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Monday, November 8, 2021


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Posted: Friday, November 5, 2021

CUMU Learning and Sharing Virtual Series - 'The Doctor Is In: Using Faculty Connections and Partners to Increase Engagement' - November 8

Please join the Civic and Community Engagement Office for the webinar "The Doctor Is In: Using Faculty Connections and Partners to Increase Engagement" on Monday, November 8, at 2:30 p.m. This event is presented by the CUMU Learning and Sharing Virtual Series and is free to members of the Buffalo State community. 

Faculty connections and institutional partnerships can be leveraged strategically to increase engagement among alumni and friends. Learn how one institution took a new twist on an old concept through the creation of the Office Hours Virtual Series, featuring faculty experts participating in a question-and-answer session with alumni, donors, faculty, staff, and student attendees. Curiosities were piqued, relationships were renewed, and resources were highlighted across seven lively hour-long discussions hosted throughout the academic year.

The Office Hours Virtual Series was created in partnership with the Oakland University Alumni Association, Center for Civic Engagement, and Professional and Continuing Education as a way to engage alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community members with faculty subject matter experts who could speak on relevant, timely topics in an open, unscripted format. The “office hours” concept was highlighted because they wanted attendees to know they could drive the discussion through their own questions.

The presenters will talk about the Center for Civic Engagement’s mission to be a “convener of conversations” as an important element of the series, as the ability to curate respectful discussion around each of the topics was critical. They will detail the involvement of the Alumni Association and Professional and Continuing Education in managing and promoting the series, and they'll discuss the collaboration between all three areas in recruiting speakers for the seven sessions. Then, they'll walk through an analysis of attendees and program evaluations relative to their goal to increase engagement, as well as lessons learned and plans for the future.

The session presenters will be David Dulio, professor of political science and director of the Center for Civic Engagement; Erin Sudrovech, director of alumni engagement; and Amy Olind, assistant director of professional and continuing education, all of whom were involved in the series from its inception.

To conclude, they will offer a how-to guide to implement a similar series at your institution, regardless of size of staff or budget. With the right partners, this program can be scaled and executed with just a bit of coordination among staff and faculty members.


Following this presentation will be "Localized Inclusive History Tours Serve as a Racism Reduction Strategy for Students in Health and Human Services Disciplines," featuring Farron Kilburn from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

She will address project background, goals, methodologies, outcomes, and replicability as outlined in the abstract below. (References and citations to all background can be provided upon request; they will be provided in a presentation format.)

Health disparities between White and Black residents in the U.S. are well known; Black people experience higher rates for diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease compared with others. In Tennessee, Black individuals are more likely to die from diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease compared with White residents. Racism was noted in Healthy People 2020 as a contributing factor to health disparities for Black people, with White people receiving better quality of care over non-White people. Additionally, provider empathy lowers patients’ anxiety and distress and delivers significantly better clinical outcomes. Racism reduction strategies as well as methods for increasing empathy for health-care professionals are therefore one method for reducing discrimination and improving patient outcomes in the health and human services professions. Data supports that storytelling can both increase empathy and reduce racism.

This project incorporated a walking tour based on the localized history of civil rights, White supremacy, and anti-racist resistance into multiple courses representing various areas of study, including graduate nursing and undergraduate social work and sociology students at a University in the Southeast. The tour is well established and was created in partnership between historians and a social justice advocacy nonprofit. One hundred six participants completed the tour (37 in person and 69 virtually), and 67 fully completed the pre- and post-tour measurements for a response rate of 63 percent. The instrument included elements of the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS) and the complete Symbolic Racism Scale (SR2K) as well as a set of questions about local civil rights history. Data was analyzed using SPSS and paired t-tests; factors include racial privilege, institutional discrimination, blatant racial issues, and awareness of local histories. Data reveal significant changes from pre- to post-tour assessment across all factors: symbolic racism (political environment (p<.001), awareness of racial privilege (p<.001), awareness of blatant racism (p<.05), and awareness of local civil rights histories (p<.001).

The activity includes a post-tour interprofessional debrief with students. Pre- and post-data reveals a significant reduction in racism and symbolic racism across all disciplines. As a result, the tour has been integrated in the NP program curriculum and other programs are considering it. Results indicate that collaborating with a local nonprofit or agency to learn about localized racial narratives through storytelling, whether in-person or through a virtual tour, is one methodology for reducing potential bias for graduate students in health and human service disciplines.

Please register online for this webinar and any others in the series you may be interested in.


Submitted by: Naomi W. Hall
Also appeared:
Monday, November 8, 2021