News and Events

Upcoming events

“Where Do We Go From Here?” – Our 19th annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be pre-recorded and made available for viewing starting at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 18, 2021. Please save the date and join us then!

You may preview the program for the event and also watch two videos of Dr. King’s 1967 speech at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta entitled “Where Do We Go From Here?” on the event page.

Professional Development Workshop

Only 15 spots available in the introductory online DEI discussion course format (non-credit) on the DEI book readings. Course begins January 15, 2021 and runs for four weeks. Anyone may sign up (free to students and community members for this first offering). The purpose of the course is to engage in a facilitated online discussion and individual exploration on current DEI topics.

Spots limited to the first 15 to register at DEI@sc4.edu. Registration is voluntary for faculty and staff – no obligation. Staff should check with supervisors for permission for work during a workday. 

Course expectation is 60 to 90 minutes per week. Course length is four weeks. Posting reflections is expected as part of the course participation. The course is offered in Canvas and is facilitated by an outside facilitator to provide a perspective outside of SC4.

The online discussion option is an offering of DEI as a pilot project to promote personal reflection and understanding that may not occur in large group sessions or speaker presentations.

Any questions? Contact Jessica Brown at jdbrown@sc4.edu or email dei@sc4.edu

Voluntary DEI Book Readings for 2021-2022:

  • How to be an Anti-Racist
  • Me and White Supremacy

Books are free to borrow for faculty, staff, and students please contact dei@sc4.edu or the library for digital versions.

Third Reading Discussion Group virtual event on January 15

The third virtual group book discussion will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 15 on Zoom. The book discussed will be How to be An Antiracist by: Ibram X Kendi. The facilitators will be Dr. Leah Howell and Dr. Portia Watkins.

Dr. Watkins is an equity and inclusion minded higher education professional with over 8 years of experience. She is a Level 1 trainer of the Kingian NonViolence Conflict Reconciliation program which is based on the life and readings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her research interests include: Black Women Professors and Staff in higher education, Othermothering, Black Feminist thought, Critical Race theory, group dynamics, access in higher education, social justice, supervision and assessment. Dr. Watkins is currently serving as the Director of New Student Orientation at Michigan State University. 

Dr. Howell currently serves as the Director of Health, Wellness, and Accountability for Alpha Phi International Fraternity, transitioning to this role after nearly two decades of direct experience in post-secondary education. She completed her Ph.D. in Educational Studies, with a focus in Developmental and Learning Sciences, at the University of Cincinnati where her research focused on the intersection of identity development and high-risk alcohol use. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family Studies & Psychology from Central Michigan University. Her functional experience includes work in the Ombud’s Office, Student Conduct, Title IX, Disability Support Services, Fraternity and Sorority Life. Her curriculum development and facilitation experience are diverse, covering topics including academic success, leadership development, sexual violence prevention, harm reduction, and cultural competence. As a proud first-generation college student, she has an affinity for opportunities which allow her to impact the expansion of inclusion and access practices for post-secondary communities.

Previous events

Reading Discussion Group virtual event

The second virtual group book discussion was held on Friday, November 20. The book discussed will be White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson. The facilitators were Dr. Leah Howell and Dr. Portia Watkins.

Caleb S. Boswell – November 2020

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion offered a 60-minute chat session for SC4 students on the book Looking Beyond the Cover: A Discussion on the Effects of Racism & Bias on a Student’s Mental Health, Friday, Nov. 13, via Zoom.

Racism and mental health are often viewed as a touchy subject for discussion. The facilitator, Caleb Boswell, provided an understanding of racism, bias, and the toll it takes on students. He discussed topics of depression, anxiety, and imposter syndrome.

