DCEC promotes diversity, fellowship among college community

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Across the University, fostering a welcoming and inclusive culture for faculty, staff, students and visitors is a top priority. In the College of Education, the Diversity and Community Enhancement Committee (DCEC) works to promote an "all-in" atmosphere and provide opportunities so that all members of the college may be personally and professionally successful.

DCEC was created to address specific issues related to diversity within the college and its goals are aligned to those identified in the college's strategic plan. Each year, the committee hosts nearly a dozen diversity-themed events for faculty, staff and students. They include annual events such as the Diversity in Education Conference, coordinated in partnership with the Penn State Student Council for Exceptional Children; a Bullying Among Diverse Populations workshop; and an annual staff retreat. During the 2017-18 academic year, DCEC partnered with Stand for State, Penn State's bystander intervention program, to provide training to students on sexual and relationship violence. A separate workshop focused on bias and discrimination was offered to faculty and staff at the end of March.

DCEC also strives to be active in the local community to promote diversity-related learning opportunities for children in Centre County. Most recently, the group joined forces with the Centre County United Way to sponsor "Raising Readers," a multicultural/multilingual book drive that benefits children under age 5.

"DCEC is essential to the college because it gives a voice for students, staff and faculty, and provides an opportunity for these different groups to work collaboratively to support the college," said Rayne Sperling, associate dean for undergraduate and graduate studies.

The work of DCEC is essential to the college's diversity initiatives, said Maria Schmidt, assistant dean of for multicultural programs.

"Diversity is exploring and learning concepts, ideas and beliefs through different lenses and valuing each one of them as meaningful contributors to our personal growth and community's well-being," Schmidt said. "DCEC assists the college in identifying and prioritizing our diversity needs and develops programs to address those needs."

Seria Chatters, assistant professor of education (counselor education) has been elected as the new chair and will take leadership in the fall. She replaces Elizabeth Smolcic, associate professor of education (English as a second language), who has served as DCEC chair since 2015 and will be stepping down from the post at the end of the academic year.

"My involvement in DCEC is a way for me to contribute to the college community, extending beyond the typical boundaries of people and ideas in which I routinely interact," Smolcic said. "In that sense, it encourages me to move out of the known and what I’m comfortable with, and to make connections with people in other areas working collectively on issues that I care about. I believe in the educational work of DCEC and its potential to allow us all to learn about and engage with human differences, unique histories, and become more conscious of our shared humanity and ties to the planet. And, in a practical way, it’s just fun to work with a group of people who are volunteering their time and make things happen. There is lots of space in DCEC to make things happen."

Faculty, staff and students (undergraduate and graduate) of the college are eligible to join in the work of DCEC and are encouraged to attend monthly meetings. The first meeting of the fall semester will be announced at the start of the fall 2018 semester. For more information about DCEC, visit https://ed.psu.edu/dcec.

Media Contacts: 

Jessica Buterbaugh

Work Phone: 

marketing communications specialist,
College of Education

Last Updated April 25, 2018