Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will present its 2022 DEI Summit Nov. 2-4. This year’s focus is “What does it mean to belong? Cultivating relationships and centering equity in our communities.” The summit will be conducted virtually.

State System stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff and administrators, are invited to think together about how to cultivate relationships that promote belonging and well-being for all, both on campus and beyond.

“The creation of a caring, supportive and welcoming environment within the university is critical in creating a sense of belonging,” said Dr. Joseph Croskey, associate professor for PennWest and executive director of the State System’s Frederick Douglass Institutes. “This sense of belonging is beneficial for several reasons, especially in enhancing one’s capacity to cope with stressful times and to be more resilient. A sense of belonging can contribute to everyone flourishing and thriving.”

To foster the sense of belonging, PennWest’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will open the summit with gatherings Nov. 2 in Natali Performance Center at California (2:30-4:30 p.m.), Gemmell MPR at Clarion (2-5:30 p.m.), and Pogue Student Center’s Edinboro Theater (2:30-4:30 p.m.) at Edinboro.

“This gathering will allow us to break bread and get to know one another better as we participate in the opening events,” Croskey said. “The opening keynote speaker, Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, has written several books on belonging and is sure to deliver a rousing address.”

Denise Pearson, State System vice chancellor and chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer, and Cynthia Shapira, chair of the State System Board of Governors, will give opening remarks at 3 p.m. Strayhornwill speak at 3:30 p.m. Following the speakers, Zachariah Julian, an indigenous musician, will share his music to celebrate Native American Heritage month.

Thursday features keynote addresses by disability justice activist Lydia X.Z. Brown from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and senior DEI director ScottBlair from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

Dr. Tracie Addy, associate dean and author of “What Inclusive Instructors Do,” begins the Friday lineup with a keynote from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. School psychologist Dr. Amber Sessoms will speak from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m., and the summit will conclude with professor and journalist Jelani Cobb’s keynote from 4 to 5 p.m.

This annual summit reflects the State System's commitment to building and maintaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive space for faculty, staff and students to thrive. The event supports the State System’s five mission-driven DEI priorities:

·       Faculty, Staff and Student Diversity;

·       Equitable Student Outcomes;

·       Inclusive Communities;

·       Curriculum Diversity; and

·       Enabling Infrastructure.


Admission to the summit is free; click here to register.