The Department of Diversity and Inclusion at University of the Cumberlands is now offering a new Diversity Reading Initiative (DRI) for Cumberlands students, faculty, and staff.
During fall and spring semesters, the Cumberlands community will have the opportunity to read a book that offers insight into the themes of diversity and inclusion, from authors of various backgrounds. Cumberlands’ online population will be able to have the book shipped to them at no cost. (Books will be provided by the Department of Diversity ad Inclusion for on-campus and online populations while supplies last.) Participants will come together at the conclusion of the semesters to discuss their thoughts on the book, share how it affirmed or challenged their views, ask questions they have about it, and brainstorm practical ways they can apply helpful principles from their reading in their daily lives. The conversation will be facilitated by leaders in the Department of Diversity and Inclusion.
The goal of the initiative is, in short, to cultivate and facility healthy dialogue through careful and thoughtful engagement. Ultimately, the Department hopes to achieve a more diverse and holistic learning environment among the Cumberlands community.
The first book that DRI participants will be reading is The New Reformation: Finding Hope in the Fight for Ethnic Unity by Shai Linne. Copies of the book can be reserved by contacting Devon Goings, director of the Department of Diversity and Inclusion, at devon.goings [at] ucumberlands.edu (devon[dot]goings[at]ucumberlands[dot]edu).
Goings said, “I’m really excited about the DRI! This will help cultivate constructive and charitable conversations on our campus. My goal is not to tell people what to think, but rather how to think through topics that tend to divide. That’s one of the reasons we’ll read a variety of topics and positions from different authors. I am hoping this initiative will allow us to approach one another with humility and care, particularly with people we may not naturally engage or agree with.”
He added, “I’m excited about us reading through Shai Linne’s book to kick this initiative off. He is a Christian hip hop artist who is coming on campus on March 1st and 2nd to speak at Spring Renewal hosted by Campus Ministries. His book has been very impactful for me personally, and I think that he has handled this topic with care and that he lays out a compelling vision for how to adequately address issues of ethnicity. I have no doubt that this book be a great pilot for this initiative!”
Though the increased awareness, understanding, and personal growth from participating in this initiative is reward enough, there are a few added incentives. For instance, exclusive Department merchandise and gift cards to local restaurants will be offered as prizes for participants from time to time.
To get involved in the Diversity Reading Initiative, contact Devon Goings at devon.goings [at] ucumberlands.edu (devon[dot]goings[at]ucumberlands[dot]edu). To learn more about the Department, visit www.ucumberlands.edu/diversity.