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Sessions and Descriptions - Thursday, June 25th


Connection 2020: An NCORE Experience will feature interactive sessions that directly address critical topics affecting our campuses and communities. The engaging, challenging sessions that you expect from NCORE are highlighted below. 

Coffee & Conversation with a Community Leader

Live: Thursday, June 25th  |  8:45 – 9:45 a.m. Central Time

Start your morning by having a conversation with an NCORE community leader and fellow participants. Let’s connect, build and foster community around our stories, our passion and finding out about the work we are doing to make needed change in our institutions and how we are facing up to the challenges of our time. Please join us as community leaders share a little about themselves and lead us in connecting with each other. 


Coffee Chat Guide

Intersectional Interventions: Supporting Queer and Trans Students of Color

Track: Intersectionality, Identities and Discussions
Livestream: Thursday, June 25th  |  10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Central Time

In an ever changing world, many institutions of higher education and beyond are being met with queer students of color. To strive for more celebratory, educational spaces previous frameworks must make room for re-imagined inclusive frameworks to better support these students.

Join four queer, higher education practitioners work in a variety of roles strive to intervene with an intersectional perspective rooted in liberation. During this session, participants will encounter a litany of qualitative and quantitative tools to engage or establish their own frameworks included but not limited to; the over-policing of LGB students in juvenile centers,  the foremothers and future of intersectionality, a through examination of themes and frameworks vital for all social justice educators. The session will be closed with a dialogue between four dynamic higher education practitioners and how they continue to intervene intersectionality. 

This session will benefit intermediate to advanced higher education practitioners invested in engaging examining how to take theoretical frameworks of intersectionality to practice and application.


Romeo Jackson, M.Ed., LGBTQ and Gender Program Coordinator, Student Diversity & Social Justice, University of Nevada, Las Vegas―Las Vegas, NV

Nathan Nguyen, M.Ed., Director, LBGT Student Services, Western Michigan University―Kalamazoo, MI

Vanessa Gonzalez-Siegel, MA, Associate Director, Multicultural Affairs & LGBTQ Outreach, Columbia University―New York, NY

Mycall Akeem Riley, MS, LGBTQA Resource Center Coordinator, Office of Multicultural Student Success, DePaul University―Chicago, IL

Tools for Building a Radical Self-care Practice

Track: Student Affairs and Affiliated Professionals
Livestream: Thursday, June 25th  |  10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Central Time

Mainstream self-care narratives often fall short of meeting the needs of marginalized communities. Additionally, messaging can often place responsibility on the marginalized for their own trauma. This interactive session will be helpful for practitioners who wish to help students develop a culturally-responsive self-care routine as well as those looking to do the same for themselves. We will discuss the shortcomings of these mainstream practices/messages, look at models which underscore differences in orientation to conflict resolution and begin to build capacity for a new paradigm of care rooted in connectedness and social justice

Rosalie Rodriguez, MA, Director, Multicultural Student Services, Bucknell University―Lewisburg, PA

Black Healing, Sanctuary, and Identity in Ruptured Space 

Track: Student Affairs and Affiliated Professionals
Livestream: Thursday, June 25th  |  10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Central Time

Black Identity, Healing, Sanctuary, and Joy in Ruptured Space will explore the experiences of Blackness[1] in a fractured and ruptured environment. The context and frame of this workshop will be higher educational systems and resultant structures built from the master narrative of White Supremacy. It will speak to how systems and the prevailing mindsets impact students, staff and faculty development and engagement, as well as the greater Black society. This conversation will examine and gauge the historical context that Blackness is situated in, how it is informed and exploited by that context and its direct on impact on Black life. With a lens towards creating healing, sanctuary space and progression, the facilitators will pose and offer what is vital for people of African ancestry in this moment in time. Each panelist will share an analysis of conditions and the optics by which we must reframe and refocus. We will consider Black cultural identity, aesthetics and progress, through various lenses, but especially within the framework of the current academic and social reality on college campuses juxtaposed to what is happening in society as evidenced by the current social unrest, police brutality incidents, racial hate crimes, and the continued calls to action centered on the demands for eradicating, deconstructing, reshaping, and revamping global systems of colonialism. Most critically, we relocate what our work should be and offer considerations for healing, sanctuary and joy.

