MTU Sense of Belonging Series Showcases Best Practices in DEIS, Mentorship

A man wearing a Michigan Tech Huskies jacket smiles on campus with soft focus trees and brick building in the background.
A man wearing a Michigan Tech Huskies jacket smiles on campus with soft focus trees and brick building in the background.
Wayne Gersie hosts fellow diversity and inclusion leaders from campuses in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York to talk about best practices and effective mentorship.
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Michigan Technological University’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion launches its Sense of Belonging Speakers Series with two virtual panel discussions this month.

Wayne Gersie, Vice President for Diversity and and Inclusion at Michigan Tech, said the events gather academic diversity leaders and retention experts to discuss and share proven best practices with Michigan Tech and the wider community. “As a leading 21st century technological university, we are obligated to prepare a workforce that is not just technologically proficient but also culturally proficient,” he said. “Like any other professional competency, the more we expose and coach our leaders, faculty, staff and students on how to model diversity, equity, inclusion and sense of belonging (DEIS), the greater our contribution and impact on society.”

At 1 p.m. Thursday, April 14, a Chief Diversity Officers (CDO) Panel Discussion will feature prominent higher educational leaders for a conversation on institutional best practices for winning and achievable diversity, equity, inclusion and sense of belonging (DEIS) goals. Panelists include Candy McCorkle from Western Michigan University, Robert M. Sellers from the University of Michigan and Marcus A. Whitehurst of The Pennsylvania State University.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, the Impacts of Culturally Responsive Mentoring Panel Discussion brings former Bridges to the Doctorate Program trainees — now extremely successful researchers, innovators and thought leaders — and their mentor, Avery August of Cornell University, together to discuss culturally responsive mentorship and its relationship to retention and career success outcomes for underrepresented graduate students. 

Because the events are virtual and registration is free, there’s an increased opportunity to participate. Gersie extends a warm invitation to the entire higher education community.

“We consider these events to be worth taking time out of our busy schedules to give us access to the best practices and thought leaders in the field,” he said. “To the degree we leverage the takeaways we learn and apply them to our processes and work environments, we will take another step in creating a sense of belonging for those we serve.”

The series is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and ADVANCE at Michigan Tech.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, the University offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.

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