Agenda & Session Overviews

9:00 – 9:30 a.m.

Opening Convocation

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.


Keynote from Prof. Dr. Jojanneke van der Toorn from the University of Utrecht

Diversity and inclusion are topics that are increasingly getting attention in education and industry. Although progress has been made, there are still many obstacles to overcome when it comes to inclusive workplaces. In this keynote, Prof. Dr. Jojanneke van der Toorn demonstrates the power of the norm in from this norm and what institutions can do to counteract it.

10:30 – 10:45


10:45 – 11:45

Session Group 1

From Deficit to Difference: A Cross-Cultural Communication Approach to Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in organizations are slowly beginning to turn their attention to the issue of neurodiversity, or neurological differences, in their hiring and retention efforts. Universities also have increased awareness and services for students diagnosed under the umbrella term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, the current paradigm frames individuals who are neurologically different than the dominant norm, such as those identified on the Autism Spectrum, as having a disorder. They are described as having deficits in social interaction because they have difficulty interpreting non-verbal, contextual, and emotional cues. This label and description are based upon neuronormative assumptions about communication that stigmatize those who are neurologically different from the dominant norm. To help construct more inclusive and equitable workplace environments, this presentation offers a cross-cultural approach that recognizes ASD communication as a difference in communication styles rather than a deficit and provides a cross-cultural communication framework for understanding how these differences might be bridged.

You Have a Friend in Me: Creating Safety and Belonging for LGBTQI+ Refugees

A record number of anti-LGBTQI+ bills have been proposed or passed in the past year. LGBTQI+ refugees who are fleeing violence due to their sexual and/or gender identity can experience ongoing trauma if the area where they resettle has anti-LGBTQI+ bills in place that targets their community and limits their human rights.

The presentation will include data regarding current anti-LGBTI+ legislation as well as evidence-based information on what steps need to be taken to create inclusion and safety for refugees who resettle in the United States. The legislation’s impact on refugees will be discussed as well as the role of community and peer supports to create a sense of safety and belonging for refugees in our communities.

11:45 – 1:00

Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:30

Workshop 1 

Student Journey Mapping Experience and How to Apply to EI Opportunities

Understanding your student experience is KEY to improving your service to diverse populations. East Central College participated in the MDHEWD Journey Mapping Workshop with the purpose of matriculating students from AEL to the college. Representatives from multiple divisions of the college, including administrative team members, invested their time and expertise in this best practice activity. The Journey Mapping Experience has since been applied in other areas of the college, particularly around students’ success, and how our institution can serve our students better. This session will give a high-level overview of the Student Journey Mapping process, and how to utilize it to better understand your LGBTQIA+ students’ experiences on your campuses.

2:30 – 2:45

Day 1 Closing Session

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

Opening Session

9:00 – 10:30 

Workshop Sessions 2 & 3

Institutional Infrastructure and Its Impact on the Student Experience through an Intersectional Lens

Committed to raising the profile of Social Justice in Higher Education in the UK and internationally, Diversity and Ability (D&A) will present this session in three distinct parts, with focus on ensuring equity of opportunity and access to education for all, achieving sustainable participation across learning pathways in Higher Education, and inclusive of Student Services offer.

Growing and Sustaining Affinity Groups in Higher Education

The intent of this 90-minute panel discussion style workshop is to explore the development and implementation of affinity groups at one diverse , community college institution in the Kansas City region. “Affinity groups, also known as employee resource groups (ERGs), bring together employees with similar backgrounds or interests and can have a powerful influence in the workplace” (SHRM, 2019). The format of this workshop would be a moderated panel discussion with expert panelists who bring rich knowledge and experience in leading affinity groups, followed by break-out sessions around each affinity group area: African American Faculty/Staff Affinity Group, Latin X Affinity Group, LGBTQ Affinity Group, and Women’s Mentorship and Networking Affinity Group. The panel discussion and question portion would focus on issues of developing new affinity groups, programming and collaboration and maintaining momentum across the spectrum of new to mature groups. The break out portion of the session would allow participants to connect with other groups they either have interest in starting or leading, where participants can share ideas, resources and best practices.