Caleb S. Boswell photo
Caleb S. Boswell

Caleb S. Boswell, MA, LLPC has a passion for mental wellness and education. He is currently a Student Advisor in the Office of Counseling & Career Planning at Washtenaw Community College and serves as a part-time instructor. Also, at WCC, he is the facilitator for Brother 2 Brother, a program for underrepresented males on campus. He is the co-facilitator of the college Collegiate Recovery Program, which serves students in recovery from substance abuse. Mr. Boswell has worked in higher education over the past ten years in various capacities for CMU, EMU, and Wayne State University. He has also served in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Ypsilanti public schools. He has extensive experience working with programming that promotes college access and personal development. He is committed to helping students succeed and strives to assist them with a holistic approach. He has done presentations on mental wellness and often uses his social media outlets to promote mental wellness and therapy benefits with the hashtag #TherapyIsNormal. Caleb is also the co-facilitator of The Healing Collective. This is an online community where various topics of mental wellness are discussed during COVID-19. He is a proud Central Michigan University alum, where he double majored in psychology and communications, and also earned his master’s degree in college counseling from Eastern Michigan University.

Jen Fry – October 2020

Jen Fry

Social justice educator Jen Fry spoke to the SC4 campus and community at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. The presentation was offered through SC4’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and took place via Zoom.

Jen Fry is a native of Arizona, a Division II athlete, and veteran volleyball coach with over 15 years of experience at the collegiate level with coaching stints at Elon University, the University of Illinois (2011 National Runner-Up), Washington State University, and Norfolk State University. She turned social justice educator when she realized there was a need for educating not only our student-athletes of all ages, but the administration, staff, and coaches who train them through an antiracist lens on issues of race, inclusion, intersectionality, diversity, and equity. She is also working on her Phd in Geography at Michigan State University.

Social justice education assists everyone in their process of critically thinking of how to become culturally competent, how to self reflect on one’s position, power and privilege, and lastly, how to create an inclusive culture that allows diversity to be a part of the culture not BE the culture.

She spoke at TEDxDuke in February 2019 on the topic of “Radical Social Justice Education Through High Fives.” Here’s a video of her presentation:


D.E.I. Reading Series Discussion initiative

The D.E.I. (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Reading Series Discussion initiative aims for students, staff, faculty, and the community to have an honest and open dialogue on their perspective lens and connect with the subject in a comprehensive way to promote respect and empathy in others; by creating a safe space to share discussion and transparency about the issues surrounding the select topics.

The first group discussion was on Friday, September 25, 2020. The book discussed was White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. Our facilitators were Dr. Leah Howell and Dr. Portia Watkins.

Available books

The following books are available for SC4 employees to borrow, read, and then participate in discussions as we move into the fall semester.

There is no cost to participants. To get a copy of one or more of the books, send an email to DEI@sc4.edu with the following information:

  • Your book choice (or choices)
  • Your book delivery preference: Either pick it up at the Office of DEI, have it delivered by interoffice mail, or have it mailed to your home (include your mailing address if you choose this option)
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
  • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Please contact DEI@sc4.edu or jdbrown@sc4.edu if you have any questions.


Professional development workshop on book readings

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will be offering a free non-credit professional development workshop on DEI book readings for faculty, staff and students. The purpose of the workshop is to engage in a facilitated online discussion and individual exploration on current DEI topics.

The online workshop will be offered through Canvas and facilitated by an outside facilitator to provide a perspective outside of SC4. Details on when this professional development opportunity will take place will be available soon.

Expectation for participation in the workshop is 60 to 90 minutes per week with an online format providing flexibility on managing your own schedule. Posting reflections is expected as part of the workshop participation. 

The online discussion option is an offering of DEI as a pilot project to promote personal reflection and understanding that may not occur in large group sessions or speaker presentations.

For questions, contact Jessica Brown at jdbrown@sc4.edu or email dei@sc4.edu

Voluntary DEI Book Readings for 2020-21:

  • White Fragility
  • White Rage
  • How to be an Anti-Racist
  • Me and White Supremacy

Books are free to borrow for faculty, staff, and students by contacting dei@sc4.edu. The SC4 Library does hold one electronic copy of each of the titles in the reading series. To access the eBooks off–campus, users will need to enter their SC4 Portal username and password.

Additional plans for the coming year

  • Host national and regional diversity, equity, and inclusion speakers on campus
  • Coordinate with the Global Diversity Advisory Council, Civic Engagement, G.L.O.W., SC4MPowers and other groups on campus on shared interests and similar activities
  • Connect with community groups
  • Advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all campus systems, activities, functions, and efforts