Speaker to address understanding and diversity

Kelly Petryszyn

Series, aimed at faculty, hopes to create more inclusive environment

Vickie Ellison said everyone has a different definition of diversity, but many people tend to think of it as race or ethnicity.

“Diversity is not one size fits all,” said the Spanish and pedagogy professor. She is also the chair of racial and ethnic concerns committee for the Kent State chapter of the American Association of University Professors. She decided to start the speaker series titled “Diverseness of Diversity” to broaden narrow definitions of diversity.

Tonae Bolton, the director of professional development and adult learning programs at the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, is the first in the series to speak, set for 7 p.m. today in Room 317 of the Student Center.

Bolton said she aims to move people beyond just tolerance and into a celebration of differences with her speech.

She said attendees should expect to learn how to work and play together while maintaining an appreciation for each other. She added that it’s important for people to feel included.

The speaker series is mostly targeted at faculty, but Ellison said anyone who is interested in diversity may attend. Ellison said she decided to focus the series on faculty because she felt there was not a great deal of inclusiveness for the minority faculty. She added, though, that students can often relate to the issues faculty face.

“There will always be exclusion everywhere until we learn that we are part of the solution for inclusion,” she said.

The series will continue with a speech on issues of the deaf culture Nov. 5 by “The Morgan,” who operates under a stage name. Ellison said the committee is trying to bring two more speakers for next semester.

Contact diversity reporter Kelly Petryszyn at