Blake Wood
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The University of Illinois Springfield will host six Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series events during Fall Semester 2023. The series presents events that promote and adhere to the value of engaged citizenship, cultural awareness and respect for diversity.

ECCE events that are free and open to the public include:

  • “A Public Commons” at 6 p.m. Sept. 13 in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of the library. Mike Miller and Brian Gillis will engage in a presentation and discussion that explores their art practice and “A Public Commons,” a project where the UIS Visual Arts Gallery is transformed into a replica of the1970’s era non-hierarchical classrooms employed by Sangamon State University. This “classroom” space will host discussion and/or mediation sessions that bring together crucial community stakeholders connected to social issues and employ a variety of mediation and communication methodologies, models and strategies to facilitate productive discussions in a neutral, safe space.
  • “Autism in the Workplace: How Leaders Create an Inclusive and Supportive Environment” at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of the library. Jonathan Pierce, Ph.D., assistant director of international recruitment at UIS, will draw the audience’s attention to the field of autism as it relates to employment-based support and accommodations. With a supposed “autism tsunami” in the years to come in which organizations will likely see a significant increase of applicants or employees who are on the spectrum, leaders need to prepare their organizations for it, at all levels. Participants will learn about the research Pierce conducted with a company in the Chicago area that hires and supports employees with high-functioning autism.
  • “Beyond Enrollment: Championing Success for First-Generation Students in Higher Education” at 6 p.m. on Oct. 11 in the UIS Student Union Ballroom. Tamam Waritu, a first-generation graduate and a national student trainer dedicated to empowering first-generation low-income students, will highlight compelling reasons why the higher education sector should urgently address first-generation disparities. Data shows that low-income first-generation students continue to face starkly different educational and career outcomes compared to their high-income continuing-generation peers.
  • “Embracing Your Narrative and the Social Responsibility of Respecting Others” at 6 p.m. Oct. 25 in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of the library. Cassandra LeClair, an award-winning professor, author, motivational speaker and sexual assault survivor, will share her inspiring story of overcoming trauma. Participants will be encouraged to explore their emotional past, explore relational patterns, release negative experiences and build resilience so they can communicate authentically and create healthier relationships personally and professionally.
  • “The Navy Censored My Book! Modern Day Book Bans and the Ongoing Fight for Intellectual Freedom” at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of the library. Jason Pierceson, professor in the UIS School of Politics and International Affairs, and Emily Knox, associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will host the lecture and discussion. Pierceson is a leading scholar on LGBTQ rights. His book, “Sexual Minorities and Politics,” is the first textbook to provide a comprehensive overview of the historical, political and legal status of sexual and gender minorities. For this reason, the book was placed on the Navy’s Professional Reading List in 2021. However, the Navy removed “Sexual Minorities” from the list in 2022, along with other books about race and gender. Knox is an expert on intellectual freedom and is the author of “Book Banning in 21st Century America,” which explores the reasons why people attempt to censor books in schools and public libraries. Together, they will explore the impetus behind and implications of the Navy’s removal of “Sexual Minorities” and other titles from its reading list in 2022.
  • “Working Toward Systemic Equity with Courageous Vulnerability” at 6 p.m. Nov. 29in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of the library. This Sustainability Week Keynote Lecture by Joe F. Bozeman III, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Tech, will explain the Systemic Equity Framework. There has been renewed interest in progressing the cause of justice and equity in recent years. However, producing tangible results in this regard is especially challenging without an effective strategy and a firm conceptual foundation. He will explain how the framework can be applied in civil and environmental engineering research for transdisciplinary effect (e.g., food-energy-water, life cycle assessment and public policy applications), and provide tips on how to be courageously vulnerable to realize equitable outcomes.

For more information on the events, visit the ECCE Speaker Series website.

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