Fall 2014 Diversity Lecture Series

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Overview

The Department of Institutional Diversity Initiatives (DIDI) — in collaboration with the Committee for Diversity and Equity, the Office of Human Resources Management, the Galerstein Women's Center, and the Multicultural Center — host a series of diversity lectures and seminars. Such events are made available at least once a semester. The focus of the lecture series is to provide diversity information opportunities for faculty, students and staff. In addition, the series includes at least one major public lecture that presents the work of a prominent official, educator, researcher, author or artist whose efforts have had a significant impact upon diversity and/or equity.

The annual series, open to all on campus and in the community, invites eminent scholars, artists and professionals in many fields to the University of Texas at Dallas to exemplify and discuss how diversity leads to excellence.

"Transitions: From Military Service to Student Veteran"

November 6, 2014

Lisa McNeme Lisa McNeme

Ms. Lisa McNeme is the Assistant Director for the Veteran Services Center (VSC) at UT Dallas. The VSC was opened in September 2012 to serve as a resource center for veterans, reservists, eligible dependents and active duty military students. Their goal is to provide the resources and support veterans need to be successful at UT Dallas. Lisa served on active duty as a C-21 and B-52 pilot in the United States Air Force and is currently the Admissions Liaison Officer Director for Northeast Texas in the United States Air Force Reserves. She has a Master of Education in Higher Education from Dallas Baptist University, and a Master of Science in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Abstract

Institutions of higher education are facing increased enrollments of military service members and veterans, largely due to generous benefits including the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. The transition from the military to the academic environment and civilian sector can be a challenge. The American Council on Education compared student veterans/service members to non-veteran/civilian students and found they are older, more racially/ethnically diverse, and likely the first generation to attend college. Student veterans may have additional family and financial responsibilities and encounter adjustments for psychological or physical issues. Institutions should understand what is important to student veterans in order to facilitate their transition and provide them with the tools for success. This lecture will summarize the transition process from military to civilian, characteristics of student veterans, and creating a veteran-friendly institutional climate.

PAST LECTURES

"Diversity's New Frontier: Diversity of Thought and the Future of the Workforce"

September 11, 2014

Kelvin Womack Kelvin Womack

Kelvin Womack is the Managing Principal of Diversity for the Deloitte US firms, as well as a senior Principal in Deloitte Consulting's Life Sciences and Health Care Provider practice. He is committed to the strategic development of people throughout the organization. He is also a passionate proponent of innovation as a core component of strategic planning and client service.

Mr. Womack joined Deloitte Consulting LLP in 2009 as a Federal Health sector Principal and served as its practice leader. For the past five years, he was responsible for a wide range of engagements focused on critical federal health issues including, health information technology, health reform, program integrity, and program and systems integration. He has served clients at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In addition, he helped federal health clients address their needs related to health reform legislation.

Mr. Womack also has a long-standing relationship with the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and will take over the Chairmanship in October 2014.

Abstract

Up to now, diversity initiatives in the workplace have focused primarily on fairness for legally protected populations. But organizations now have the ability to harness a more powerful and nuanced kind of diversity: diversity of thought. A recent study by Deloitte titled "Diversity's new frontier: Diversity of thought and the future of the workforce" examines the benefits that thought diversity can bring to the federal government. In an age where government agencies are asked to do more with fewer resources, diverse thinkers can provide innovative and creative ways to tackle important issues.

Diversity of thought goes beyond the affirmation of equality. Instead, it focuses on realizing the full potential of people by acknowledging and appreciating the promise of each person's unique perspective and way of thinking. Diversity can only be achieved through inclusion, which means thinking differently about how the workforce is constructed and managed.

Diversity of thought can help an organization:
  • Guard against groupthink and expert overconfidence
  • Increase the scale of new insights
  • Identify the right employees who can best tackle their most pressing problem

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