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About the American Diversity Report

Reaching the Underserved in Gifted Education – by Holly Paul, Stacey Burt

A Camel Through the Eye of a Needle

The National Association for Gifted Children (2020a) defines gifted children as those “who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude…or competence…in one or more domains.” Gifted programs exist to provide enrichment to the core curriculum and support these children in reaching their potential. Unfortunately, racial and ethnic minority students are regularly underrepresented in these programs, with the largest disparity being black students. It is both immoral and illegal not to educate a child on the low end of the special education spectrum. Why, then, do we not have the same moral imperative to help all intellectually gifted students reach their potential?

While interest in the identification and education of gifted learners has waxed and waned throughout the history of the United States, talent identification again rose to the forefront as soon as the Russians launched the Sputnik rocket (Clark, 2013). As a country we entered a period of high interest in students that showed exceptional talent in the fields of math and science, and while all children demonstrating promise were selected for enrichment and academic acceleration, the majority of those students were white (Kellogg, 2016). The United States remains today at an elevated state of high interest in STEM talent as technology becomes a greater influence and defines national progress, yet blacks are still grossly underrepresented in this area (Hrabowski, 2018).

Continue reading Reaching the Underserved in Gifted Education – by Holly Paul, Stacey Burt

Educate by Flipping the Eye – by Todd Cherches

When I originally envisioned the cover design of my new book, VisuaLeadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life, the image of the eye on the front cover was going to be blue. Not because I have blue eyes (mine are hazel) but, simply, because blue is my favorite color. And because it would align with the name and the brand of my leadership consulting company, BigBlueGumball. lens

 

However, just before officially committing to the blue eye, in the spirit of thinking outside the box I came up with the idea of, instead, using a rainbow-colored eye. This multicolored eye, I felt, better represented the concepts of diversity, inclusion, and belonging, as well as more colorfully foreshadowing the book’s emphasis on innovation and creativity.

So, leaning heavily in favor of the rainbow-colored eye, I decided to post the two options on social media for two reasons: one, just to seek validation for my decision; and, two, to create a little pre-publication social media buzz. Posting the two prototypes on LinkedIn, side-by-side, I asked people to vote on their preference…along with providing their reasons why.

lens

The fact that 80 percent of voters favored the rainbow eye was not at all a surprise. What did surprise and shock me, however, was the anger and vitriol with which a number of respondents attacked me personally for even suggesting the blue eyeball as an option! While, to me, the blue eye was just one of many possible color variations, to many others the symbolism of the blue eye meant so much more. So, despite my innocent (and, perhaps, naïve?) intentions, I ended up being personally accused of being biased and discriminatory at worst, and clueless and “not woke” at best.

Even though none of these things about me were true, and despite my having already decided on the rainbow eye anyway, this incident, which I could not ignore, both shook me up and reinforced how important it is in today’s world to be consciously aware of current sensitivities, as well as the fact that everything we do and say, and every decision we make, needs to be viewed through a lens of diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity.

And this is as important in the world of education as it is anywhere else.

The basic premise of VisuaLeadership is that how we lead is inseparable from the lens through which we view the world. Our beliefs and values, resulting from the cumulative effect of all our life experiences, impact and influence the way we think, the decisions we make, and the actions we take.

When I ask the students in my NYU and Columbia University leadership graduated classes to shout out the first word that comes to mind when they hear the word, “leadership,” what would you guess is the most common response? If you said, “vision,” you would be correct. But what does it mean to have a leadership vision or to be a visionary leader?

Vision, both literally and metaphorically, has to do with “seeing.” And, in a leadership context, it has to do with seeing a future that is different from – and better than – the current reality. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not say that he had a 500-page business plan; he said that he had a Dream. And Job #1 of any leader is to help turn that dream or vision into a reality. And that is, primarily, what the eye on the book jacket was intended to represent: the concept of the “leadership vision.”

But there are two other equally important – if not more important – meanings of the book cover image; and I refer to it as, “Flipping the Eye.”

Firstly, “Flipping the Eye” is about turning the eye on ourselves, and reflecting on who we are and how we are as leaders, and questioning all of our perceptions, preconceptions, assumptions, and beliefs.

And, secondly – and this is where the multicolored rainbow eye really comes into play – it’s about seeing the world, with empathy and compassion, through the lens of those who are different from you.

And nowhere is this more important than in the classroom – whether teaching in person or online.

As educators, we are leaders. And, as leaders, we must consistently focus on “Flipping the Eye.” But how? One way is by looking at and reassessing the images we use, the frameworks we choose, the metaphors we offer, and the stories we tell from the perspective of our students, rather than – as is typically the case – from our own.

