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JMU 2021 Diversity Conference

Transforming Community Through

Social Justice, Diversity and Inclusion

March 15-18 with multiple virtual sessions

Registration is now open for the Diversity Conference. Please register today for your preferred sessions. We look forward to welcoming you.

Register Now

Registration closes Thursday, March 11th at 8:00 a.m.

Conference Schedule

Monday, March 15th  

12:15 - 1:30 p.m.  Lunch Panel - Diversity Dialogue with New Campus Leaders

2:15 - 3:30 p.m.  Multiple Sessions

Tuesday, March 16th

10:00 - 11:15 a.m.  Multiple Sessions

12:15 - 1:30 p.m.  Lunch Panel - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leaders Roundtable

2:15-3:30 p.m.  Multiple Sessions

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.  Special Session - Providing Excellent Health Care Regardless of the Times

Wednesday, March 17th

10:00 - 11:15 a.m.  Multiple Sessions

12:00 – 1:30 p.m  Conference Core

  • Welcome and Remarks - President Jonathan Alger
  • Keynote and Q & A - Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Recognition of Awards  

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.  Special Session - From Theory to Practice: Facilitating a movement, fostering a CollectiveJMU's Task Force on Racial Equity

Thursday, March 18th

10:00 - 11:15 p.m.  Multiple Sessions

12:15 - 1:30 p.m.  Lunch Panel - Task Force on Racial Equity Working Group Conversation: Sharing ideas, perspectives and recommendations that will lead to sustained change and tranformation within our community

2:15 - 3:30 p.m.  Multiple Sessions                                    

Keynote Speaker

photo of Dr. UnderwoodThe JMU Diversity Conference is pleased to welcome Dr. Janice Underwood as our 2021 keynote speaker. Dr. Janice Underwood, who strongly believes in servant leadership and culturally relevant reform, was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first cabinet-level Chief Diversity Officer (CDO).  This position is also the first of its kind in the nation. As the Commonwealth’s CDO, she is committed to addressing racial, ethnic, disability, gender-based, and other cultural inequities in formal and informal policies and practices in Virginia state government. As a result, Dr. Underwood is working tirelessly to build the ONE Virginia statewide strategic plan for Inclusive Excellence across over 100 state agencies and with other public and private sectors.  In her short tenure, she has been named one of “20 Women of Change” in 2020 by the Virginia Museum of History and Culture for the accomplishments and impact she has already had on the Commonwealth.   Her goal is to make Virginia an exemplar for the nation, regarding diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence.  

Prior to her appointment, Dr. Underwood served as Old Dominion University’s Director of Diversity Initiatives and as the chair of the President’s Task Force on Inclusive Excellence. She previously served as the Executive Director and Co-Principal Investigator for the Old Dominion University Teacher in Residence master’s program.  Dr. Underwood also served for a number of years as a national board certified teacher for students with exceptionalities in Hampton City Schools. During her time as a classroom teacher, she served for two terms on the Virginia Advisory Board for Teacher Education and Licensure (ABTEL).  As a national expert in the cultural contexts of public education, change management and leadership, and professional development/training, Dr. Underwood works to make the public and private sectors more culturally relevant. In doing so, she prepares professionals from a myriad of fields to meet the demands of working in diverse environments and address difficult truths, such as the school to prison pipeline, the lack of diversity in the workforce, and systemic and institutional bias.

She earned her Bachelor’s (1998) and Master’s (2002) degrees from Hampton University in Psychology and Behavior/Learning Disorders, respectively.  In 2015, she earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Old Dominion University, where her research focused on culturally relevant pedagogy. She is happily married to Min. Johnnie Underwood and together they have two daughters, Jayla and Jordan.

Non-JMU Guests

Please register using the provided registration link on this page. You will be prompted to register as a guest on the registration form.

CEUs are available for non-JMU conference participants. Attend any 5 sessions and earn 0.6 contact hours. There is a $25 certificate processing fee payable to JMU. JMU will follow up with you regarding CEUs and payment. Please sign up for CEUs at registration or contact Beth Nelsen for more information.

Register Now

Registration Closes Thursday, March 11th at 8:00 a.m.

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