November 6, 2013

Difficult Conversation 2 Stereotyping Each Other: Experiencing the Urban/Rural Divide on Campus
Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Multicultural Center, WIU;s Macomb Campus
Description: The Difficult Conversations series brings students, faculty, and staff together to discuss challenging issues based on both real and perceived differences. The November conversation, the second scheduled for the 2013-2014 academic year, will examine campus climate as the demographics at WIU continue to change to reflect increasing diversity.

University campuses should offer students a safe space for study and growth, for broadening their perspectives and their circle of friends and peers. Those very opportunities, however, can create tension when students, faculty, and staff are expected to communicate and interact effectively across cultural divides.

Students may pass judgment on other students (or an entire group) based on a single incident; faculty may consciously or unconsciously have different expectations for performance based on stereotypes. If we have been primed to see each other based on media portrayals and/or “things I’ve heard,” interactions can be challenging at best and intimidating at worst. Sticking with stereotypes can be a lot less work than taking the risk of getting to know others as individuals, however casually, and perhaps having to rethink familiar stereotypes.

The November conversation looks at tensions felt by students on both sides of the urban/rural divide, who bring their personal cultural backgrounds to their campus experiences and interactions—in the classroom and in dorms, dining halls, campus events, and other shared spaces. How different are these experiences? How much of the perceived difference is because of misunderstandings or ignorance on the part of faculty, staff, or other students? Our speakers will talk about their experiences—whether recognizing their own biased assumptions or being on the receiving end of such assumptions—to provide context for the small group discussions that will follow.

Faculty, students, and staff are all welcome and encouraged to attend. Registration is not required. Light refreshments will be served.

Contact Information:
 Debra Miretzky
 Phone: 309-298-1528
Source: Multicultural

Western Illinois University
1 University Circle * Macomb, IL 61455
Phone: 309/298-1414 * E-mail
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