Those in attendance will hear, learn, and understand:
1.    the experience of Blackness both historically, and within today’s context and current phenomenon;
2.    an analysis of White Supremacy as a master narrative with global implications;
3.    methods for formulating a resilient sense of self and identity particularly in a hostile locality, through creating an intentionality of activities and designing a healthy and sustainable environment; and, 
4.    offer tools, readings and direction for Black students, faculty and staff with universal implications. 
[1] The term, Black, or any derivative of, used in this description to indicate people of African ancestry, is capitalized by the authors’ choice.



Àdísà Àjàmú, PhD., Director, Professor, Center for Black Cultures, Resources and Research, University of California, Irvine―Irvine, California

Nzingha S. Dugas, M.A., Executive Director, Umoja Community Education Foundation—California Statewide―Sacramento, California

Gerri Kentake Scott, M.A., Counselor, Professor, Sacramento City College—Sacramento, California

Plenary Session, Including Keynote Address by Amer Ahmed

(G)local Justice: Towards a Post-Corona Transnational Equity Imperative in American Higher Education

In the wake of a COVID-19 and rising anti-racist consciousness, American Higher Education will confront unprecedented realities that will force institutions to adapt. The pandemic has not only exposed social inequities in the U.S. but also the interdependence of local and global factors that impact existing inequality in our world. In the process, Higher Ed leaders will need to confront an internal infrastructure that bifurcates the work of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from International/Global Education. This divide has created a disconnect between explicit commitments to addressing inequity in the U.S. and International work that typically lacks such focus. This keynote will make the case that American Higher Education can no longer afford this divide in the wake of a pandemic that is the ultimate case study for the interrelationship between domestic and global issues of inequity.

Livestream: Thursday, June 25th  |  12:15 – 2:15 p.m. Central Time

Cultivating Student Activism, Advocacy and Action: Critical Collaborations in Response to Campus Crisis Moments

Track: Student Interest and Engagement
Livestream: Thursday, June 25th  |  3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Central Time

This session will provide an in-depth examination of the process of improving campus climate by presenting a model that can be used to lead an institution during high stakes moments of crisis. This model-drawn from a case study from the University of Wisconsin-focuses on fostering collaboration between students, staff, and executive level administrators and facilitating campus dialogue amidst high tension moments. This session will also provide a synthesis of lessons learned from administrators across multiple levels of the organization and present an innovative model for engaging students, faculty and staff in engaging and facilitating difficult conversations and responding in moments of crisis. This session should be particularly beneficial to participants who are current or aspiring diversity leaders and practitioners within the fields of student affairs or diversity, equity and inclusion. This session will include a moment for creative reflection. Participants are encouraged to bring markers, crayons, colored pencils, or whatever creative tool you use to express yourself.


Sherri Charleston, JD, PhD, Asst. Vice Provost and Chief Affirmative Action Officer, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement, University of Wisconsin-Madison―Madison, WI

Cheryl  Gittens, MSW, EdD, Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement, University of Wisconsin-Madison―Madison, WI

Gabriel Javier, MA, MS, Associate Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs - Identity and Inclusion, University of Wisconsin - Madison―Madison, WI

LaVar Charleston, PhD, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, School of Education , University of Wisconsin-Madison―Madison, WI

Innovations in Decreasing Microaggressions from Psychological Science

Track: Race and Social Justice in Higher Education
Livestream: Thursday, June 25th  |  3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Central Time

The backlash against the idea of racial microaggressions – that they are scientifically unsubstantiated, nothing more than innocent behaviors misinterpreted by excessively sensitive people, distracting attention from “real” racism – has frustrated diversity trainers and educators in their efforts to address what are experienced as toxic, harmful and racially biased processes.