In addition to teaching leadership graduate courses at NYU for the past ten years, and at Columbia University for the past six, I am also involved in faculty development (observation, assessment, coaching, and training). As such, I have witnessed, firsthand, the teaching practices of more than 100 of my faculty peers over the years. And one of the most common practices I have observed is instructors thinking and communicating from their own perspective rather than that of their diverse student population. And, in so doing, they often show PowerPoint slide images lacking in diversity; use metaphors that alienate, rather than educate; and tell stories that although well-intended, often offend.

For illustration, I would like to share the following real-life example:

An experienced instructor featured in his class a “Leadership Quotations Quiz” exercise in which students were tasked with filling in the blanks of twelve famous leadership quotes. For example: President John F. Kennedy wrote that, “Leadership and ________[blank] are indispensable to each other.” (The answer, by the way, is “learning.”)

This was an incredibly fun, energizing, and creative gamification activity that fully engaged the students in the learning process, got their wheels turning, had them interacting with their peers. It ultimately led to groans, smiles, and laughter as the instructor, in an entertaining fashion, revealed each answer with a series of visual PowerPoint slides that each featured a photo of the speaker along with the completed quote.

Looking at the list of quotations on the quiz sheet, there appeared to be no issue at all. Seeing the visual images of the answers during the slide presentation, however, revealed a glaring (though entirely unintentional) oversight.  As it turned out, the famous speakers of each and every one of the quotes ended up being a middle-aged, white male.

While all the quotes were excellent and relevant choices by well-known leaders, the complete lack of diversity was a glaring mistake and a missed opportunity. The instructor had used this very same quiz for a number of years.  He’d never noticed this now-obvious pattern before…until one of his students respectfully (offline, after class) pointed it out to him.

So, what did the instructor do? Horrified and embarrassed by his obliviousness, he went home that evening and spent three hours researching and replacing more than half of the quotations with a far more diverse representation. Gone were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Ford, and Bill Gates. And in were Ursula Burns, Kenneth Chenault, Indra Nooyi, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Lao Tzu.

The very next class session, the instructor kicked off the class by publicly acknowledging his error in judgment; thanked the student who pointed it out; and proceeded to re-deliver the new-and-improved version of the slides to the delight and appreciation of his 35 students. He also invited the students to submit and share their own favorite leadership quotes in future sessions.

After presenting the new version of the quiz, the icing on the cake, in addition to the students’ round of applause, was the reaction of the student who had bravely brought the issue to the instructor’s attention – despite her admitted (but, as turned out, unwarranted) fear of a possible adverse reaction on the part of her professor.  She publicly acknowledged in front of the entire class that, rather than being defensive or dismissive, the instructor had been open to the feedback, took full responsibility and accountability, and was immediately responsive in terms of rectifying the issue. This brought it to light as a teachable moment…rather than just sweeping it under the rug as he could have. Turning lemons into lemonade, and pulling back the curtain on what happened, this episode became a living lesson in leadership for all involved – both student and teacher alike.

In case you had already guessed, by the way…yes, that instructor was me. And this incident was one of the most “eye-opening” moments of my teaching career. Had I proactively “flipped the eye” ahead of time, I would likely have noticed and remedied the lack-of-diversity oversight on my own, without it having to be pointed out to me. In this situation, I was thankful that my students – because they “assumed positive intent” – viewed this episode as a teachable moment. It was a leadership learning opportunity for all, rather than anything other than that.

When we “flip the eye” for the purpose of consciously reflecting on how we think and communicate, we can see the world through the diverse lens of our students . We will make wiser and more inclusive choices. Flipping the eye,  as both a mantra and a habit, will not only better connect us with our students, but will open our eyes to a new and more diverse world of possibilities.

Women and Higher Education Inequity – by Jaclyn Anderson, Margie Crowe 

 Faculty and Leadership Positions, COVID-19, and Structural Disparities 

Where Are the Allies?

The structural disparities linger within higher education and are influenced by long-standing patriarchal practices and ideologies. These inequalities can lead to a lack of diversity and inclusion of single-parent households and women. The problem has become salient given the current pandemic of COVID-19., which disproportionately affects women and single-parent households. Inflexible thinking and leadership practices in higher education have led to barriers to full inclusion of women in higher education positions that are exacerbated when women must choose between their career and their families. Current higher education leadership practices often disallow or acknowledge the right of women to exist in this space. Institutions are reluctant, and indeed refusing, to allow accommodations for staff, faculty, and students (allowing work from home, reducing attendance requirements, required on-campus hours). Administrations that are rife with patriarchal ideologies, with little or no understanding of the consequences of these archaic policies, seem to continue with business as usual.

