Khalilah Shabazz appointed director of IUPUI Multicultural Success Center

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Karen Dace has announced the appointment of Khalilah A. Shabazz as director of the IUPUI Multicultural Success Center effective Jan. 1.

The Multicultural Success Center seeks to engage students and the IUPUI community in proactive dialogue around issues of diversity and multiculturalism, including the community voice through service and outreach; and articulate and address the needs of students, faculty and staff across lines of color, gender, ethnicity, ability and orientation.

As director of the Multicultural Success Center, Shabazz will be responsible for the management, planning and continued development of the center, including providing leadership in multicultural awareness and diversity education, as well as ensuring the center serves as an advocate for underrepresented students — including minority, female, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students — by offering educational and social programming aimed at their personal development, retention and success.

“Khalilah’s extensive educational and professional experiences, as well as her keen grasp of the complex issues of diversity and multiculturalism in higher education, make her an ideal candidate for this position,” Dace said. “Her energy, drive and commitment to IUPUI and the success of our students will serve the campus, university and Indianapolis community well.”

Working at IUPUI since 2001, Shabazz has almost exclusively focused on how best to support and retain underrepresented populations. Shabazz first joined campus staff as the assistant director for student retention and scholarship in the Office of Student Scholarships. Most recently, she served as director of University College’s Diversity Enrichment and Achievement Program. There she was responsible for developing and implementing program concepts and objectives that promote retention and success of underrepresented students at IUPUI, as well as offering direction of resources, clarification of documents and other assistance to help entering underrepresented students and their families make a successful transition into IUPUI.

“I consider it an incredible opportunity to serve as the director of the Multicultural Success Center. The IUPUI students, staff and faculty along with the community are key partners in the success of the center,” Shabazz said. “I am excited and look forward to working with everyone to develop a premier Multicultural Success Center that advances IUPUI’s commitment to diversity through education, advocacy and research.”

Shabazz holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the Purdue School of Science at IUPUI and a Master of Science in higher education and student affairs from the IU School of Education at IUPUI, with the distinction of summa cum laude. Shabazz is pursuing her Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs at IUPUI with an expected graduation date of May 2014.

Trayvon Martin case sparks public IUPUI Dialogue Series

The Florida case involving the 2012 fatal shooting of an unarmed African American youth and the gunman’s acquittal in July proved a social tinder box for racial issues in America.

Diversity leaders on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus have organized a series of public meetings, four dialogue sessions and two town hall meetings built around the high-profile case.

The leaders say the very strands of discord sparked by the Martin case make it a great learning tool. Their hopes are the six meetings will encourage people, particularly students, to engage in civil discourse when faced with hot-button issues.

“It is easy to engage civilly on conversations over matters for which we agree,” said Daniel Griffith, director of the IUPUI Intergroup Dialogue Group, one of the series co-sponsors. “The need for civil discourse is especially important for conversations over matters for which there is significant disagreement and strong emotion. Without civil discourse, where conversation becomes strident and negative, the opportunity for learning and the chance for increasing understanding and finding common ground will be lost.”

The public meetings, titled “A Dialogue Series on Race, Politics and the Pursuit of Justice: America After Trayvon Martin,” kick off with a town hall meeting from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in the auditorium of Hine Hall, formerly the University Place Conference Center, 850 W. Michigan St.

According to Wayne Hilson, the interim director of the IUPUI Multicultural Success Center and director of Multicultural Academic Relations, the series is a prime example of the spirit of the IUPUI 2013-15 Common Theme, “Find Your Voice and Hear My Voice.”

“People seem to have increasing difficulty speaking to one another about serious matters in a civilized manner,” Hilson said. “We think it’s vital that our young people learn how to engage in productive, positive discourse, even on issues that can be divisive or uncomfortable.”

Hilson and the other organizers are hopeful that participants from various ethnic and racial backgrounds will attend and not just those who might empathize more with Martin because of their own racial or ethnic backgrounds.

“This is for everyone,” Hilson said. “Any true dialogue begins with a willingness to come and learn some things. These meetings will be a safe place to share one’s opinion regardless of what side of the fence you are on.”

The IUPUI Multicultural Success Center, the IUPUI Intergroup Dialogue Group and various academic units are co-sponsors of the series.

Following are the dates, times, locations and topics of the sessions:

  • Oct. 31, Dialogue Session 1: “Legal Aspects + Implications of the Trayvon Martin Case,” featuring IU McKinney School of Law faculty and legal experts from the greater Indianapolis community, 6 to 8 p.m., Room 132, Hine Hall
  • Nov. 7, Dialogue Session 2: “The Impact of Social Injustice: The History and Impact of Profiling,” featuring faculty from the Department of Africana Studies in the School of Liberal Arts, 6 to 8 p.m., Room 132, Hine Hall.
  • Nov. 12, Dialogue Session 3: “Being Stopped by the Police or Others: Managing Confrontation, Avoiding Conflict,” featuring IU Police Department officers and representatives from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, 6 to 8 p.m., Presidents Room, The Tower, formerly the University Place Hotel.
  • Nov. 21, Dialogue Session 4: “Cultivating Positive Change on Campus and in the Classroom,” featuring faculty from the Department of Psychology in the Purdue School of Science and the IU School of Education, 6 to 8 p.m., Room 132, Hine Hall.
  • Dec. 5, Town Hall Meeting: Closing session, 6 to 9 p.m., Hine Hall Auditorium.