Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dr. Faulkner: We Are Learners

Many thanks go to Hilary Marabeti and her team and the professional development committee for the excellent PD day.  I have heard many positive comments on Dr. Ruby Payne’s presentation on the mind-set of different economic groups.

Also, thanks to Louise Kelly and the Library team for making the One Book – One Community event possible.  Having large numbers of people across the county reading The Ballad of Frankie Silver created much positive buzz in the community and the culminating event with author Sharyn McCrumb was well attended and highly praised by those in attendance.

And not to forget Dr. Kenny Yarbrough and the team in Student Life and Diversity for bringing Tim Wise to campus to further raise awareness on issues of diversity.  Big kudos to them.

We really didn’t sit down together and plan this, but it has amazed me at how all three of these events are working synergistically to focus us on the diversity of our internal community, our student body, and the community around us.  My big “light bulb” moment was realizing that not everyone thinks like me and that those mindset patterns are chiefly set in place by the environment in which people have existed.

In the book that we read, Frankie Silver was from a different culture and economic class than the genteel folk of Morganton who ultimately tried and hanged her.  Had she been from this wealthy group or had she been tried by her true peers, she likely would not have been convicted.  Likewise, because she did not understand the unwritten rules, she couldn’t really participate in the proceedings to her advantage.  This was a great example of what Dr. Payne shared with us on PD day.  Tim Wise has developed the same theme in helping us to see how persons of white privilege don’t view the world in the same way as people of color.

As we continue with formal and informal discussions generated by these events, our goal is not just understanding and accommodation but true inclusion.  We are all learners but if what we learn doesn’t change us, where is the value?

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

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