Connections waiting to be created through ICI

Grace AmsdenEditor-in-Chief

Engaging. This is the word that describes the Identity, Culture and Inclusion Leadership Certificate to Custodial Services Manager Patrick Carter. He’s the facilitator for ICI, an experience open for all students at Pierce College.

In ICI, students can learn about other cultures and themselves, meet others and participate in 25 hours of diversity training. This includes attending workshops, sessions with guest speakers and engaging in group dialogue. Students receive a certificate upon completion.

According to the mission for ICI, it “empowers students to develop multicultural leadership skills through engagement with up to date social justice concepts and community.”

Everyone is connected to one another, Carter said; and once students create connections by discovering similarities, this can impact Pierce College Puyallup.

“That’s going to build a stronger community at the campus for our students,” Carter said. “As they go on to universities or out into the workplace, then they can take this experience and apply that on their next journey.”

The first session offered this year was Feb. 25. This program is still evolving, Carter said. It was originally created last year by Sonja Morgan, former program coordinator for the Office of Student Life. As Carter participated last year, he volunteered to take on this role.

Because of all students can participate in ICI, Carter encourages members from clubs on campus to attend, as well. Carter contacted Clubs Coordinator Andrew Punchak to invite all clubs. Each club has their own identity, Carter said; for example, he’d like others to learn about the HEMA Club.

“I walk around and I see them practicing,” Carter said. “It engages me, because now when I go look at old movies, sword fighting and stuff, I see the steps in which they’re taking in the movies.”

A few faculty members who will facilitate a workshop include sociology professor Daniel Suh, Director of Education Programs Krissy Kim and Instruction Librarian Lesley Caldwell.

During the All District Day Feb. 16, Caldwell and other Pierce librarians presented to Pierce faculty, staff and administration called Information Equity in the College Library. After this, Carter sent an email to the faculty who led a discussion, asking for those interested to share it with students through an ICI session.

Caldwell talked about bias through search engines and how this shapes society. For example, a Google search for college students was shown. Not all demographics are present when looking at the images, Caldwell said.

“Some of the pictures are more diverse than others, but you’re seeing a lot of white faces (and) you’re seeing a lot of young faces,” Caldwell said. “At a community college, we have students of all ages (and) of all races.”

The selection of books in the library also was discussed; Caldwell said that on behalf of the librarians, they’d like suggestions from students regarding the library’s offerings to fit their needs and interests.

This workshop, which will be called Equity of Information Including the Biases, will be presented 1-3 p.m. April 21. Caldwell says students will be surprised from the information.

“I think people just trust Google inherently and think Google’s going to deliver the best results,” Caldwell said. “I don’t think that we consider how these algorithms work.”

Prior to this, on April 4 is the Cultural History After Midnight workshop with Dan Johnson, dean for student life and development student services at Edmonds Community College.

On April 14, a workshop called Persevering Through a Cycle of Poverty will be held by Timothy Brown, manager for Stanley & Seafort’s.

On April 28, the workshop White Privilege will be presented by Jo Anne Geron, psychology professor. On May 5, Carter will lead the session Seeking, Finding, Being and Leading. On May 12, Suh will facilitate a discussion. On May 19, Kim and Carter will present Overcoming Our Unconscious Biases.

“These workshops allows students to get a different perspective outside of the classroom, engaging and conversing with other students in regard to their identity and culture and being inclusive with others,” Carter said.

In the future, a weekend ICI retreat will be on the Puyallup campus, though this is still in development. Carter hopes that faculty, staff and a guest speaker can talk about current events.  

In the meantime, Carter would like to know what students want to see regarding the topics. He encourages students to share suggestions to C210, where students can also sign up. An ICI application is also available on the Pierce website.

“We have certain things scheduled to present but in addition, I want to hear from the students,” Carter said.

Another component of ICI is for students to reflect as to how they’ve changed throughout attending the sessions. For example, this can mean an individual identifying an unconscious bias, considering how it developed and learning how to change it.

One of the final goals for ICI is for individuals to be inclusive among others and create  meaningful relationships, Carter said.

Other words that came to his mind when thinking about ICI includes progress, access and freedom as well as awesome.       

“We’re learning how to understand different concepts, we’re learning about individuals (and) other cultures, which is very important especially for a diverse community,” Carter said. “And that’s what we want. And that’s one of Pierce’s mission (statements): a diverse community of learners to thrive in the evolving world.”

Workshops are held every Thursday from 1-3 p.m. in the multipurpose room and will be offered until May 19.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

Grace Amsden
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Grace Amsden

Former Editor-in-Chief at The Puyallup Post
Grace Amsden
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Connections waiting to be created through ICI

by Grace Amsden time to read: 4 min
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