Session Descriptions
Thursday, March 22, 2012

Segment I (Opening Plenary )


Segment II (Concurrent Sessions)

SESSION A: Micro Aggressions: Do You Feel What I Feel?

Microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults toward people of various backgrounds. Perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware that they are engaging in such communications when they interact with others. This workshop will explore the concept of microaggressions, how to identify them, and what can be done about them.

SESSION B: An Examination of Inequities in the Delivery of Healthcare Services

Access to, and quality of, health care is a major issue facing America today and is a subject that is a focal point in the ongoing debate over President Obama's health care reform package. That disparities exist in the provision of health care to Americans is clear but to what extent do they occur and who are the "victims" of the inequities that are present? This presentation will address those questions by focusing on the findings of the 2010 National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR). Suggestions that the NHDR makes for dealing with the inequities that exist will be examined and those present will have the opportunity to discuss the political and economic obstacles to implementing reform.

SESSION C: Best Practices in Conducting Basic Investigations

This workshop will provide information on how to conduct an effective internal investigation involving allegations of discrimination and harassment.  The session will include when to investigate; characteristics of a good investigator; and strategies for approaching investigations.  Participants will acquire skills in developing an investigative plan, effectively interviewing witnesses, writing the final report, relaying the results and managing the workplace during and after an investigation.  This workshop will be beneficial to equal opportunity/affirmative action professionals, human resource personnel and others who have responsibility for investigating complaints of harassment and discrimination.

SESSION D: Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Students and Employees

Assuring classrooms and workplaces that are equitable and representative of Ohio’s diversity continues to be a challenge for employers and colleges and universities in all segments of our state, no matter their industry or zip code.  This workshop will present concrete strategies for making employment and educational diversity efforts more effective. 

SESSION E: Coming to Terms with Racism—A Prerequisite to Personal and Professional Development (Part 1)

This interactive session will take participants through an excursion during which they will look within themselves, look around, and look ahead as they come to terms with racism. A variety of pedagogical tools will be used to engage and involve participants in thinking and talking about what often divides us while also recognizing our common humanity and exploring our capacity to serve as agents of change in our local environments. Please note that this is a two-part workshop. To receive maximum benefit, attendance at both sessions is encouraged.

Session F: Transgender 101: Learning the Facts and Advocating Change

This panel will provide participants with information on a wide range of issues affecting people who are transgender or gender non-conforming.  As transgender people gain visibility, the legal and social landscape evolves to deal with the unique and complex issues this community faces.  Participants will learn about emerging legal issues and resources for the transgender community. 

Segment III (Concurrent Sessions)

SESSION A; From Jail to a Job: Challenges Faced by Ex-Offenders in the Workplace

Employment is one of the most important factors in determining whether an ex-offender will successfully reintegrate into society prior to their release. However, the lack of rehabilitation, education and job training, as well as overuse of collateral sanctions and background checks, create barriers to obtaining employment. Racial disparities in our criminal justice system have also left a disproportionate amount of people of color unemployed. This workshop will explore what measures are being taken to change the current barriers to employment and decrease recidivism.

SESSION B: New Prospects for Affirmative Action

Two recent legal developments have created new momentum for turning the tide on the attacks on affirmative action programs. The first was a decision a federal Court of Appeals to strike the ban on affirmative action in Michigan. The second was California Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to file an amicus brief supporting BAMN’s constitutional challenge to California’s anti-affirmative action ban. In this presentation, Shanta Driver, noted civil rights and employment lawyer, will place these developments in their historical and political context and provide participants with concrete actions that they can take to help ensure a successful outcome for both of these landmark legal cases and reinvigorate the movement for diversity, integration and equal opportunity.

SESSION C: Best Practices in Enforcement and Compliance

This important panel of Ohio and federal compliance and anti-discrimination agencies, will provide examples of successful and innovative programs that in their view represent “best practices” in enforcement and compliance. Representatives from the EEOC, OFCCP, OCRC, and the EOD will be on hand to answer questions about topics pertaining to their missions.

SESSION D: Disability Issues in the Workplace

Assuring a workplace that is equitable and representative of Ohio’s diversity continues to be a challenge for employers in all segments of our state, no matter their industry or zip code.  This workshop will present concrete strategies for making employment diversity efforts more effective. 

SESSION E: Coming to Terms with Racism—A Prerequisite to Personal and Professional Development (Part 2)

This session is a continuation of part 1. (See description under Segment II above.)

Session F: Values and Beliefs: How Do We Bridge the Faith Divide?

This interactive workshop will examine the similarities and differences as they relate to at least four major religions. Through the use of a panel of presenters representing those religions, participants will learn about each and through increased awareness, develop tools to have respectful dialogue about  our different faiths, values and beliefs.

