Dealing with Difference Institute


The goals of the annual Dealing with Difference Institute reflect those of the Initiative for Social Justice Pedagogies of which it is an integral part:

  • To provide resources as well as networking and professional development opportunities for Western’s faculty, staff, and students who are interested in furthering awareness and understanding of cultural diversity.
  • To help WIU personnel transform the curriculum and the learning environment into a more inclusive and representative experience given increasingly diverse campuses and ever-expanding interaction across the U.S.A. and the globe.
  • To help faculty, staff, and students acquire the competencies they need to communicate and interact effectively within a culturally diverse world.
  • To draw attention to the social justice and human rights issues identified with cultural diversity and provide resources that educators can access to help further justice and equality.

In addition to these general goals, each DWDI focuses on a particular theme that allows participants to explore various aspects of cultural diversity in greater depth. Sharing information and insight are complementary goals in each instance. Several institutes, for example, revolved around the cultures of particular ethnic groups, including those of African, Asian, Latino/a, Middle Eastern, and Native Americans. Others have explored identity development, communication styles, master narratives that define the values and and ambitions of cultural groups, the role of fear within society, media’s impact on intercultural understanding, and anti-racist, nonviolent activism.