SAB’s Final Word lecture series to explore diversity

When Sarah Jones, director of engaging issues for the UK Student Activities Board, attended a training session for FUSION, she did not expect to do some self-examination. However, she had never met Judy “JJ” Jackson, UK’s Vice President for Institutional Diversity. Jackson facilitated FUSION training, and spoke to leaders about diversity. “Diversity can tend to have a negative connotation,” said Jones. “She made us think about its impact on our lives”.

That is precisely why Jones chose Jackson to appear in SAB’s Final Word lecture series, which allows UK faculty and staff to share advice and experience about some of the many facets of life. Jackson will again focus on social change through diversity, and SAB hopes that she impacts all students the way she impacted Jones. “We want something inspiring,” said Vanessa Omeokachie, a SAB committee chair for engaging issues. “We want people to not just say [diversity], but to incorporate it into their everyday lives”.

Jackson became UK’s first Vice President for Institutional Diversity on July 1, 2008. She advises President Capilouto on all academic, fiscal and administrative policy decisions regarding the university’s diversity goals and on active community involvement around diversity issues. She is responsible for promoting collaboration among faculty, staff, administration and students for UK’s diversity goals. She also holds a tenured associate professorship in the College of Education.

In other words, Jackson is no stranger to the issue of diversity.

“She is a very prominent person on campus,” said Omeokachie. “UK is not as diverse as we should be…we’re hoping she will help us understand what it means to be diverse”.

The Final Word lecture series will be in the William T. Young auditorium at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19.

With John Legend coming to campus in October, SAB wants Jackson’s speech to catalyze a period of social change through diversity, and how it affects lives our leadership. “We want students to walk away with a renewal,” said Jones. “I hope they walk out of there with a real sense of how [diversity] impacts our lives and our ability to lead”.

Omeokachie realizes that diversity can be an uncomfortable issue, but that is a good thing. “I want [students] to leave more informed. To be diverse you have to be able to explore beyond your comfort zone.” she said.