Diversity Lecture Series


The Department of Institutional Diversity Initiatives (DIDI) — in collaboration with the Committee for Diversity and Equity, the Office of Human Resources Management, the Galerstein Gender 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.

Past Lectures

Bias Barriers: Allyship, Inclusion and Everyday Behaviors

February 06, 2020


Beth is the North Texas Inclusion Leader for Deloitte and a leader within Deloitte Tax LLP focused on business strategy and transformation. She has been with Deloitte for over 20 years focusing most of her career within Deloitte Consulting LLP serving clients in various industries with strategic transformation, merger and acquisition integration, technology implementation, and HR transformation. Jeff is a social media marketing manager at Deloitte with prior experience in higher education administration responsible for student development programs with a wellbeing focus.

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DiversAbility Employment Awareness Summit: Finding the Right Words- Conversations Around Mental Health

October 16, 2019

Miki Johnston

Miki Johnston is a Texas board certified Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. With more than 25 years of experience, Miki’s well established and respected private practice focuses on the treatment of teens, young adults and families struggling with issues related to anxiety, depression, parent-child conflicts, stress management, and peer related issues.

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Conversations on Diversity: Unconscious Bias – Starting the Conversation

February 07, 2019

Beth Gerwe

Beth is the North Texas Inclusion Leader for Deloitte and a leader within Deloitte Tax LLP focused on business strategy. She has been with Deloitte for over 20 years focusing most of her career within Deloitte Consulting LLP serving clients in various industries with strategic transformation, merger and acquisition integration, technology implementation, and HR transformation

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Unleashing the power of Inclusion

February 06, 2018

2018 Spring Diversity Lecture

Beth Gerwe discussed the findings and implications of new research, Unleashing the Power of Inclusion: Attracting and Engaging the Evolving Workforce, from the Deloitte Leadership Center for Inclusion in collaboration with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. She explored what today’s workforce values in an inclusive culture and how organizations can adapt

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A Conversation with Tracy Drain: Highlighting Diversity at NASA

February 15, 2017

Tracy Drain

Tracy Drain is a Flight Systems Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. She currently serves as the Deputy Chief Engineer for the Juno mission.

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"Uncovering Your Authentic Self: Good for You and Your Business/Organization"

February 9, 2017

Deborah Cole

Deborah Cole will share findings from a study conducted in conjunction with the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion that hypothesizes that everyone has an authentic self and that a culture of greater authenticity might benefit all individuals, including the straight White men who have traditionally been left out of the inclusion paradigm.

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"From Tragedy to Triumph"

December 1, 2016

Cpl. Jacob Schick

Cpl. Jacob Schick shares with levity the dramatic events of his life and time in the service. Schick's story is one of overcoming adversity both externally and internally. Compelling, humorous, and gripping is the tale of Jacob Schick's service and road to recovery.

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"Exploring Strategies to Improve College to Career Transitioning for Students with Special Needs."

October 24, 2016

Stephanie W. Cawthon, PhD

The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement strives to accomplish the fulfillment of the University’s commitment to embrace, enhance and celebrate diversity at all levels of the University and our community through the efforts of faculty, staff, students, the executive leadership and corporate community partnerships. The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, in partnership with the Office of Student AccessAbility, The Office of Institutional Equity & Compliance, and our corporate partner Raytheon, will address the training needs and diversity challenges of college students with disabilities transitioning to the workforce.

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Women Leading in Diversity: Networking Breakfast

Sept. 26, 2016

Women Leading in Diversity

The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning, Galerstein Gender Center and Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, are pleased to have hosted the UT Dallas “Women Leading in Diversity” Networking Breakfast. This event provides UTD an opportunity to honor the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of women in their careers and/or community service.

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"They're Heeeere..." - A Look at the Millennial Generation and How They're Turning Traditional Talent Processes on Their Heads

February 11, 2016

KeeShaun Coffey

Millennials represent the largest generation in the United States, comprising roughly one-third of the total population in 2013 (Census Bureau). That equates to an estimated 80 million young Americans who belong to the so-called millennial generation, roughly ages 18 to 35. And they're taking today's evolving workforce by storm: it is expected that by 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce (Deloitte).

As discussed in "The Radical Transformation of Diversity and Inclusion: The Millennial Influence," Deloitte Research, in collaboration with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, concluded that millennials' views of diversity and inclusion in their organizations are dramatically different to that of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. And that's just the tip of the iceberg; the influence of the millennial generation is far-reaching, and their impact can be felt across the talent lifecycle. Millennials are getting organizations to think differently about how to engage with their people — how to attract and develop talent, how to interact at work, and how to redefine priorities to focus on what we know is most important to this generation.

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The Veterans Lecture - "Maximizing Cognitive Empowerment of our Future Leaders"

November 12, 2015

KeeShaun Coffey

Military service members and veterans are equipped with the strategies and tools to ensure they thrive in overwhelmingly adverse situations. Although they are engulfed in purpose and a mission-oriented mindset while in uniform, many warriors temporarily lose that sense of purpose and falter during their transition back into civilian life. Hear from two veterans who have fought their way through intense conflict overseas, battled the hardships of reintegration back at home, and discovered a renewed sense of purpose by helping bridge the military civilian divide.

