The Research Diversity Conference. If you are a journalism, communication or public relations major then you have probably heard about this. If you are not in any of these majors, then you may not have heard about this event yet.
The conference dates will be October 29-30, 2008. This is the first conference that the office of diversity and multicultural affairs has put on. The title of the conference is “Understanding Differences that Matter.” The goal of this conference is “developing an Initiative that becomes a national leader in facilitating, generating, and sharing research that is cutting-edge and diversity-focused.” The conference will be held at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center.
The feature inaugural speakers for this conference will be Patricia Arredondo and Elijah Anderson. Patricia Arredondo is Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin. She has researched and published many articles on diversity. She also has written books on the subject. Elijah Anderson is William K. Lanman, Jr., Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Elijah Anderson has also written several articles and books on the study of diversity.
Also, honoring the first recipients of the Distinguished Diversity Researcher awards are: Toni Alexander, Michael J. Clay, Conner Bailey, Juan E. Gilbert, Robin Sabino and Marilyn E. Strutchens.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Juan Gilbert. I did not realize that he was one of the speakers during the conference so it was a surprise when he told me that he was speaking on Wednesday night. He was such an easy person to talk to. I had no trouble in getting a video interview from him. He cares so much about diversity research and by listening to him, you can tell that he has done his homework on the subject. “Doing research on, with respect to diversity, and all the different types of diversity is critical to the betterment of our nation,” Gilbert said, “And in particular, research to enable us to have better innovation by having different ideas, different people, different cultures and different backgrounds we have many perspectives that can fuel our innovation in our nation.”
By having this conference at Auburn University it shows that Auburn is a leader. There are no other initiatives or institutes that are doing what Auburn is doing right now. By Auburn doing this, it could lead other universities to do the same thing.
The Auburn Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs “aims to celebrate diversity-embracing something or someone different from us.” They “work at creating an environment where you receive kindness and consideration out of respect and receive equal attention based on effort, knowledge, ability, talent and hard work.” The office of diversity and multicultural affairs has come out with a diversity handbook. This handbook lists various diversity-related programs at Auburn University.
The Research Diversity Conference should be a fun night for everyone involved. There will be so many people speaking who are passionate about diversity. This is definitely an event that will benefit everyone who chooses to go.

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