8th Annual Black History Month Research Symposium coming Feb. 16

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Photo courtesy of Oakland University

Professor Tiffany Steele, the keynote speaker of the 8th annual Black History Month Research Symposium.

Grace Lovins, Senior Reporter

The 8th annual Black History Month Research Symposium will take place Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 4:30 p.m. The symposium will be held over Zoom and features a presentation from keynote speaker, Tiffany Steele, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership.

This year’s symposium is sponsored by the School of Education and Human Services (SEHS) Black Faculty Network, the Oakland University Black Faculty Association, and the Diverse Voices Initiative.

President of the Oakland University Black Faculty Association and professor of Human Resources Development, Chaunda L. Scott, Ed.D., began the symposium in 2015 as a way to celebrate Black History Month within the SEHS. Scott noticed that there were not a lot of campus events dedicated to Black History Month and felt the research symposium would provide a great opportunity for Black faculty to present their research.

“Our goal, especially my goal as the president of the Black Faculty Association, is to increase the visibility of Black faculty at Oakland University,” Scott said.

“We have a very small group of people — about 35 faculty — so most of the time we don’t even get to see each other because everyone works in different colleges. Our goal is to increase the visibility of Black faculty because they’re doing phenomenal things but usually, you don’t see Black faculty on the homepage of Oakland University, you don’t hear what they’re doing, so my goal as president is to try to increase the visibility of my group.”

As the creator of the symposium, Scott hoped to create a platform to showcase the work of Black faculty and faculty conducting research that was Black or African American centered. The presentations within the symposium extend beyond the SEHS and aim to feature faculty from all across campus.

“I’m happy to highlight faculty that are doing African American or Black focused research, and since we’re colleagues together, it’s nice that we can hear what each other is doing because most of the time we go to our own professional conferences but we don’t really share it in a format at OU,” Scott said.

“I’m really happy to learn more about what my colleagues are doing in their research and give an opportunity for them to share it more broadly at OU.”

This year’s keynote speaker, Tiffany Steele, will give a presentation reflecting on her research studying Black women and girls in the aspect of education while unpacking the difference between doing research on or about a population versus doing research with a specific population from a critical perspective.

She aims to normalize conversations surrounding Black women and girls in their educational journeys as well as dispel myths surrounding the success of Black women and what it takes for them to be successful. Steele also hopes attendees are able to learn from an aspect of being intentional with research — thinking about how the research being conducted is going to serve the people the researcher is studying.

Steele says she is looking forward to being able to have a platform to engage in conversations surrounding her research as well as having the opportunity to share that research with an audience outside of her field.

“I’m excited to step outside the bounds of my department in the School of Education and Human Services to the border Oakland community,” Steele said.

“I know that everybody doesn’t have that opportunity and everybody doesn’t know what every faculty member is engaging in or studying, so I’m excited about being able to share a little bit of my own thoughts or my approach to research and seeing what folks think about it.”

For more information or the Zoom link to the symposium, any interested students, staff and faculty can contact Scott via email. For those unable to attend, the symposium will be recorded and can also be accessed through Scott. More information about Steele’s research and published works can be found on Google Scholar.