Missouri State University
Diversity Blog

Pratt recognized for diversity efforts

Wes Pratt

Missouri State Chief Diversity Officer Wes Pratt recently earned the first Biz 417 Breakthrough Award. Pratt is a Springfield native working to affect the institutional culture of the university.

Read his story in Biz 417

How to create a more inclusive culture

Pratt is careful to point out that diversity encompasses all humans. He asks questions to get people thinking about what they can do to create a more inclusive culture. As faculty, staff and students consider these questions, they can work with his office to learn tools to improve the culture for everyone. After all, he said, diversity in the United States is not a new concept. “The Founding Fathers and mothers were native indigenous people, so it was diverse to begin with,” he said.

Pratt sees learning to mitigate bias as a key element of learning to interact in a global society.

“This is the world we live in. In order for students to be competitive and confident in their own skin, we need faculty to be culturally competent.”

People can begin to improve cultural competence by seeking exposure to others. This can start as simply as having a conversation. He seeks competence with a three-prong approach:

  • Increase awareness of cultural differences and value of them
  • Gain knowledge of differences and what skill set you need to become culturally competent
  • Acquire skills to be able to mitigate bias

Pratt sees these tools as essential. “Cultural competence is required for ethical leadership,” he said.

Get involved

To find out more about Pratt’s efforts and how you can join, review the diversity programs at Missouri State.

Posted in Diversity Perspectives, Featured | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Faculty Training: Cultural Consciousness in the Classroom

Our university partners in the Lumina Project 2025 designed a cultural consciousness in the classroom training series to promote college readiness, enrollment and persistence efforts for low-income students from historically underrepresented groups including first generation students. Diversity training for key faculty is being initiated using a “train the trainer” model in order to enhance and increase the cultural consciousness and competency for those instructing such students especially GEP instructors and existing faculty. Join us in helping increase the retention rates and academic success of our first generation, Pell Grant eligible students from historically underrepresented groups by developing your awareness, knowledge and skills in our “Cultural Consciousness in the Classroom” professional development session. This will be the fourth and final session of the 2016-2017 academic year. Each session averages 17 faculty participants.

Upcoming training session:

April 27, 2017
8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
8:15 – breakfast
PSU 314

Breakfast and lunch will be served.

To register, go to My Learning Connection and use the search term “diversity”.

Seating is limited to 25 participants.


Posted in Cultural Consciousness in the Classroom, Diversity Initiatives, Faculty Spotlight, Featured, Professional Development, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Shattering the Silences: Seizing Freedom




Presentation by Dr. David Roediger, Foundation Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Kansas University. He is the author of Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All. New York: Verso, 2014; and co-author of The Production of Difference: Race and the Management of Labor in U.S. History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, and several other books, chapters, and articles on race, labor, and social justice in the United States.

Thursday, February 16, 2017
Meyer Library, Room 101
4:30 – 6:00 PM

“Seizing Freedom, David Roediger’s spellbinding account of black self-emancipation and the array of movements accelerated by this ‘general strike of the slaves’ as DuBois put it, reminds us that it is never too late to take up the democratic promise of Radical Reconstruction.”

— Angela Y. Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz

His book Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All. New York: Verso, 2014, is available for purchase at this event.

Sponsors:  African & African American Studies Committee, Division for Diversity & Inclusion, Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning, College of Humanities & Public Affairs, and Political Science Department.

This event is free and open to the public.



Posted in African American Studies Committee, Campus Focus, Diversity Initiatives, Featured, Shattering the Silences Series, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Missouri State Dining Celebrates Culture

Black History Month Events 2017p2

Missouri State Dining Celebrates Culture

Black History Month

Monday 6th
MSU planned lunch menu Blair-Shannon
H. Wes Pratt, J.D.
Chief Diversity Officer
Missouri State University

Tuesday 7th
Famous inventor lunch menu Blair-Shannon
Joseph Lee
Bread machine

Wednesday 8th
Famous chef dinner menu Blair-Shannon
James Hemmings
Personal chef of Thomas Jefferson

Thursday 9th
Associate planned dinner menu Blair-Shannon
Sheldon Vault
Little Rock, Arkansas

Friday 10th
Famous inventor desserts Blair-Shannon
Norbert Rillieux
Sugar processing

Posted in Campus Focus, Diversity Initiatives, Featured, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

First-Year Programs recruiting peer leaders

First-Year Programs is recruiting excellent peer leaders. Peer leaders work side-by-side with a partnering instructor in a GEP 101 class. Not only do Peer Leaders have the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of our incoming first-year students, but they also have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and hone their public speaking skills.

