WMU News

WMU sponsored mentoring conference in Atlanta drews nationally-known speakers

April 8, 1999

KALAMAZOO--Two nationally known educators will be the featured speakers at the 12th annual Diversity in Mentoring Conference to take place Thursday, April 15, through Friday, April 17, in Atlanta.

Johnnetta B. Cole, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Women's Studies and African-American Studies at Emory University, will present the opening address at 7 p.m. April 15. Asa G. Hilliard, the Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education at Georgia State University, will make a luncheon presentation at noon April 16.

Cole, president emerita of Spelman College, is an expert in sociocultural anthropology and has a special interest in Afro-American, Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Two of her textbooks are used in classrooms throughout the country while her educational and community service accomplishments have earned her numerous awards, including honorary degrees from 41 colleges and universities.

In 1987, Cole became Spelman College's first African-American woman president. During her 10-year tenure, she guided the institution through the largest-ever capital campaign for a historically black college or university and to the No. 1 spot in several educational rankings published by Money and U.S. News & World Report magazines.

Cole has served on the boards of several major corporations and in 1998 was appointed by President William J. Clinton to the 11-member President's Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History. She previously served on Clinton's transition team as a cluster coordinator for education, labor, and the arts and humanities.

Hilliard has joint appointments at Georgia State in the Departments of Educational Foundations, Early Childhood Education and Counseling and Psychological Services. He has written numerous papers, articles and books on testing, ancient African history, teaching strategies, public policy, cultural style, and child growth and development and has participated in developing several national assessment systems.

In addition, Hilliard founded an annual national conference on the Infusion of African and African-American content in school curricula and co-founded the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations. He also co-developed the television series, "Free Your Mind -- Return to the Source: African Origins" and has produced videotapes and educational materials on African history.

The Diversity in Mentoring Conference will provide a forum for mentoring ideas, research and practice in fields as diverse as education, business, government, health care and human services.

Co-sponsored by the International Mentoring Association and Western Michigan University, it is expected to draw about 300 persons to Atlanta from around the world for one-day institutes, in-depth workshops and more than 50 concurrent informational sessions.

"This year's theme is 'Mentoring for the Millennium,' " said Martha B. Warfield, director of WMU's Division of Minority Affairs and one of the conference organizers.

"We chose this theme because mentoring is a valuable tool that public, private and community-based organizations can use as they meet the challenges of our increasingly global society."

The International Mentoring Association is housed at WMU and focuses on teaching and promoting effective mentoring procedures and strategies. Established in 1988, it unites a broad cross-section of individuals who support and promote planned mentoring.

For more information about the conference or to register, contact WMU's Office of Professional Programs and Conferences by phone at (616) 387-4174 or by fax at (616) 387-4189.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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