This experiential pre-conference institute addresses this backlash directly, providing important scientific foundations for the idea that racial microaggressions are real, harmful, and associated with racial bias. The workshop centers on the demonstration, through a sequence of experiential exercises, of innovative techniques derived from psychological science to improve awareness and understanding of microaggressions, reduce the likelihood that people will commit microaggressions, and increase the likelihood that inter-racial interactions may be healing and connecting rather than harmful and disconnecting. We lead attendees through a series of interactive exercises designed to decrease the impact of four key psychological processes that we have identified underlie the delivery of microaggressions and the defensiveness that often arises when these issues are raised, including objectifying, raced-based experiential avoidance, stereotyping, and erasure of identity. The exercises are designed to help attendees notice the automatic, perceptual processes that, if they occur without awareness, can hook individuals and result in microaggressions.  After exploring these processes through individualized exercises, attendees will practice engaging alternate processes that lead to authentic and healing moments of connection in small-group interactions. These exercises will help attendees practice noticing (and not avoiding) feelings of discomfort that come with increased awareness of these processes to produce the capacity for more flexible, empathic, and connected responses to others. The exercises are derived from a multi-year process of research, intervention development, and testing, and informed by interventions from contextual behavioral science that focus on improved mindfulness and acceptance, rather than avoidance or suppression, of harmful psychological processes. This session should particularly benefit those who are engaged in efforts to understand and intervene on microaggressions on college campuses and have been frustrated by the backlash, by difficulties with White defensiveness and entrenchment in unhelpful behavior even during microaggression and anti-bias trainings, and who desire to improve the quality of inter-racial interactions on campus and in other settings.


Daniel Rosen, PhD, Professor and Chair, Counseling & Health Psychology, Bastyr University―Kenmore, WA

Heather Branstetter, ND, General Practitioner and Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, Palo Alto University―Palo Alto, CA

Robyn Gobin, PhD, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign―Champaign, IL

Jonathan Kanter, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Psychology, University of Washington―Seattle, WA

Speaking Up and Calling In: Skills to Interrupt and Challenge White Supremacy and Racism with Love and Compassion

Track: Race and Social Justice in Higher Education
Livestream: Thursday, June 25th  |  3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Central Time

When racist comments are made, many of us enter fight or flight (or freeze) mode. Often, we lack the skills, theoretical knowledge, and confidence needed to engage in meaningful, effective, and heartfelt conversations challenging systems of white supremacy and racism. This is especially difficult with those closest to us – including our families, friends, and communities. The result is that we may attack the perpetrator, quickly exit the situation, or to preserve our relationships, we avoid the confrontation entirely. None of these responses effectively combat the system of white supremacy and racism.

In this interactive session, participants will learn and have the opportunity to practice communication skills, and explore methods of challenging and deconstructing white supremacy and racism. Attendees will cultivate a critical and compassionate understanding of the difference between “calling in” and “calling out” with a focus on utilizing a lens of love and compassion. They will also practice pushing through discomfort to engage in these important conversations. Participants will increase their skills in explaining, and discussing the construction and impacts of racism with individuals who are at varying levels of experience, and who may not share participant beliefs and ideals. Most importantly, attendees will deepen their ability to successfully engage anti-oppression conversations, and connect across differences to deconstruct the culture of white supremacy and oppression.
This session will benefit anyone who would like to learn and practice skills and theoretical knowledge necessary to effectively interrupt racism and other forms of oppression.


Natalie J. Thoreson, Med, Principal, Anti-Oppression and Social Justice Ed Consultant, inVision Consulting―Oakland, CA

Krystle Ida Ramirez, , Graduate Assistant, LGBTQ+ Center, New York University―New York, NY

Open Forums / Facilitated Discussions

Live: Thursday, June 25th  |   5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Central Time

Please join your fellow event participants in a lively discussion at our open forums! Let’s share our perspectives and generate knowledge to grow our capacity as change makers. The topic of this session will be listed in the session titles on the virtual conference platform. We hope to see you there!