Lauren Morimoto - Reframing Diversity

lorenmorimoto.pngKinesiology professor Lauren Morimoto has been named Director of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence at SSU. She applied for the position to reframe conversations about diversity - rather than something SSU "has" to do, as something SSU wants to do. Diversity promotes academic excellence and positive learning experiences for students in- and out- of underrepresented groups, she says.

Her statement of interest sent to the Provost is below:

"Although I applaud calls for civility and tolerance and diverse programming, research on ethnic minority student achievement and their experiences in higher education repeatedly demonstrates the need for different approaches to inclusiveness.

In response, I have "stolen" Miami University's conceptualization of inclusiveness as the interrelationships of diversity, social justice and culture. Diversity refers to primary and secondary dimensions of identity (race, class, gender, "ability," etc.).

Social justice deals with access and equity and ideally, the development of social actors who understand their own agency and responsibilities toward others. Finally, in this idea of inclusiveness, culture means the system of meanings that determine whether one is or is perceived as a desired group member.

Since starting graduate study, I have been involved in multiple types of and settings for diversity work. At Ohio State University, serving on the School of Health, Physical Education & Recreation's Minority Affairs Committee, I recruited graduate students and developed and delivered diversity training to 40-55 incoming graduate teaching associates each year.

In addition, I coordinated and managed the Asian American Mentoring Program for a year where I matched Asian American professionals and students and liaised with other organizations to film practice interviews (e.g. for medical school) for Asian American students.

Upon joining Miami University of Ohio, I participated in the Faculty Learning Community (FLC) on Inclusion. The FLC created and facilitated training sessions on inclusiveness which were built into the two-day training for all incoming faculty: these sessions addressed various issues, e.g. creating an inclusive syllabus, infusing diversity into the curriculum, discussion of "unseen" diversity such as rural vs. urban, religious affiliation, etc.

In addition, I joined with other FLC members to present multiple times at the National Conference for Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education to share our model for creating a community committed to addressing diversity and inclusion on our campus.

When I joined Cal State East Bay as lecturer in 2007, I co-created (and taught solo) a course, Racism, Ethnicity & Sport, that was approved as a GE course, and hope to bring it to Sonoma State to serve as a GE - C, Upper Division, Ethnic Studies course.

Finally, at Sonoma State, I joined the Safe Zone Advisory Committee (SZAC), which seeks to create an inclusive environment for GLBTQI students, staff and faculty. I have worked with SZAC to develop and test a training workshop for potential GLBTQI allies, which we hope to roll out to the campus in Spring 2015.

Most recently, I have presented my research on online representations of Oscar Pistorius at the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity."

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