The Diversity Council of Kean University is an outgrowth of "Diversity 2000: Living in the 21st Century," a conference held in Spring 1990 to explore the impact of diversity and to establish a Kean College-based advisory board as a resource. Co-chaired by Dr. Catherine Dorsey-Gaines, then Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Joseph J. Preil, then director of the Kean Holocaust Resource Center and Professor of Education, the conference presented nationally recognized authorities on multicultural education including: Dr. James Banks, Professor of Social Studies, University of Washington; Dr. Samuel Betances, Professor of Sociology at Northeast Illinois University; and Dr. Frances Sonnenschein, Director of the Anti-Defamation League National Education Department.
In response to many requests, a 2-day conference was held in spring 1992 for teams of teachers, principals, supervisors, and central office administrators who could serve as change agents when they returned to their districts. The first session featured urban and suburban superintendents defining the issues which confront their districts in teaching for diversity. The keynote speaker at the second session was Dr. Vinetta Jones, Equity 2000 National Director for the College Board.
The Diversity Council of Kean University was then established with an initial membership of 14 school districts.
The main objective of the Diversity Council of Kean University is to help school administrators, teachers, and students experience success in living and working together as we all endeavor to create a harmonious and effective American society.
This is based on the conclusion of Gordon W. Allport in his classic, The Nature of Prejudice, where he states:
To be maximally effective, contact and acquaintance programs should lead to a sense of equality in social status, should occur in ordinary purposeful pursuits, avoid artificiality, and if possible enjoy the sanction of the community in which they occur ... While it may be somewhat beneficial to place members of different ethnic groups side by side on the job, the gain is greater if these members regard themselves as part of a team.
In fall 1997, the Diversity Council began its fifth organizational year under the sponsorship of the Kean University College of Education. To date, it has attracted more than 60 dues-paying districts as members of the Council. The member districts represent the total fabric of American and New Jersey society -- urban, suburban, rural. Districts are represented by an unusually committed and capable group of educational leaders. An average of sixty representatives from public and private schools throughout New Jersey attend each Council meeting.
The Diversity Council is a Professional Development Provider.