Dr. Pam Parry, chair of the Department of Mass Media at Southeast Missouri State University, recently co-edited a new book about diversity issues on college campuses.
Additionally, four Southeast faculty members and staff contributed to “Exploring Campus Diversity: Case Studies and Exercises” which will be available this November.
Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, multimedia journalism coordinator in the Department of Mass Media, contributed three chapters regarding how to incorporate diversity in classroom discussion and diversity in student media. Dr. Kirsten LaMantia, assistant professor of educational leadership and counseling, and Dr. Holly Wagner, assistant professor in counseling education, jointly contributed three chapters about how to be the best advocate, LGBTQ+ issues and definitions, and privilege. Sonia Rucker, assistant to the president for equity and diversity and dean of students, wrote one of the book’s endorsements appears on the back cover.
The book is designed for use in undergraduate courses and features 38 case studies that were submitted by 23 contributors. Parry says the book is meant to encourage teachers and students alike to consider their own biases and realize the prejudice that still exists on college campuses today.
“Open a newspaper, turn on a television set, look at your smartphone, listen to the radio – evidence we still grapple with these issues is everywhere you look,” she said. “Open your eyes, your hearts, and your minds, because we have work to do.”
Discussion questions are included in hopes of opening the door for people to talk about real and relevant diversity issues.
LaMantia and Wagner worked together to contribute three chapters to the book. Their writings discuss white privilege, the LGBTQ+ community, and what it means to be an ally.
“Diversity is not the goal – inclusion and equity are,” LaMantia said. “A diverse pool of people add value to any given environment.”
Wagner agreed, adding “There is still a reality of oppression and marginalization in our society regarding many aspects that make our populations diverse. In an effort to promote social justice and multicultural awareness, we must continue to speak about, celebrate, and advocate for equality.”
Rucker, who spends her workdays promoting fairness and civility at Southeast through the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, is passionate about fostering an accepting and diverse environment on college campuses. Her work was a source of inspiration for the endorsement she wrote for the cover of Exploring Campus Diversity.
“This book really provides an important platform in which to discuss the challenges and pitfalls which may arise as we strive to become a more diverse and inclusive community,” said Rucker. “In order to be inclusive, we have to be open to having discussions about the various identities which our community members may hold.”
Parry is very proud to have Southeast faculty and staff be among the contributors.
“Having so many Southeast contributors is an indication how much the University cares about diversity,” she said. “We do our best to walk the talk on our campus and embrace diversity issues and solutions.”
“Exploring Campus Diversity” is co-edited by Parry and Dr. Sherwood Thompson of Eastern Kentucky University. It will be available for purchase Nov. 15 from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers and Amazon.