Professor Kim Morse promotes diversity seminars

Robert Burkett

Students and faculty will be presented with the opportunity to learn more about diversity at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 in Morgan Hall, room 270.

The seminar will be the first in a series of forums on the various facets of diversity from a local and a national perspective. The seminar will focus on the diversity of religion in the United States and the perspective of how it affects students and faculty at Washburn.

“The intent behind the seminar on diversity of religion is to speak about and debate the theory versus the lived reality of religion in our country and our world today,” said Kim Morse, assistant professor in the history department. The seminar will also highlight the trend in the changing face of the U.S. population demographics and how it will affect student and faculty perspective on the impact of religion in the future.

Morse, who has been involved with the evolution of the diversity series of seminars since its inception, has gathered a variety of speakers from across the spectrum of religious perspectives for the event. They include chaplain (Col.)Don Davidson of the Kansas National Guard, who has experienced religious diversity both at home as well as abroad on his various tours of duty. Also speaking will be Barakat Makrami, assistant director for the Muslim Society of Lawrence and Mark Kaufman, associate professor in the department of social work who is a member of the temple Beth Sholom. Kaufman is a practitioner of Reform Judaism.

“I’ll be spending equal time on both the idea of religious diversity from a sociological and psychological standpoint, as well as from a perspective as a member of the Judaic community,” said Kaufman.

Kaufman emphasized the extent to which Washburn has helped create more acceptance of diversity in general by hosting various voluntary religious events on campus, as well as course inclusion where appropriate, and being supportive of student spiritual organizations.

“I feel that Washburn as a secular public university has made a strong effort to allow the access of ideas of diversity of religion as well as diversity in general on campus,” said Kaufman.

The seminar will be open to the public. After the panelists speak, there will be time for questions from the audience.