Dear colleagues and community members,


Blackboard Jungle 11 Symposium

Registration Now Open

Please join the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs for the 11th annual Blackboard Jungle Symposium, The University: A Sanctuary or an Arena? Fostering Inclusive and Difficult Conversations, being held March 22 & 23, 2018.

A keynote presentation and discussion, “What Should You Do: Be an Active Bystander,” will be held on Thursday, March 22, 2018, at the Dudley H. Davis Center, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The presentation will feature keynote speaker John Quiñones, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, co-anchor of ABC newsmagazine Primetime, and host of the Primetime series What Would You Do?, one of the highest rated newsmagazine franchises in recent years. During his tenure, he has reported extensively for ABC News, predominantly serving as a correspondent for Primetime and 20/20.  This event is free and open to the public.

On Friday, March 23, 2018, there will be a full day of symposium panels and workshops that are designed to support UVM faculty, staff, and all others seeking to develop skills, knowledge, and a deeper understanding of diversity that supports excellence in teaching, service, and research. The symposium sessions are dedicated to creating “open spaces” where all members of our community can participate in authentic dialogue, valued reflection, and expanded learning to promote inclusive excellence for all.

As protests, marches, and other forms of activism have erupted across college and university campuses, the importance of fostering environments that are intellectually challenging but also respectful and safe for all students, staff, and faculty becomes even more clear. How can we talk across divides and bring about a respectful and open exchange of ideas, perspectives, and beliefs? How can we honor identities and insist on freedom of expression? Can the university campus offer a model of productive discourse in a divided society? Inside and outside classrooms, these are among the central problems faced by the twenty-first century university and beyond.

Dr. OiYan Poon, an assistant professor of Higher Education Leadership in the School of Education at Colorado State University, and co-editor of a forthcoming edited volume from Stylus Publishing entitled Difficult Subjects: Insights and Strategies for Teaching about Race, Sexuality, and Gender, will be the breakfast keynote speaker.

Dr. William Jelani Cobb, Associate Professor of History and recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations and author of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama & the Paradox of Progress (Bloomsbury 2010), and To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic (NYU Press 2007), will be the luncheon keynote speaker.

For more information and to register, please visit