Segment IV (Luncheon & Keynote)

Shirley Wilcher, JD, President, Wilcher Global, LLC, Boston, Massachusetts

Ms. Wilcher is nationally acclaimed for her work as a social justice theorist, policymaker and advocate. In addition to leading Global Wilcher, she is the Executive Director of the American Association for Affirmative Action, a national association for individuals working in the fields of affirmative action, EEO, diversity, and human and civil rights. She has held important leadership roles in government and in several civil rights organizations. She is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor and Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in the Clinton administration. She served as civil rights counsel to the Education and Labor Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, General Counsel with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Executive Director for the civil rights consortium Americans for a Fair Chance, and as staff attorney with the National Women’s Law Center. She received her B.A. degree from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA, her M.A. degree from the New School for Social Research in New York, NY, and her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA.

Segment V (Concurrent Sessions)

SESSION A: Building an Environment for Success Training: Cultural Competence

Building an Environment for Success Training is an interactive learning tool for strengthening your cultural competence. More than just a "check the box" diversity training exercise, this course allows individuals, supervisors and practitioners to learn best practices, test their knowledge and develop strategies that focus on leadership skills for today's diverse environments.

SESSION B: Equity, Opportunity and Diversity: The State of the Law

Susan Sharkey, Esq., Assistant Ohio Attorney General, is highly regarded for her expertise and knowledge in civil rights law. In this important session, Ms. Sharkey will provide a comprehensive review of federal and Ohio laws and regulations pertaining to equal employment and equal educational opportunity. This session will explain organizational and managerial legal responsibilities under discrimination and harassment law.

SESSION C: Cultural Competence: Unleashing the Power of Synergy

The problem of bullying appears to be growing especially with new forms of social media. So too, are both the devastating consequences for targeted individuals and the legal responsibilities for educational institutions. This workshop, led by Professor Robert Salem of The University of Toledo College of Law, will explore both these personal consequences and organizational responsibilities and offer some recommendations on addressing the growing problem of bullying.

SESSION D: Confronting Bullying—From Playground to Cyberspace

The story of bullying in American schools is not new. However, the story has taken on different dimensions in recent years, partly because of high profile media reports of bullying-related suicides. The introduction of electronic and digital devices, along with the more recent social networking trends, also added complexity to an already complex problem. As the problem has become more complicated, schools around the country were faced with a growing demand to address the problem as resources became increasingly scarce. Not surprisingly, and despite the best efforts of many schools and school districts, the efforts to remedy and prevent bullying have in many cases fallen short. This presentation will address some of the legal and social issues around bullying, including its impact on minority groups and best practices for prevention.

SESSION E: Techniques for Sensitive Conversations About Inclusion and Performance

One of the biggest concerns of Learners in diversity trainings is how to intervene when inclusion is NOT happening, and to maintain relations with the person to whom feedback is provided.  This presentation outlines 3 generic approaches to facilitating such sensitive conversations, which are included in some of Global Novations’ most well-regarded eLearning courses. This presentation will also include video demonstrations from the courses, and provide an analysis of the requirements and restrictions of each approach.

SESSION F: Working with Bias and Prejudice: A Reflective Journey into Our Assumptions

Multicultural skills and understanding are necessary for relating to others in our nation’s increasingly diverse workforce. Values, ideas and cultural norms that are different from one’s own are never easily accepted, unless people take the opportunity to examine and understand their basic assumptions and biases toward others.  Whether we admit it or not, we often treat people differently based on our assumptions and biases. In this workshop, participants will participate in several interactive exercises that will challenge them on a personal level to examine basic assumptions and biases toward others.

Segment VI (Closing Plenary)

If dance is an expression of the human spirit, then it is best expressed by people of all abilities. That is the fundamental belief behind the Dancing Wheels Company. Considered one of the premier arts and disabilities organizations in the U.S., Dancing Wheels is a professional, physically integrated dance company uniting the talents of dancers both with and without disabilities. Mary Verdi-Fletcher, the first professional wheelchair dancer in the U.S., founded the Dancing Wheels Company in Cleveland in 1980. Born with spina bifida, Mary wanted to offer others with disabilities full and equal access into the world of dance. To date, the Dancing Wheels Company’s inspirational mission has touched over 4.5 million people through performances, school assemblies, residencies and workshops. Millions more have enjoyed their artistry via appearances on CNN, Good Morning America, and the TV special “Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope.” With a message of inclusion and accessibility, the Company continually expands the reach of artistic possibilities while celebrating the universal spirit of dance. For more information visit

Dancing Wheels is committed to the following goals:

  • * Enhance integration and diversity in the arts with works uniting people of all abilities.
  • * Provide successful, independent and creative role models for those with disabilities.
  • * Erase negative stereotypes about people with disabilities in professional careers, primarily in the arts.
  • * Instill greater understanding and professionalism in individuals of all ability levels.