UW-W in the Bahamas

Representatives from SDES and COEPS attend urban education conference


Shannan Lojeski, Assistant News Editor

A global gathering of over 500 participants attended the International Conference on Urban Education (ICUE) in Nassau, Bahamas Nov. 8-10. A group of 10 faculty members, staff and students represented UW-Whitewater.

One of the 10 representatives, Assistant Vice Chancellor of the Office of Student Diversity, Engagement & Success (SDES) LaVar Charleston presented at the ICUE and was enthusiastic about the mission of the event.

“I am honored that our work is being exposed and used on a regional, national and international scale to help K-16 faculty, staff, students and other concerned citizens engage historically marginalized students in activities that facilitate out of classroom learning, meaningful interactions and opportunities for substantive feedback,” said Charleston.

Charleston’s presentation on his urban education research encouraged UW-W student participant and senior Michael Lozano to pursue higher education.

“I met a lot of great people who inspired me to get my Ph.D., but the one who really inspired me was Dr. Charleston. I realized that a lot of the factors that hindered his success are also things that I went through growing up,” said Lozano.

“Watching Dr. Charleston present really motivated me to want to be in his shoes one day. He’s really inspired a lot of people and I would like to do the same one day.”

The third biennial ICUE conference was led by the Urban Education Collaborative in the College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Throughout the solution based conference, participants were offered a number of sessions in multiple fields of study, including business development and economics, counseling, physical health and wellness, social justice and advocacy and social work.

The theme of the conference was “Building and Sustaining Global Partnerships for Learning and Development.”

Ozalle M. Toms, associate professor and director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives for College of Education and Professional Studies (COEPS) presented her research on the diversity related professional development needs of pre-service teachers and supporting urban foster youth.

Toms stressed the importance of research for all participants at the ICUE and encouraged student’s participation in the conference in years to come.

“I hope other students are able to attend in 2020, not only as participants but as presenters as well. Our students are doing some strong research and it must be shared,” Toms said.