When Spider Webs Unite

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“When Spider Webs Unite…” Weaving a Legacy of Success for Black Students & Professionals at PWI's through Cross Campus Collaboration Vincent L. Briley & Lisa M. Scott, Denison University Chris Kennerly, Kenyon College 2006 OASPA / OCPA Conference Worthington, OH: 

“When Spider Webs Unite…” Weaving a Legacy of Success for Black Students & Professionals at PWI's through Cross Campus Collaboration Vincent L. Briley & Lisa M. Scott, Denison University Chris Kennerly, Kenyon College 2006 OASPA / OCPA Conference Worthington, OH


Introductions Vincent L. Briley, Director Office of Multi-Cultural Student Affairs Denison University – [email protected] Lisa M. Scott, Director Office of Affirmative Action & Diversity Programs Office of the President Denison University – [email protected] Chris Kennerly, Assistant Dean & Director Multicultural Affairs & Snowden Multicultural Center Kenyon College – [email protected]

Definition of Terms: 

Definition of Terms HBCU PWI Isolation Diversity Mentor Spiders?

An Ethiopian Proverb: 

An Ethiopian Proverb “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.”

Anansi; An Akan-Ashanti Hero: 

Anansi; An Akan-Ashanti Hero Anansi – The original Spider Man is an African cultural icon & folktale hero that traveled with the enslaved Africans throughout the world. Anansi is honored as a knowledge bearer, trickster, & story-teller.

A Call to Action: 

A Call to Action “It is extremely important that Black administrators hold positions that are in the mainstream of the university. Black administrators must be seen by Black students as professionals …. as role models as well as professionals who are in a position to take advantage of an opportunity. Black administrators and faculty members must understand that the most useful and meaningful function for Black administrators on White campuses is to become advocates for black students.” Clarence G. Williams “Role Models and Mentors for Young Black Administrators, Faculty and Students at Predominantly White Campuses” DiversityWeb 2006

Addressing Isolation of Black Professionals & Students at PWI’s: 

Addressing Isolation of Black Professionals & Students at PWI’s “Blacks still remain under represented at every level of higher education hierarchy” Dr. Manning Marable “Blacks in Higher Education: An Endangered Species?” Along The Color Line July 2002

Addressing Duality of Roles for Black A & F at PWI’s: 

Addressing Duality of Roles for Black A & F at PWI’s Often, the expectations for Black Administrators & Faculty are greater than White Administrators & Faculty at PWI’s. Expected to serve as advocates for Black & Minority students. Be a spokesperson for and researcher of diversity issues whether or not it's their field of expertise.

Models of Success on Campus: 

Models of Success on Campus DU Black Faculty Caucus / OC Nia-BFAST These organizations provide socio-cultural support for Black students, represents the interests of faculty, staff, administrators, and students, and facilitates cross-cultural development of the campus community. Serves as “Home” for Black Professionals at PWI’s

Models of Success in Central Ohio : 

Models of Success in Central Ohio The Alliance for Black Student Leadership The Alliance of Black Student Leadership is body of Black Student Unions (BSU's) and other Black Student Leaders from Otterbein College, Capital University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Kenyon College and Denison University. The Alliance for Black Student Leadership (The Alliance) works together to develop, strengthen and foster student leadership amongst African American students. Students from the various campuses come together throughout the year for social events, educational programs and networking opportunities.

Regional Models of Success: 

Regional Models of Success Great Lakes Colleges Association Incorporated Committee for Institutional Commitment to Educational Equity / GLCA-ICEE The ICEE committee, comprised of faculty & administrators from the 12 member institutions, gives direction to consortial programming and disciplinary studies, and informs and addresses the GLCA community on issues of diversity and educational equity. SOC Leadership Conference, Black Studies Conference, Best Practices in Hiring Faculty of Color.

National Models of Success: 

National Models of Success National Association of Student Affairs Professionals / NASAP NASAP, founded in 1954 on the campus of Howard University, was created to help fill a void in professional development opportunities for persons of color in student affairs during the height of segregation. Today, NASAP provides a nurturing umbrella for student affairs professionals and students at historically Black colleges and universities, as well as persons in minority affairs at traditionally White institutions.

What is Missing? : 

What is Missing? A state-wide initiative to marshal the knowledge, skills, and network of Black higher education administrators & faculty. Creation of the Ohio Consortium of Black Professionals in Higher Education. (Fall’06) Creation of List-Serv & Web Site of Multi-Cultural & Minority Affairs Directors of Ohio. (Summer/Fall’06). Establishing a State-wide Mentor / Protégé relationship between new and seasoned administrators and faculty.


Critical Components of Successful Collaboration

Thoughtfulness : 

Thoughtfulness Why does this project require a collaboration? How will this project benefit from a collaborative effort? Are their institutional benefits to this collaboration? Do I have significant, effective relationships for a collaborative effort? What kind of commitment will I need people to make? Will there be any political fallout to this collaboration? Is there a culture of collaboration at this institution?


Intentionality Can I identify like-minded committed people as partners to buy into this project? Do I have enough time to identify, contact and gain commitment from partners? Are my partners external or internal to my institution?


Independence Do I have permission to invite institutional personnel into a collaborative effort?


Resources What organizations, groups and communities are my partners connected to? What resources (monetary, in-kind, access, influential power, etc.) do my partners bring to the project?


Diversity What level of diversity does this collaboration reflect? (cross-cultural, student affairs, academic affairs, student, staff and faculty, minority/multicultural affairs, etc.?)


Imagination What does imagination have to do with all of this? Imagination: “The ability to form images and ideas in the mind, especially of things never seen or experienced directly”. For any project to come to the table, there must first be a vision. In my experience, a vision is not of what will be, but of can be. In other words possibilities. How often are we told to imagine?

Imagination (cont.): 

Imagination (cont.) How often do we higher education list imagination as a job requirement? Imagination is for artists, performers, etc. Higher Education is serious business. How much more effective would our work be if the first order of business (after introductions) either individually or collectively was to simply take some time to imagine?


Conclusion “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.”

References & Resources: 

References & Resources The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education www.jbhe.com National Association of Student Affairs Professionals www.nasap.net Retaining African Americans in Higher Education: Challenging Paradigms for Retaining Black Students, Faculty and Administrators Dr. Lee Jones (Editor)

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