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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 19, 2005

UI College Of Education Celebrates Diversity Jan. 27-29

As part of its celebration of diversity this month, the University of Iowa College of Education is sponsoring the Yager Commitment to Diversity Conference Thursday, Jan. 27, through Saturday, Jan. 29, in the E.F. Lindquist Center.

The conference will include keynote addresses and professional development workshops, as well as the Martin Luther King Jr. Research Symposium. All events will be held in the Lindquist Center's Jones Commons (N300) and are free and open to the public, although registration is required.

The Yager Conference kicks off Thursday, Jan. 27, with an award ceremony recognizing recipients of the Phyllis M. Yager Commitment to Diversity Award, established in honor of Phyllis M. Yager, a friend, colleague and graduate of the UI College of Education. Yager, the wife of UI science education professor Robert Yager, devoted her career to advocating multicultural opportunities and gender-affirming activities in education through her work as a consultant at the Grant Wood Area Education Agency and in the Iowa City schools.

When Mrs. Yager died in 1991, her family and friends established the Phyllis M. Yager Education Fund through the UI Foundation to encourage the continuation of her diversity initiatives. The award honors an Iowa teacher and his/her students for contributions to increasing diversity awareness within the school or community environment and provides him or her with $1,000 for furthering diversity initiatives or in professional development.

Friday, Jan. 28, activities will begin at 9 a.m. with a keynote address by Jabari Mahiri, Ph.D., on "Challenges of Diversity in New Century Schools." Mahiri is an associate professor of education in the Language, Literacy, Society and Culture program at the University of California at Berkeley.

Mahiri's research focuses on strategies of reform in the teaching and learning of urban youth with a specific emphasis on writing development. He taught high school for seven years in the Chicago Public Schools and has supervised student teachers and mentored new teachers.

Friday will also feature the Martin Luther King Jr. Research Symposium, from noon to 1 p.m. Student research projects related to diversity -- covering such possible topics as ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and class differences -- will be displayed. Cash awards funded by Phi Delta Kappa will be presented to the top three posters.

For more information on the symposium, contact Rossina Liu at, or visit:

On Saturday, Jan. 29, Mahiri will lead a half-day professional development workshop for area teachers. The workshop will be held in Jones Commons, N300 Lindquist Center, from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration is required.

The workshop, titled "Connecting Student Writing to Youth Art and Culture," will address the needs of teachers of language arts, social studies and art as well as those teachers particularly interested in working with urban youth.

For more information on the Yager Conference, contact College of Education Associate Dean Carolyn Colvin at, or visit

The complete schedule for the conference follows:

Thursday, Jan. 27

3-4 p.m. -- Award Ceremony recognizing recipient(s) of the Phyllis M. Yager Commitment to Diversity Award, with comments from UI Provost Michael Hogan and UI College of Education Dean Sandra Damico.

4 p.m. -- Reception

7:30 p.m. -- Workshop with graduate students

Friday, Jan. 28

8:30 a.m. -- Welcoming comments

9 a.m. -- Keynote address by Jabari Mahiri, "Challenges of Diversity in New
Century Schools"

Noon -- MLK research symposium

Conference presentations throughout the day.

Saturday, Jan. 29

9 a.m. - noon -- Yager Professional Development Workshop with Jabari Mahiri for area teachers: "Connecting Student Writing to Youth Art and Culture"

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,