Peer leader informational sessions are scheduled for the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, February 9, 7:00-7:45pm, PSU 312AB
  • Friday, February 10, 12:30-1:45pm, PSU 312
  • Thursday, February 16, 3:00-3:45pm, PSU 317A

Students do not have to attend an information session to apply.

Peer Leader Brochure

Peer leader application

For more information, contact First-Year Programs at (417) 836-8343.

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Scholar 2 Scholar provides opportunities for undergraduate research

Missouri State University’s Scholar 2 Scholar program is accepting applications for the 2017-18 academic year.

Established to provide collaborative research experiences through matching undergraduate students with faculty mentors, Scholar 2 Scholar is a campus-wide research initiative that empowers students who are interested in working as research assistants with faculty from a variety of disciplines.

The division for diversity and inclusion is hosting four information meetings for interested students:

  • Feb. 14, 10 a.m.
  • Feb. 15, 3:30 p.m.
  • March 21, 11 a.m.
  • March 22, 4 p.m.

The meetings will take place in Meyer Library, Room 204.

Who is eligible?

Undergraduate sophomore, junior and senior students with work study awards are eligible to participate. Work study awards must be at least $1,000 per semester, $2,000 per year with possible summer employment for $1,000.

Interested students must submit a work study application, profile intake sheet and two letters of recommendation. Work study applications are available at student employment services.

Students should apply for both the Scholar 2 Scholar program and the division for diversity and inclusion research assistant work study position no later than April 2017.

Students accepted to the program receive a wage of at least $9 per hour and have the opportunity to present their completed research projects at an on-campus research symposium.

Additionally, students must maintain a 2.40 cumulative GPA throughout the program and must be available for research instruction and work at least seven hours per week for up to 30 weeks.

Michael Davis works as a graduate assistant in the Center for Community Engagement at MSU.
Michael Davis works as a graduate assistant in the Center for Community Engagement at MSU.

Students gain research skills, experience

Scholar 2 Scholar encourages students, especially those from underrepresented and lower-income populations, to participate in research as early as possible in their academic careers.

Michael Davis, a graduate student studying professional studies with an emphasis in homeland security, did not always have the confidence he now has in his research capabilities.

“The program took me out of the academic environment and placed me in a real-world research environment,” said Davis, who got his undergraduate degree in psychology. “As part of the program, I developed and wrote the institutional review board (IRB) application, researched, compiled and analyzed the data, and presented my findings at the faculty showcase in fall 2016.”

Davis says his experience with the Scholar 2 Scholar program was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“Scholar 2 Scholar gave me the confidence to believe that wherever I go and whatever I do, I have the ability to do it myself,” said Davis, who was one of the first two Scholar 2 Scholar recipients. “If the opportunity arises for a student to undertake a project like this, he or she should grab hold of it with both hands and never let go.”

For more information, contact Dr. Jamaine Abidogun, diversity fellow, at 417-836-5916.

Posted in Diversity Initiatives, Student Focus, Student Spotlight, Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The black experience: Route 66 in Southwest Missouri

Diversity & Inclusion Seminar

Monday, February 6, 2017
3:30 p.m.
Cheek Hall 102

We will discuss some wonderful black businesses along the famous route (Alberta’s Hotel and Graham’s Rib Station, for example, as well as the experiences of black travelers along Route 66).

All are welcome!