10:30 – 10:45


10:45 – 11:45

Featured Session

Supporting Student Success through a Thoughtful Data Strategy

In this session, we will identify the disconnects that often stand in the way of meaningful progress. From inquiry to analysis, we will explore a cycle connecting your mission, assets, needs, and intended outcomes to a thoughtful data strategy for supporting student success.

11:45 – 1:00

Lunch Break

1:00 – 2:30

Workshop Sessions 4 & 5

Connecting Diverse Talent with Opportunities Using Micro-Internships

In this panel conversation, learn about unique partnerships connecting diverse students to businesses and networks that will expand career pathways via paid, professional projects. Each program provides an accessible opportunity for students of differing backgrounds and abilities while also increasing student placement rates and driving economic development.

Disability: New, Different, Transformatory, or Revolutionary Strategies and Approaches in Higher Education

This presentation will demonstrate how audio description (AD) provides access to the arts and myriad cultural activities for people who are blind. AD, a form of audiovisual translation, translates visual images to a sense form that is accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, describers observe, select, and then succinctly and vividly use language to convey the visual image that is not fully accessible to a segment of the population—the American Foundation for the Blind notes that 31 million Americans are blind or “have difficulty seeing even with correction”.

Cultural activities are an important element of our society, often expressing values, trends, fads, historical perspectives, or future directions. People who are blind or visually impaired want and need to be a part of society in all its aspects. Audio description – for media, voiced in pauses between lines of dialogue or critical sound elements – provides the means for blind or visually impaired people to have full and equal participation in cultural life. This is particularly true within higher education contexts, in arts presentations on campus and in every academic presentation or lecture that includes visual elements.

In the United States and in countries throughout the world the principal constituency for audio description has an unemployment rate of about 70%. With more meaningful access to our culture, people become more engaged with society and more engaging individuals—thus, more employable.

2:30 – 2:45


2:45 – 3:15

Trend Talks

Outcomes for Students Enrolled in Inclusive Higher Education Programs in the Midwest

This trend talk will share data and information from the over 15 years of Inclusive Higher Education programs in Missouri. The signing of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 launched the growth of inclusive post-secondary programs (IPSE) for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Now Missouri is home to three IPSE programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Central Missouri, and Missouri State University. With more programs in development the presenters will review the impact that IPSE programs in the state have had on the students enrolled in them. Through visuals the presenters will review outcome data in the programs as it relates to employment, independent living, community connection, and academics. This presentation will show through data and discussion the impact the IPSE has had on the state and region, and help attendees gain a better understanding of the importance of these programs for quality-of-life outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Engaging Communities to Promote Competitive Integrated Employment for Students with Disabilities

This trend talk will share findings from community conversations that focus on identifying innovative ways to increase the competitive integrated employment of college students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The presenters will graphically display and discuss (a) innovative strategies communities can use to prepare college students with IDD for competitive integrated employment and (b) ways in which community members can work together to implement these strategies.

Centering Intersectionality in Metrics of Post Secondary Access and Success: Implications for Equity in Missouri Higher Education

College completion is important for both individuals and the economy, as the Coordinating Board for Higher Education recognized in setting the “Big Goal.” Yet, disparities in degree completion by student demographic characteristics have been persistent over time. Using publicly available data from DESE and DHEWD, we present trends in postsecondary access and success for Missouri high school graduates, providing an in-depth examination of how these results vary by geographic region and high school characteristics including school locale, racial composition, and income levels. This trend talk, in addition to our reports on postsecondary access and success in Missouri, is intended to encourage civic leaders, educators, and the public to focus on postsecondary access and success when they consider the performance of Missouri high schools.

Findings indicate college enrollment in Missouri has declined and credential attainment has remained relatively stagnant over the last decade. We observe clear differences in college access and success for our students based on school location and student population, with the largest disparities occurring by income and racial composition of high schools.

KC Scholars: Uncommon Results for Equitable Futures

KC Scholars is achieving uncommon results with scholarship programs for low and modest income individuals in the Kansas City Metro. The program serves 6,069 scholars with 81% individuals of color in three scholarship programs. The first cohort of traditional scholarship awardees have a 94% annual persistence rate and a projected 70+% graduation rate for next spring. Learn about the this program as well as the exciting new endeavors for KC Scholars including short term pathways to jobs paying $45,000-$85,000 and the KC Talent Network.

3:15 – 3:30 

Closing Session