KeeShaun Coffey and Mike Rials will share myths related to the signature wounds of our nation's most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), and how training the brain like we train the body, empowers warriors to master their most valuable weapon – the brain. Their presentation will include a preview of the Center's scientifically validated, high performance brain training program that has been shown to support cognitive enhancement and life improvement in many populations including warriors, executives, teens, healthy adults and those with TBI. Additionally, KeeShaun and Mike will highlight how a holistic approach to adopting the right strategies and healthy brain habits can propel these warriors to lead the successful, fulfilling lives they deserve.

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Salsa, Soul and Spirit: Diversity as a Leadership Opportunity

September 25, 2015

Ms. Juana Bordas

Get ready to embrace diversity as an opportunity to grow, be proactive and become a more effective leader. We will celebrate our personal heritage and expand our ability to honor the traditions of other cultures. Salsa, Soul and Spirit invites people to be part of our multicultural future and to join the dance of our global community. We will share specific strategies to increase our ability to lead our diverse communities and create inclusive environments where everyone's contribution is valued.

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The Media's Role in Civil Rights

April 1, 2015


Touré, American journalist and co-host of The Cycle, will initiate a discussion of the power of media in civil rights movements across many cultures and ethnicities. Touré will make sure to bring about the positive and negatives of media coverage of each movement. At the end of the segment there will be a tie-in to the social issues that we are facing today in America.

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Transitions: From Military Service to Student Veteran

November 6, 2014

Lisa McNeme

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.

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

September 11, 2014

Kelvin Womack

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.

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Interpersonal Communication in a Diverse World

April 4, 2014

Dr. Lynn Winstead Mabe

Interpersonal communication is the foundation of all human interactions. This is true of all levels and types of relationships. On a college campus, in the workplace, within families or just trying to function in the world, interpersonal communication is how we reach out or send signals of our willingness to interact. There are several important points regarding our interactions with others that affect our interactions, especially in the diverse community of today. Verbal communication, non-verbal communication, perception, interpersonal climate, listening, noise and our concept of "self" all relate to how we connect (or don't!) with others. Culture, religion, individual "fields of experience," gender and many other physical, social and societal factors also play a role in our interactions with others, our perceptions of others (accurate or inaccurate) and how we relate with all types of people. Our interpersonal communications affect all things: our relationships with teachers, students, peers, family members, coworkers, and all other groups and individuals we encounter in our daily lives. Are you aware of the signals you are sending, the messages you are broadcasting (purposefully or not!) and the ways people experience you? This lecture hopes to provide some insight and strategies to improve interpersonal communications in all regards across a diverse community population.

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From Gold Mountain to Silicon Valley: A Long Journey of Asian Immigrants

March 28, 2014

Dr. Dachang Cong

Dr. Cong's lecture takes us through waves of Asian immigrants, starting with the first wave of Chinese immigrants during the Gold Rush Years in the middle 19th century. A Chinese name for San Francisco means Old Gold Mountain, which symbolizes opportunities and wealth. The next wave of immigrants is focused on the Japanese movement to Hawaii in the late 19th century. The best-told story of the "Picture Brides" helps our understanding of the culture of the time. The journey continues into the 20th century, exploring the very different experiences of Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans during the Second World War. The movement continues. After 1965, more and more Asian immigrants were allowed to come to America. The PC Revolution in the 1980s and the Internet Revolution in the 1990s provided a great magnet for Asian immigrants, with Silicon Valley becoming another symbol of opportunity and wealth. The last 30 years, there has been a great contribution of Asian immigrants to the economic and technological developments of the United States, including Indian immigrants and Chinese immigrants. Other histories included in this lecture journey include Iranian immigrants, Korean immigrants, Pilipino immigrants, and Vietnamese immigrants. Countering the many and impressive successes of Asian immigrants, Asian American have vulnerabilities and areas needing improvement are disability awareness, eldercare, and poverty.

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Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition

March 21, 2014

Dr. Raul Rojas

The United States is a diverse nation, rapidly developing an expansive cultural and linguistic landscape driven by intense demographic shifts in its population. This talk will provide an introduction to bilingualism and second language acquisition in such an environment. Current research into bilingualism will be presented, and commonly held misconceptions discussed. Second language acquisition of non-native English speaking children in the United States will be highlighted, including issues dealing with heterogeneity of language skills, majority versus minority language status, supporting the native language, categorization as English proficient or not proficient, the simultaneous growth of bilingual language skills in girls compared to boys, and the academic implications of these issues.

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Emerging Media and Diversity: Fashion and the Threads of Digital Literacy

October 25, 2013

Dr. Kimberly Knight

Dr. Kimberly Knight, assistant professor of emerging media and communication at UT Dallas, presents "Emerging Media and Diversity: Fashion and the Threads of Digital Literacy."

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Managing Cultural Differences for Effective Cross Cultural Communication

October 18, 2013

Dr. Habte Woldu

Dr. Habte Woldu, clinical professor of international business management at UT Dallas, presents "Managing Cultural Differences for Effective Cross Cultural Communication."

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Cultural Diversity and the Aging Brain: Stories of Loss and Quest

October 11, 2013

Dr. Hanna K. Ulatowska

Dr. Hanna K. Ulatowska, UT Dallas professor of communication disorders, presents "Cultural Diversity and the Aging Brain: Stories of Loss and Quest."

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We are the World: World Religions as American Religion

October 4, 2013

Dr. Bobby C. Alexander

Dr. Bobby C. Alexander, associate professor of sociology, presents "We are the World: World Religions as American Religion."

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