The swimming teacher was standing on the edge of the pool, teaching five- and six-year-olds. But, while the kids were in the water, the teacher wasn’t.
“Teaching swimming without getting in the environment seems counter-intuitive to me,” said Noma Anderson, special adviser to the system-wide UT president for diversity and inclusion.
Getting in the water is an apt metaphor for what UTC and other universities must do if they are going to have the “courageous conversations” needed to address diversity and inclusion issues on their campuses, Anderson said during her keynote speech at the second annual MOC (Moving Our Campus) Forward conference, which focused on diversity and inclusion efforts in higher education and at UTC.
The daylong conference, held Tuesday, Oct. 16, featured 24 presentations or panel discussions on the theme of “Communities and Conversations on the Path to Inclusive Excellence.”
During his remarks at the conference, UTC Chancellor Steve Angle noted that “diversity and inclusion are at the heart of who we are as an institution and at the heart of what we do.
“We still have work to do and efforts like this conference and your participation in it demonstrate our shared commitment that we are serious about diversity and inclusion. Together we will figure out what needs to be done,” he said.
Anderson—wearing a T-shirt that said “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”—said that diving into the sometimes-painful discussions of diversity and inclusion “is crucial to the success.”
“And when I say ‘wet,’ I mean fully immersed, not just feet-in-the-water wet,” she continued. “Anything less allows us to feel good and stay comfortable, but does little to produce desired outcomes.”