For more information, contact Kishor Shah at kishorshah@missouristate.edu

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Tough Talk Sessions


Tough Talk

Whatever your viewpoint is, this is your opportunity to talk about it

What is it like to be multi-racial?

This session explores the identity development of experiences of identifying with more than one racial and ethnic heritage.

Feb 1 – Mar 1
Strong Hall 0250
Facilitator: Jillian Schaffer and Ana Ortiz
RSVP by email to jillian4@live.missouristate.edu or anaortiz@missouristate.edu

Race in 2017

The election of Donald Trump and many other social factors indicate this will be an interesting year in terms of the continued effort to understand race in our nation.

Feb 2 – PSU 314 B & C
Feb 9 – PSU 312 B & C
Feb 16 – PSU 314 B & C
Feb 23 – PSU 314 B & C
Mar 2 – PSU 314 B & C
Facilitator: Lyle Foster
RSVP by email to lylefoster@missouristate.edu

The Prison Pipeline

How does our educational system prepare and identify prisoners? Is there a relationship? Learn, talk and act!

Jan 31 – Feb 28
Pummill 0403
Facilitator: Dr. Bret Cormier
RSVP by email to bcormier@missouristate.edu

Special Tough Talk Session

African American Heritage Month event with special guest Ben Sanders
Tuesday, Feb 28
MRC Annex
Facilitator: Lyle Foster


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Shattering the Silences: Trauma and Healing in the Diaspora

Shattering the Silences: Trauma and Healing in the Diaspora

An Afrocentric look at social trauma and healing through a “house concert” musical presentation with streaming video of how communities can heal from past injustices and how current injustices may be corrected through this healing process. The Division for Diversity & Inclusion and Faculty Center for Teaching  & Learning welcome filmmaker and musician, Patrick Mureithi.

Please join us for a night of musical healing and collective engagement.

PSU Theatre
February 23, 2017
4:00 – 6:00 PM

This event is free & open to the public.

Posted in Diversity Initiatives, Featured, Shattering the Silences Series, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Black History Month 2017

BHM Fyler

Black History Month 2017

Sponsored by Multicultural Programs in collaboration with The Diversity Fund, SAC, Untamed Tongues, Association of Black Collegians, NPHC, African Student Association, NAACP, F.A.I.T.H Ministries and HIS Legacy

Feb 2
Lunch and learn: History of Springfield’s black community
Time: 12:30-1:30pm
MRC Annex
Guest speaker: Wes Pratt, Assistant to the President, Chief Diversity Officer
Refreshments provided

Feb 6
Dine and discuss: Self-sustainable black communities
MRC Annex
Guest speaker: Mark Dixon, Executive Director Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center
Refreshments provided

Feb 8
Southside with you movie viewing and discussion
PSU Theater
Guest speaker: Hasani Pettiford, Author and Co-Founder of Couples Academy
Free food

Feb 9
Lunch and learn: Give me my credit, widening the scope of #BLM movement
MRC Annex
Refreshments provided

Feb 13
“13” documentary showing
MRC Annex
Refreshments provided

Feb 16
Lunch and learn: Black and the Consitution
MRC Annex
Guest speaker: Dr. Jamaine Abidogun, Professor of History & MSED Program Coordinator
Refreshments provided

Feb 17
A night of art and soul
PSU 400
Refreshments provided

Feb 23
Shattering the Silences: Trauma and healing in the diaspora
PSU Theater

Feb 25
Black history month banquet and fashion show
PSU Grand Ballroom
Free admission, tickets required for entry
Tickets will be available in the PSU Feb 10-24

Feb 27-28
Keynote speaker: Ben Sanders III
“Race, law enforcement and faith-based racism”
February 27, 7:00pm
MSU Welcome Center

Lunch and learn: “Black theology and BLM”
February 28, 12:30pm-1:30pm
MRC Annex
Free pizza and drinks

Contact Multiculturalprograms@missouristate.edu or call (417) 836-8921



Posted in Campus Focus, Diversity Initiatives, Featured, Heritage Months, Multicultural Programs, Multicultural Services, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment