Top Takeaways from the Summit

Explore key insights from the 11th Annual Summit on Transforming Learning and find out how you can help continue the dialogue around advancing racial justice at Rollins and beyond.

Fresh off its NPDA Novice National Championship, the Rollins Debate Team kicked off the Summit with a debate over whether American colleges and universities should prefer freedom of speech over racially sensitive speech. (Photo by Scott Cook) Fresh off its NPDA Novice National Championship, the Rollins Debate Team kicked off the Summit with a debate over whether American colleges and universities should prefer freedom of speech over racially sensitive speech. (Photo by Scott Cook)

On March 17 – 18, Rollins students, faculty, staff, and administrators came together for the 11th Annual Summit on Transforming Learning. Through a series of more than two dozen events that ranged from a debate to an address from President Grant Cornwell, the community explored the topic of advancing racial justice at Rollins and beyond. Rollins360 recently reached out to representatives from across campus to get their top takeaways from the event, explore ways to continue the conversation, and find out where the College goes next.

“What is clear to me from the depth of the program to the level of engagement throughout the day is that Rollins is collectively committed to becoming a more inclusive community of learners. We have work to do—work that will be challenging, disruptive in some ways of norms and practices with which we have become comfortable, and which will never be done. But the integrity of our mission requires us to embrace this work. I felt throughout the day that Rollins is collectively committed to the endeavor.”

Grant Cornwell
President, Rollins College

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“As big as the issue of racial diversity is, the majority of the work will not be done in huge manifestations, but in small groups working together on small details. I am encouraged as the Summit proved the workers are many and they are willing.”

Holly Tannyhill ’14
VOICE Coordinator, Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning

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“Racial and ethnic issues do play a nontrivial role in our shared learning experience at Rollins. We will serve our community and ourselves better if we choose to be intentional about creating meaningful connections with those who do not look like us.”

Emmanuel Kodzi
Assistant Professor of Business

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“We’re a campus that is ready to engage in this conversation around racial equity and inclusion seriously. And we have people at all levels of the institution ready to engage in the conversation—everyone from the president to administrators to faculty to students to members of the community to alumni. This day and the response to this day showed institutional commitment.”

Mamta Accapadi
Vice President for Student Affairs.

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“Intentional. With a strong outcry for social justice in our society and individuals of color still trying to break through the class ceiling, it was evident that we have an intentional leader serving in the role of president of Rollins College. He led a clear charge in his willingness to rewrite the history of Rollins to create a much more diverse and inclusive community. It’s as though he took a page out of Winston Churchill’s playbook: ‘History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.’”

Jackie Brito
Assistant Dean, Admissions and Marketing
Crummer Graduate School of Business

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“If I were to have one takeaway from the entire day, it’s that we have a lot of work ahead of us as an institution, but there’s such a commitment and passion here at Rollins that I think we have the tools to work collaboratively to see our goals achieved.”

Faye Tydlaska
Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing

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“My biggest takeaway was the sense of hope and enthusiasm from the community about moving forward as an institution in this direction. I think our community is really primed and ready based on the campus climate survey results as well as the energy and conversations in the room that day.”

Oriana Jimenez
Title IX Coordinator

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“During the admissions presentation, I was struck that we’ve come a long way from the 1980s when there was only 5 percent students of color at Rollins. But, I’ve also learned throughout the panels on Friday that we have a long way to go to get to where we want to be. The discussion was encouraging because it was about what we can do to be better. I’m optimistic.”

Gabriel Barreneche
Professor of Spanish
Interim Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences

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“My greatest takeaway from the summit was that Rollins is now ready to have a conversation about diversity on our campus—a real rich conversation about diversity. And I think the Summit highlighted many aspects of diversity and many people who have interest in diversity—staff, students, professors, administrators. My feeling from the whole thing is that it was all positive and people felt inspired by it. A lot of times when you have these campus-wide conversations on what can turn out to be a controversial topic like diversity or race or sexual orientation you can quickly get into a conversation that turns negative really fast. But ours stayed positive and inspirational and I think everyone is looking forward to the possibilities.”

Eric Smaw
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Forensics and Debate

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“I have never been so hopeful. The reason being is that we have a groundswell of interest and we have institutional leadership and buy in. And leaders who are deeply committed to our mission and recognize that we can’t fully actualize our mission without moving diversity and inclusion from the periphery to the center. So I’ve never been so hopeful. I think there have been incredible pioneers in different spaces and corners, but now we have the bottom up and top down.”

Micki Myer
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs – Community

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Contribute to the Conversation

The Summit was designed to facilitate a campus-wide dialogue around diversity and advancing racial justice, so we want to hear from you, too. What were your key takeaways from the Summit? How do think the College can promote diversity and advance racial justice at Rollins?

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Continue the Conversation

The 11th Annual Summit on Transforming Learning was just the beginning of the dialogue around advancing racial justice at Rollins. The conversation will continue with a series of three Summit and Beyond workshops and sessions, which will take place in April and will be designed to help advance dialogues, research, learning, action, and connections on our campus.

Connecting the Dots: From Latin America to Rollins
Presenters: Rosana Díaz-Zambrana, associate professor of Spanish, and students
Friday, April 1, 1 p.m.
Olin Room 230 (Bib Lab)
Learn More

Bias Incident Response Team: From Creation to Integration
Presenters: Oriana Jiménez, Title IX coordinator, and Abby Hollern, director of Center for Inclusion & Campus Involvement
Friday, April 15, 1 p.m.
Faculty Club
Learn More

White and In The Fight? Exploring White Identity and Allyship
Presenters: Marissa Corrente, associate director of Center for Leadership & Community Engagement; Abby Hollern, director of Center for Inclusion & Campus Involvement; Trish Moser, special projects, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs; Kathryn Norsworthy, professor of graduate studies in counseling; Meghan Harte Weyant, dean of students
Friday, April 22, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Bieberbach Reed
Learn More