Northwestern offers diversity workshop for faculty, staff

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Northwestern offers diversity workshop for faculty, staff

February 15, 2017

Janet Valencia and panelistsNorthwestern Oklahoma State University’s Diversity Committee recently played host to a workshop for faculty and staff called, “Achieving Life Balance as a Professional in Higher Education.”

PICTURED RIGHT: Janet Valencia (left) speaks about providing healthcare for a loved one and the challenges that come with it during a recent diversity workshop titled “Achieving Life Balance as a Professional in Higher Education.” Other panelists included (left to right) Dr. Kay Decker, chair for the diversity committee, and Dr. Janet Cunningham, Dr. James Bell and Dr. Kylene Rehder.

Northwestern faculty and staff were invited to attend the workshop where they listened to comments from panelists such as Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president; Dr. James Bell, dean of faculty and associate vice president for academics; Janet Valencia, secretary of the Division of Business; and Dr. Kylene Rehder, associate professor of social work and chair of the Department of social Work.

“We had a great turnout of faculty and staff at this workshop,” Dr. Kay Decker, professor of sociology, chair of Northwestern’s Department of Social Sciences and chair of the Diversity Committee, said. “Participants had a great opportunity to share helpful tips and experiences.”

Following the panelists’ comments, roundtable discussions were available for participants to address a wide range of potential personal and professional issues that can arise in life.

Bell discussed the importance of finding balance and time for one’s spouse or significant other when work duties take substantial time after hours.

Rehder discussed the challenges of finishing a terminal degree while managing home life and teaching/advising full time.

Valencia addressed problems often encountered as professionals when charged with providing care and attention to aging parents or other family members.

Roundtable discussions

PICTURED LEFT: Northwestern faculty and staff who attend the workshop were able to pick from a range of topics, of roundtable discussions, to participant in.

Tammy Brown, assistant professor of speech and interim chair of the Communication Department, discussed ideas about how to find quality stress relievers in a stressful work environment and how to keep it sane at home.

Dr. Steven Maier, professor of physics and chair of the Department of Natural Science, shared tips and pointers for teaching and advising in the digital age of 24/7/365.

Dr. Christie Riley, assistant professor of education and director of teacher education, discussed how to find a balance between personal friendships and maintaining currency with our profession and work obligations.

Dr. Shelly Wells, associate professor of nursing and chair of the Division of Nursing, and Dr. Kate Lane, associate professor of English and chair to the English, Foreign Language and Humanities Department, served as co-discussants for the subject of finding time for one’s own professional development and keeping things collegial at work.

The Diversity Committee is made up of Northwestern faculty including Marian Bratten-Hall, instructor of education; Dr. Roger Brown, assistant professor of business; Dr. Colleen Golightly, associate professor of education; Dr. Cris Gordon, assistant professor of psychology and chair of the Psychology Department; Kyle Larson, assistant professor of art; Dr. Steve Mackie, assistant professor of education; Dr. Joseph Nnanna, assistant professor of business; Dr. Eric Schmaltz, professor of history; Dr. Wei Zhou, assistant professor of business; Decker and Wells.

For more information, contact Decker at or (580) 327-8521