René Shingles, left, works with an athletic training student.
Each semester, CMU offers several workshops René Shingles wishes she could attend. Unfortunately, like many faculty members, she often misses out due to her busy teaching schedule. For her project, Shingles plans to take diversity, equity and inclusion teaching tools and resources directly into individual departments, allowing everyone to take advantage of opportunities to grow their knowledge and skill.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to advance the work being done at CMU in diversity, equity and inclusion in a way that is very different from how things have been done in the past," she said.
Shingles said health care professions such as
athletic training have been addressing issues of cultural competency — ensuring students have the ability to understand, communicate and work with patients from many cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds — for many years. She even
wrote a book about it in 2011.
Some other programs are just getting started, Shingles said.
For her project, Shingles will meet with department chairs to learn about the specific needs of the area and work collaboratively with campus partners to create trainings for the faculty team. Her goal is to complement the excellent workshops already being offered on campus by the
Office of Diversity Education and the
Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, she said.
Shingles also is looking forward to having time to broaden her own understanding of emerging issues that her patients may face. She and Miller attended the national
White Privilege Conference in March, and she plans to look into other opportunities to learn more about social justice and advocacy throughout the year.
"I am grateful for this time to read, reflect and build my own understanding and skill set," she said.
Bringing together tribe, town and gown
Cherie Strachan address an audience at a CMU event.
political science faculty member Cherie Strachan, the fellowship presented an opportunity to complete a project she's been thinking about for a long time: a campus-community advisory board.
She envisions a group including representatives from the city of Mount Pleasant, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and local nonprofit organizations, who can advise university leaders on issues most pressing to the local community.
The project is something she's wanted to do for quite a while, but never had the time or resources to devote to completing — until now.
"Faculty are often so pressured for time with end-of-the-semester projects, grading, deadlines and such. I appreciate having time to focus, to think and to implement," she said.
Miller said Strachan's expertise in community and civic engagement make her an ideal candidate to reach beyond the university's walls to bring new partners to the table.
In addition to working on her community advisory board project, Strachan said she's taking advantage of opportunities to learn more about the administrative side of diversity in higher education. She recently accompanied Miller to the
National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education conference and came back with a deep appreciation for the energy, enthusiasm and determination required to create institutional change.
"There are so many opportunities for CMU to grow. One of the most important is to provide our students more opportunity to participate in engaged, experiential learning that helps them grow into public-spirited citizens," she said.