Continue reading Women and Higher Education Inequity – by Jaclyn Anderson, Margie Crowe 

STEM Women Make it Count – by Sheila Boyington

‘Make It Count’ Event Commemorates Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote, Highlights Equity and Education

This year of 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of a remarkable shift in the women’s suffrage movement—the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 which ensured a woman’s constitutional right to vote.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

While the movement for equality continues, women leaders in business and STEM across the United States had much progress to celebrate during the centennial milestone. This momentous ‘Make It Count’ occasion celebrated women’s right to vote and provided space for professionals to discuss ways that spark the interest and confidence in women and girls to vote and run for office as well as to pursue STEM-oriented education and careers, leadership opportunities, and equality in business. Like-minded organizations shared best practices, strategies, and results to drive the advancement of female leaders and gender and diversity parity.

Bethany“Right now there is a lot of divisiveness in our country. We need to unify. We need to come together, as women,” said Bethany Hall-Long, Lieutenant Governor of Delaware and the Honorary National Chair of Million Women Mentors (MWM). The Lieutenant Governor served as the keynote speaker and empowered the group. She also shared her experience as a STEM Woman, herself.

SheilaSheila Boyington, President/CEO of Learning Blade and the National States Chair of Million Women Mentors (MWM) served as the event moderator. STEM Women Panelists were: Valoria Armstrong, Vice President National Government and Regulatory Affairs of American Water; Deb Clary, Corporate Director of Humana; and Lynn Kier, Vice President Corporate Communications of Diebold Nixdorf. Breakout Moderators represented the following organizations: Women in Manufacturing (WIM), Science Olympiad, STEMconnector / Million Women Mentors (MWM), the Women in Engineering program at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin / Texas Girls Collaboration Project, and the Aspirations in Computing program of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

LynnPanelist Lynn Kier spoke to equality in education, specifically, advising young women to “look at the STEM fields as well because it’s accessible and it’s not what you think it is. It’s not your father’s factory floor, it’s many cool, cool things to study.” Panelists also shared opinions on voting, industry trends on diversity and inclusion, strategies on elevating women to STEM careers, and ways to “make it count” this year.

In response to the panel, a plethora of ideas were provided by event participants in engaging breakout sessions, such as: connecting with schools as a starting point for civic engagement, being willing to mentor and showcase careers in STEM fields, getting girls to pursue STEM early through classes and career exposure in middle and high school, and providing externship or internship opportunities to students so that they can see STEM workplaces in action.

EdieEdie Fraser of Women Business Collaborative (WBC) made a compelling Call to Action, stating “We’ve got to see voting, and political participation, in a movement like we’ve never seen before.” She then challenged attendees to think, “What are we doing—particularly in our own framework—to get our friends, our colleagues… how many people are you reaching?”

Much of this is made possible through the power of mentoring as we move more girls and women toward equality. This ‘Make It Count’ event rekindled the spark for STEM women to do just that—to look within their own frameworks and identify ways they could do more to ensure improvement of diversity, equity, inclusion, parity, and education.

To read even more highlights from this impactful event, visit https://conta.cc/31hYgJt.

To watch the entire virtual event, visit https://youtu.be/g2OG5Zjd7Ns.

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Editor’s Note:
ADR STEM Women Study Guide CLICK HERE

 

Our Fathers: Learning from Wounds – by Laszlo Patrovics

Perhaps the past Century will not be known for the World Wars, for the atom bomb, for the rapid growth of scientific technology leading to IT, nor for even the Holocaust and a new awareness of crimes against humanity. In the long eye of history, perhaps the past Century will be known for fatherlessness. As such it will also be known for “Atyahiány”, Our Father’s absence, a most bitter and embittering fatherlessness: For Hitler was fatherless, Stalin was fatherless, Sceuicescu, the tyrant of Romania, was a bastard, Sadam Hussein of Iraq had no father, the ruler of Libya, Khadaffi was fatherless, Castro was a bastard.

Psychology in all of the last Century focused almost entirely on the role of the mother. We know little about the role of the father in child development.  But we have certainly experienced the role of fatherlessness in our lives and in wars and in loss. Much of the world has embraced nihilism, a nothingness that emanated from the past Century as a precursor for the First World War, the Modernism from Nietchze’s anti-Christ, only to be revived by Hitler in the mandala of the broken cross, the swastika of the Nazi.  Our epoch may become known, in its own way, as the time when Our Father was absent. What we are coming to know is that the father is critical to the development of the child, especially in later childhood and in the teen years.

Continue reading Our Fathers: Learning from Wounds – by Laszlo Patrovics

2020 BOOKS FOR PEACE AWARD 

Deborah Levine  Editor-in-Chief of the American Diversity Report, and her 15 books have been honored with the 2020 International BOOKS FOR PEACE award. The award was born from a project of a group of associations with the aim of enhancing the books (through a literary competition), featuring culture, people, sport, art, dealing with the topics of Peace in the round, not only between peoples, but of peoples: such as gender-based violence, bullying, racial and religious discrimination, social and cultural integration.

