12/10/2018 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Conferences
Join Us for the 5th-Annual FORUM/Diversity
Five years ago, CS&A had a vision to create an event that supports independent schools in their commitment to diversity and opens job opportunities for educators from marginalized groups. The first FORUM/Diversity was held in 2015 in Philadelphia, and has grown into a two-day event welcoming hundreds of schools and job seekers from around the world who share an interest and dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Our 2019 FORUM/Diversity will take place January 25 and 26 in Philadelphia, and marks the fifth anniversary of this unique event. We’re looking forward to welcoming educators passionate about DEI in independent schools to network, discuss, interview, share their stories, and support their peers. The forum is a combined hiring and professional development event: each day will feature back-to-back 30-minute interview slots and professional development panels and seminars occurring concurrently. A national conference that will draw both job seekers and schools from across the country and the world, FORUM/Diversity's theme for this year is “Lifting As We Climb: Steps to Transformation.”
We will soon be announcing the extraordinary slate of educational leaders we have lined up to facilitate a variety of professional development discussions and presentations. Job-seekers and aspiring DEI leaders will be given the opportunity to network with these educators, build their professional networks, and find the right professional match with schools that are passionate about and committed to diversity (check out last year's schedule, including panel leaders and session topics).
This year's event will feature keynotes from two of the most well-respected minds on DEI. We are thrilled to share that academic, author, and orator Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Dr. Peggy McIntosh, Senior Research Associate at the Wellesley Centers for Women, will each deliver a keynote address.
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is a sociology professor at Georgetown, a New York Times contributing opinion writer, and a contributing editor of both The New Republic and of ESPN's The Undefeated website. His rise from humble roots in Detroit to his present perch as a world class intellectual, noted author of 19 books, and prominent leader on topics of race, politics, religion, and culture testify to his extraordinary talent and influence. His 1994 book “Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X” was named one of the most important African American books of the 20th century. Dyson's recent book, the widely-praised New York Times bestseller “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America,” has been described by the New York Times as “One of the most frank and searing discussions on race…”.
Dr. Peggy McIntosh is Senior Research Associate at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. In 1987, she founded, and for 25 years co-directed, the National SEED Project on Inclusive Curriculum (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity). She consults widely in the U.S. and throughout the world on creating inclusive curricula and classrooms. In 1988, she published the ground-breaking article “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work on Women’s Studies.” This analysis has been instrumental in putting the dimension of privilege into discussions of power, gender, race, and sexuality in the U.S. Her more recent work on privilege includes “White Privilege, Color and Crime,” “White Privilege: An Account to Spend,” and “White People Facing Race: Five Myths that Keep Racism in Place.”
To get their perspective around this milestone event and the thought that goes into planning it, we sat down with Kim Garner, Director of Conferences, and Placement Associate Alex McLean, a member of CS&A's Diversity Committee.
FORUM/Diversity is taking place over two days for the second year in a row, but is featuring two keynote speakers for the first time. Tell me about that decision and how the speakers were chosen.
As a committee we felt as through having two people kick off both mornings would be helpful in setting the tone for each day. It is important to carve out specific time over the two days when interviews are not taking place…without the labels of “hiring contact” or “job seeker”…to be present and to listen to the wisdom Dr. Dyson and Dr. McIntosh have to offer. Both speakers offer an authentic perspective on equity, inclusion, and education. They have done the work; they’ve been through it and continue to use their voices for progress.
What sort of work has the Diversity Committee at CS&A been doing in preparation for the conference?
The Diversity Committee has grown internally over the last year which has been great. It’s important to hear different voices and challenge one another, as well as learn together. As a firm we are working with Lawrence Alexander from The White Mountain School (also a Consultant with CS&A) to help us examine ourselves and the work we are doing. Lawrence has been incredibly impactful in helping us examine our current practices around what we can do to continue to push the efforts of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our schools and the community at large, and how we can better serve our candidates and schools. He’s been a great leader in this work for us, and we are humbled by the opportunity to self-examine and grow as a firm for the better.
Being passionate about DEI work and being informed are two different things; one takes more time and effort than the other. We as an organization are committed to doing the work. It’s not easy but it’s necessary. We also have a bit of a book club happening as a committee. Some of the works we've been reading include “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America” by Michael Eric Dyson, “White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo, “One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium” by Kevin Jennings, “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie…I could go on and on!
This is the fifth consecutive year CS&A has hosted FORUM/Diversity. What are your thoughts on this milestone year?
I’m in awe we are in our fifth year for this event, and I’m humbled to be at the helm. It’s really incredible to see how far we’ve come and how much the event has grown. Being able to provide a safe space for people from marginalized groups and their allies to come together to listen, learn, and support is extremely necessary today. Conversations are not always easy. No one has all the answers. We are all at different places in our journeys. But if we lift as we climb, we will grow and have a lasting impact in our communities.
Registration for FORUM/Diversity is open and spots are filling up fast! Learn more about the event and check out hotel and other information here.