Ashland University Symposium Kicks Off Sept. 12

Ashland University Symposium Kicks-Off Sept. 12

8/22/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – Organized by the Ashland University College of Arts & Sciences, the biennial Symposium Against Indifference returns in 2017-2018 with the theme of “Building Bridges Through Dialogue.” In particular, this year's events seek to elevate the level of discourse to civil discussion of diverse perspectives.

With five major programs scheduled throughout this academic year (September through March), the series will kick off with presentations by Dr. Susan Glisson and Charles Tucker, the partners and co-founders of Sustainable Equity, LLC, who will share stories of dialogue, understanding and trust within divided America. 

“We've been conditioned to listen in order to counter someone’s statement instead of listening to understand. That’s not helpful,” Glisson says. 

Glisson and Tucker will present a public lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 7:30 p.m. and an interactive workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 7:30 p.m. with both events being held in the Trustees Room of the Myers Convocation Center. With co-sponsorship by the Department of Religion, these programs are free and open to the public.

The Tuesday evening lecture will use Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s quote, “My enemy is someone whose story I haven’t heard” as a touchstone. From a historic conviction in a cold civil rights case, passage and implementation of a statewide law requiring civil rights and human rights history curriculum in all Mississippi schools, to work with the City of New Orleans on Confederate monuments, and work with corporations such as Facebook, police departments and public institutions, Glisson and Tucker have a diverse and substantial list of success stories of leading individuals to examine their own attitudes and biases combined with the building of trust and respectful relationships. 

At the workshop on Wednesday evening, participants will discover the Welcome Table process developed by Dr. Glisson and learn more about this method of intentional dialogue that can be used in community building and in people’s daily lives. This interactive workshop will introduce the tools and techniques used by the city of New Orleans and the state of South Carolina (among others) to help communities with deep racial and historical divisions.

In 2016, Dr. Glisson and Mr. Tucker co-founded Sustainable Equity to work with communities, public institutions and businesses to foster effective historical dialogue in order to build trusting and respectful relationships. 

Bud Ferillo from the University of South Carolina's South Carolina Collaborative on Race and Reconciliation recognizes their work saying, “Susan Glisson and Charles Tucker are raising small armies across the country to unite communities and guide the hard but needed conversations about racial reconciliation."

Additionally, Mayor Landrieu for the City of New Orleans, praised their Welcome Table process which “brings people of different ethnicities and backgrounds together to build relationships, tackle the issue of race and work together on projects that will make our city better and stronger.” 

For more than 20 years, Glisson has shown how she is deeply committed and experienced in the work of transformation, truth-telling and community trust-building.

Offering years of practice-based evidence in community building, advocacy and public policy, Glisson works with organizations seeking to make the greatest collective impact in creating inclusive and humane work and social environments and to develop the capacity to form sustainable community trust. This work includes workshops, retreats, research as a basis for building networks and communities of practice to increase individual learning and collective action.

The native of Evans, Ga., earned bachelor’s degrees in religion and in history from Mercer University, a master’s degree in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary. 

Tucker works to build unity and consensus in communities, nonprofit and corporate entities. He uses his skills and experience as a facilitator and program designer. He has extensive experience in meeting facilitation, consensus building, community planning and needs analysis, social systems analysis, and creative writing to liberate community stories and gifts, bridge divisions and build community. He also offers experience in media management such as news reporting, feature and advertising copy writing, including sports reporting and writing, technical and creative writing.

He is a native of Cary, Miss., earning his Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications with a focus in print journalism from Jackson State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College. 

The College of Arts and Sciences at Ashland University inaugurated the Symposium Against Indifference in 2001 as a biennial series of events and lectures dedicated to overcoming apathy in the face of human concerns by raising awareness and promoting compassionate engagement. The Symposium seeks to challenge the University community — as well as the wider Ashland community — toward a deeper understanding of difficult issues and toward creative personal and corporate responses. Symposium themes from previous years include the Holocaust, human nature, terrorism, the promises and perils of technology, inquiry into what makes a hero, against global indifference, engaging in Latin America and the Caribbean, and environmental sustainability.

For more information about the Symposium Against Indifference, visit cas-symposium.blogspot.com or contact this year's coordinator, Dr. Dolly Crawford, at dcrawfo9@ashland.edu or 419.207.4957.

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.                                                                                ###