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Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Launches True Colors Newsletter

Alfreda Brown
Alfreda Brown, vice president for diversity,
equity and inclusion

Kent State University’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has launched at new newsletter as a public acknowledgement of the many diversity initiatives at the university.

The semiannual newsletter is aimed at division staff, those the division collaborates with across the university and the entire Kent State community. It will also be made available to targeted individuals outside the university, so others will be aware of Kent State’s leadership in diversity and inclusive excellence.

According to Alfreda Brown, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, the inspiration for the name comes from two points of thought: “True,” as in genuine, and “Colors,” as in diversity. “When one combines the two, the meaning grounds our newsletter in the division’s core value: The authentic practice of diversity leadership,” Brown says.

True Colors will reflect the division’s deep allegiance to this institution’s diversity mission. As Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton noted in his State of the University Address, “Our commitment to diversity and inclusion knits together everything we do. In fact, intellectual and social diversity are the most fundamental building blocks of the 21st-century learning environment we are creating together.”

True Colors will celebrate our achievements, inform you of news, ideas and initiatives about which you need to know and, most importantly, show you there are others who share your own commitment to diversity; who are equally dedicated to serving our students and our institution,” Brown explains.

True Colors will be published twice a year. The university community is invited to share their stories with others through this new publication.

To view the inaugural edition of True Colors, visit

Posted July 25, 2011

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Volunteers Needed for Summer Reading Project

Summer Reading
New students will discuss the book This
I Believe: The Personal Philosophies
of Remarkable Men
  with faculty, staff or
community members on Aug. 26 during
Destination Kent State: Welcome Weekend.

The Summer Reading Program welcomes and helps connect incoming students to the Kent State community. We hope that a shared reading experience will provide common ground for our new students to share with their peers. The objectives of the Summer Reading Program are:

  • To help students get acclimated to the academic life of the university.
  • To provide students with an understanding of university values, principles and standards.
  • To build and maintain relationships that foster success with peers, faculty, staff, administrators and community members.

All new students will discuss the book with faculty, staff or community members on Aug. 26 during Destination Kent State: Welcome Weekend. The program, as a whole, will build a supportive and encouraging atmosphere that will ease the transition to university life.

The 2011 Summer Reading Book is This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman.

Faculty, staff and community members may volunteer to be discussion leaders for the program. As a volunteer, you will receive a complimentary copy of the book, discussion facilitation training and materials to assist you with your discussion.

If you teach a section of the Destination Kent State: First-Year Experience course and wish to integrate the book throughout the semester, you will find ideas and sample lesson plans on our website.

For more information about this year's summer reading book, check out

Posted July 25, 2011

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Two Kent State Students Earn Scholarships From American Library Association

Don Jason
Don Jason

Two students from the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University, Marisol Vasquez and Don Jason, have been named 2011 American Library Association’s Spectrum Scholars.

Each student received a $5,000 scholarship, along with numerous benefits in addition to the scholarship funds. Some benefits included are: access to posted information on job/internship/residency opportunities all over the country and in different types of libraries, free student admission to the ALA Annual Conference during the scholarship year, invitations to present at forums, conferences and institutes and a complementary one-year student membership to ALA, which includes a one-year subscription to American Libraries.

Vasquez, originally from Stockdale, Texas, holds a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, and a master’s in theological studies with a concentration in biblical studies from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

“After I received my master's from Notre Dame, I found myself interested in more topics than the one I originally began the program with,” Vasquez says. “I knew that my desire to learn wasn't something that a Ph.D. program in theology or religion would satisfy, as I was interested in too many different things within religion and theology. After a friend recommended I look into librarianship, I realized that by being in a library, I could continue to learn about my various interests while helping others in their own specific interests within the field of theology and religion.”

Jason, originally from Cincinnati, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University. He spent a lot of his undergraduate career in the library looking up facts and statistics for his news and broadcast articles.

Don Jason
Marisol Vasquez

“From these moments I knew that I enjoyed the research, fact-finding and fact-checking offered by libraries more than writing news articles or broadcasting news stories,” he said. “I found the organization of libraries fascinating, from the classification systems that organize the books and resources to the employees who work in the different library offices and departments.”

The highly competitive scholarship is given to around 60 minority library school students each year. The goal of the scholarship program is “to improve service at the local level through the development of a representative workforce that reflects the communities served by all libraries,” according to the ALA website.  Students submitted an online application with résumés, short answer and essay questions. Several electronic reference letters needed to be sent on behalf of the student as well.

“I feel honored,” Vasquez says. “It means a lot to be part of the American Library Association. I also felt a little relief.  I worked full-time while getting my undergraduate degree and I remember how hard it was to balance work and school; having a little less to worry about financially can really improve a person's progress and success.”

Jason said this award was special to him because he has a desire to go into health sciences librarianship.

“I worked as a medical records clerk for a community clinic owned by the University of Cincinnati before going off to undergrad at Ohio University,” he says. “I am also participating in a summer fellowship with the National Library of Medicine (NLM). I am in their Specialized Information Systems department doing outreach to Native American populations, as well as analyzing data for a presentation and project aimed at determining how well health care professionals understand and use NLM databases and electronic resources, and how this affects patient care.”

After completing a master’s in library and information science Vasquez says she would like to pursue a career as a librarian in a religious or theological library here in the U.S. or abroad. Jason says he would like to stay at Kent State to pursue a Ph.D. in health communication in the College of Communication and Information.

“I would love to continue to enrich my knowledge and end up at an academic research library where I can work as a faculty member and a subject librarian for the health sciences,” he says. “I foresee a bright academic future filled with research, conferences, article and book publications, as well as countless opportunities to give back and instill my passion for education and learning in future generations of scholars. I am proud to say that this dream was formulated and has begun to unfold at Kent State University.”

Don A. Wicks, Ph.D., associate professor and interim director of the School of Library and Information Science , says, “We’re delighted to count two ALA Spectrum Scholars among our student body this year. It’s quite an honor – for the students and the school. Don already has shown a great deal of talent and promise in the short time he’s been enrolled here. Marisol is just getting started, and we look forward to her involvement as a graduate assistant with the Center for the Study of Information and Religion at the school, as that closely aligns with her interests.”

Posted July 25, 2011 | Nicole Gennarelli

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