologist, Distinguished Professor of Education, New York University and Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Education.
  • Rev. C. T. Vivian, leader in the Civil Rights Movement and educator
  • Dr. James A. Banks. Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Multicultural Education, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Dr. Paul Gorski, Associate Professor, Integrative Studies, George Mason University, and founder of EdChange, a coalition of educators and activists committed to educational equity
  • Dr. Barbara Ransby, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, History, and African American Studies
  • Dr. Ann Russo, Professor and Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies, DePaul University