The Diversity Leadership Academy
Population centers across South Carolina have become increasingly diverse as the state has grown in recent years. Recognizing this, the Diversity Leadership Academy of the Upstate launched its inaugural session in September 2003. Presented by the Riley Institute in collaboration with the American Institute for Managing Diversity, a non-profit diversity think tank located in Atlanta, the DLA is an annual program that encourages community leaders to consider the challenges and opportunities presented by the many facets of diversity, including, among others, differences in physical ability, language, and cultural background. DLA Upstate is the first effort of its kind in South Carolina.
The inaugural class of the DLA of the Upstate included over 38 leaders from business, religious, governmental, educational, and community-based organizations throughout South Carolina's Upstate. Participants met from September through December in monthly sessions during which they developed and carried out community projects. During the implementation of their projects, participants acquired diversity management skills that will be invaluable in addressing issues of difference in the workplace as well as in continued community building efforts in the Upstate.
Participants in each diversity academy form learning circles. Each learning circle works together on diversity related issues in the community and develops a Capstone Project. During completion of the Capstone Project, members of the learning circle identify a diversity issue, evaluate the diversity challenges and opportunities present, and suggest action options that might be applied to enhance the effective diversity management of the various perspectives involved.
Capstone Group 4 or the Learning Circle entitled “The Next Generation” is a part of the Diversity Leadership Class for Fall 2006. Members of Capstone Group 4 are as follows:
- Cheryl Carlan Michelin
- David Church Spartanburg Regional Health Care System
- Tan Kirby Davis The Kirby Resource Group
- Jennifer Evins Spartanburg County Foundation
- Judith Prince University of South Carolina Upstate
- Donald Ray Smith Lighthouse Ministries
- Martin Wardle Michelin
Capstone Group 4 chose as a project the creation, implementation, and maintenance of a website of resources for teaching and managing diversity in the classroom, teachdiversity.org.
The School of Education
The School of Education at USC Upstate is a nationally accredited professional school with the chief responsibility of preparing teachers for early childhood, elementary, middle and secondary school certification. The School of Education offers programs in early childhood education, elementary education and middle grades education leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree, in physical education and special education leading to a Bachelor of Science degree, and in secondary education leading to either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. The unit offers Master's of Education degrees in early childhood education, elementary education and special education with a concentration in visual impairment.
In addition to their basic task of teaching professional education coursework, the faculty of the school undertake research projects that contribute to improvement in the theory and practice of teacher education. Faculty members conduct research, publish scholarly articles, and engage in service activities designed to assist teachers, students, administrators, and other educators. They sponsor various workshops and conferences
planned specifically for the staffs of elementary, middle and secondary schools.