One America Community Efforts
Little Bar

Program: Cultural Diversity Reading Program, Columbus, OH
Contact(s): Dr. Joanne Vickers, Campus Diversity Coordinator: (614) 251-4632
Purpose: To educate students about the experiences of America's ethnic minorities

Background Program Operations Outcomes


Following Ohio Dominican College's selection as one of 10 nationally recognized colleges to receive a one-year grant from the Lilly Foundation to promote diversity on its campus, school administrators created the Cultural Diversity Reading Program in 1992. The program initially focused on black authors, but later expanded to include all American ethnic minorities. Realizing the program's value, the college decided to continue this project after grant monies expired. The program is designed to make Ohio Dominican College an institution where diversity is integral to the academic curriculum.

Program Operations

In early spring, a suggested reading list of novels written by African American, Latino, American Indian and Asian American authors is gathered from students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Reading groups of approximately 5-6 people divide this list up among themselves, read intensively over the summer, and then identify one book written by a minority author that will provoke thought and invite conversation within the college community. The chosen text is then studied in a variety of courses on campus, in seminars and in workshops held for faculty and staff throughout the year. Departments such as social science, history and economics have incorporated the text in their curricula. To culminate the study of each respective book, the author is invited to the campus to address the entire academic community as well as guests from the local community. Tickets are free to these events, which are advertised widely in various newspapers and through direct invitation.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Hundreds of people from the outside community have obtained tickets to hear the authors and scholars discuss the chosen books. The Cultural Diversity Reading Program has been incorporated into nine of the college's departments. Past speakers have included such esteemed authors as Maya Angelou, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Anchee Min. The program has been featured in Scene Magazine, a campus publication, as well as in the local newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch.

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