Today, in it’s 4th year, the international alliances have expanded to include:

  • IODHR: International Organization for Democracy and Human Rights – Norway
  • INSPAD – Institute of Peace and Development – Pakistan and European Union
  • INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – European Union
  • AFRICAN NGOs DEVELOPMENT NETWORK  – Africa
  • GLOBAL CAMPAIGN TO END CHILD MARRIAGE
  • MY BODY IS MY BODY – United Kingdom and USA
  • FAAVM – Federal association for the Advancement of Visible Minorities – Canada
  • IHRMWORLD – International Human Rights Movement – United Kingdom
  • NHRF – NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN FEDERATION – India
  • FUNVIC – FUNDACAO UNIVERSIDARIA VIDA CRISTA  – Brazil
  • INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
  • MUNDIAL DE EDUCACION PARLIAMENT
  • INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR DIPLOMATIC STUDIES- Norway
  • NAIFA MARUF FOUNDATION – Bangladesh
  • SOCIETY FOR GENDER EQUALITY, EDUCATIONAL, ADVANCEMENT & STRUGGLES – Nigeria
  • INTERNATIONAL ART FOR PEACE FESTIVAL – Iran
  • HUMANITARIAN INITIATIVE CO. LTD – Uganda
  • HOPEWORKS GHANA – Ghana
  • MAHATMA GANDHI GLOBAL PEACE FOUNDATION – India
  • GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY OF PEACE – USA
  • PAKISTAN SAFETY COUNCIL – Pakistan

Books for Peace

Future of Diversity Amid Pandemic – ADR TOWN HALL

ADROn Sept. 14, the American Diversity Report (ADR), an award-winning digital multimedia platform, held an interactive virtual Town Hall featuring a distinguished panel of experts to discuss the future of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in education and employment amid COVID-19. We thank the many donors who made this event and ADR’s next year possible. CLICK to see List of ADR DONORS 

“For 15 years, the American Diversity Report’s dozens of writers from around the U.S. and the world has provided inspiration and instruction, trends and analysis expertise.  We recognize that the coronavirus pandemic requires a new perspective and innovative approach to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Deborah Levine, ADR’s Editor-in-Chief and an award-winning author of 15 books.

CLICK SEE THE TOWN HALL VIDEO.

Continue reading Future of Diversity Amid Pandemic – ADR TOWN HALL

Racial justice is not political correctness – by Deborah Levine

(originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press)

DEBORAH LEVINE
Editor-in-Chief Deborah J. Levine

The giant earthquake over our African American history at Trump’s Tulsa rally was followed by a tiny spotlight on Native Americans who protested against Trump’s July 4th appearance at Mount Rushmore. The monument is on sacred Sioux Nation land, but National Guard troops fired pepper spray and arrested indigenous protesters.

Before anyone calls Sioux protestors left-wing radicals, marxists, and anarchists, understand that the National Park Service banned fireworks at Mount Rushmore because they caused wildfires and groundwater pollution on Sioux Nation land.

Continue reading Racial justice is not political correctness – by Deborah Levine

Diversity & Speech Part 13: Education and Equity – by Carlos E. Cortés

Carlos Cortez
ADR Advisor Dr. Carlos Cortez

Education, particularly higher education, has become ground zero for the clash of inclusive diversity and robust speech.  Many administrators and professors proclaim their support of both.  So do I.  Yes, they can co-exist.  But there will be clashes, inevitably.  Which means decisions, tough decisions, will have to be made.

In the wake of the Memorial Day police killing of George Floyd, those decisions became more complex and more contentious.  College leaders throughout the country proclaimed their horror about that Minneapolis event and vowed that their campuses would not only continue to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, but would also assert leadership in anti-racism.

Such anti-racist proclamations are needed.  But what does that mean when it comes to action?  What should college leaders do if members of their campus communities use their robust speech to express anti-equity ideas, particularly ones that are deemed to be racist?

Continue reading Diversity & Speech Part 13: Education and Equity – by Carlos E. Cortés

Education about Racial Issues – Who educates who? – by Terry Howard

Terry Howard

My hunch is that the majority of those well-meaning folks who say, “When I see you, I don’t color,” or a variation, have no idea how exhaustive it can be to many Black folks. And to Black folks who hear this constantly, the typical response is usually a deep inhale and a …. “well, here we go again!”

Case in point is Oprah Winfrey’s latest magazine “O” with an advice column headlined, “How to Deal with Your White Friends”– advice for Black women feeling worn down by the neediness of others to help them deal with racial issues.”

So why this recent surge in interest in racial issues, Black ones in particular?

Continue reading Education about Racial Issues – Who educates who? – by Terry Howard