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Nov. 09, 2012
CONTACT: K. E. Schwab

SRU hosts PASSHE Summit

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University will host more than 250 faculty, staff and students from sister Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Universities for a two-day "Inclusive Excellence and International Education: Charting the Future Together" PASSHE summit.

The sixth annual summit, which will include more than 100 speakers and panelists, will run Nov. 15-16 in the Smith Student Center.

CLAYTON-PEDERSON Alma Clayton-Pederson, chief executive officer at Emeritus Consulting Group and senior scholar at the Association of American College and Universities, and Bennett Cooper, senior distribution consultant with the Branca Rampart Agency Inc., will deliver the keynote addresses.

"We are extremely pleased to be able to host this important summit that will share ideas, programs and initiatives. It will also give us a chance to show off our new Smith Student Center, which I think will certainly impress our guests," said Jessamine Montero Michaels, senior officer for diversity and inclusion. "This yearly summit is an extremely important event that brings together our network of faculty, staff, students and administrators who foster diversity, inclusiveness and multiculturalism across the commonwealth."

The summit goals are to focus on issues critical to access and success for students and employees; showcase best practices, research, theoretical models, policy and planning issues, case studies, interactive training and model programs, assessment and curricular and pedagogical models; identify and develop diversity outcomes for functional, affinity and institutional groups that foster ongoing systemwide networks for monitoring access and success for system students and employees.

"Our theme reminds us that our students become more effective citizens only when they are introduced to diverse cultures and individuals, not just at their university, but also, worldwide," said John Cavanaugh, PASSHE chancellor. "This wonderful convergence of representatives from our universities, along with the many excellent speakers from whom you will hear will provide tremendous insight and, I am certain, will make a real difference in the lives of our students. Our students - and their success - always have been, and always will be PASSHE's top priority. We must ensure their experiences while they are with us are as rich and as substantive as possible."

"I am very pleased that Slippery Rock University is hosting this very important, systemwide summit," said Cheryl Norton, SRU president. "It is also encouraging to see so many SRU faculty, staff and students serving as workshop presenters or panelists. It clearly demonstrates that SRU is a leader in supporting diversity and inclusion."

"Campus Climate for Diversity and Equity: The Benefits and Challenges of Making Excellence Inclusive," will be the focus of Clayton-Penderson's address. It will cover how rapid changes in the college-going population, new demands for greater effectiveness and accountability, shrinking resources, and numerous technological innovations require college and university leaders at all levels to align these realities with how they achieve their educational aims and the institution's core mission.

"Making Excellence Inclusive argues that students cannot be prepared for this era of increased social complexity unless diversity, broadly and richly defined, is placed at the center of institutional functioning and the academic enterprise. Higher education researchers suggest that several cultures rather than a single culture characterize the academic environment. They call for campus leaders to attend to and leverage these multiple cultures when undertaking educational change efforts, while also recognizing diversity, equity and inclusion as hallmarks of institutional excellence," Clayton-Penderson said.

She will discuss the notion that everyone in the learning environment has a role in addressing these challenges and working collaboratively toward inclusive excellence at every level.

Clayton-Penderson is an AAC&U senior scholar directing the work of a three-year "Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future," project funded by the National Science Foundation. The project runs through 2013.

COOPER She served 18 months as senior policy director and special assistant to AAC&U's president prior to becoming vice president, and established AAC&U's national initiative "Inclusive Excellence," which advanced the association's strategic priority: Aim High and Make Excellence Inclusive. She has co-authored such works as "Making a Real Difference with Diversity: A Guide for Institutional Change," which focuses on changing the diversity paradigm from an add-on to an essential dimension of 21st-century learning and how to monitor progress in achieving institutional goals for diversity.

Her "Enacting Diverse Learning Environments: Improving the Climate for Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Higher Education" provides a framework of the dimensions of campus climate. Clayton-Pederson earned a bachelor of science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and both her master of education and doctorate from Vanderbilt University.

Cooper has spent 40 years building and managing profitable insurance and financial services operations. He has served as a senior distribution consultant to major insurance companies, independent financial organizations, banks and securities firms that are transitioning to multiple channels of distribution.

He has been a featured speaker at life association meetings, national conferences, bar association meetings and international forums and has taught courses on business planning, retirement counseling and estate planning.

He earned his juris doctorate from Temple University and his bachelor of arts from Millersville University, where he received the Guy-Kurtz Bard Award as the outstanding senior in political science and history. He also has the Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant designations.

His address is titled "Setting Priorities and 'Soaring to Greatness.'"

The summit will offer six, themed workshop sessions over the two days, including more than 40 breakout sessions. The conference will conclude with a "President's Panel" followed by a "PASSHE: Charting the Future Together" address by Peter Garland, PASSHE executive vice chancellor.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.