Speakers

Plenary Speaker:
Dr. Devonya N. Havis

Devonya Havis is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. She earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Boston College and her B.A. in Religion from Williams College. Her scholarly engagements utilize insights from Michel Foucault as a means of exploring issues in Critical Philosophy of Race, Critical Disability Studies, and Phenomenology. Her publications include: “‘Now, How You Sound’: Considering a Different Philosophical Praxis” in Hypatia; “Managing Individuals and Populations through Psychiatric Classification” in the Bloomsbury Companion to the Philosophy of Psychiatry; “Blackness Beyond Witness” in Philosophy and Social Criticism, and “‘Seeing Black’ through Michel Foucault’s Eyes: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws as An Anchorage Point for State-Sponsored Racism,” a chapter in the anthology, Pursuing Trayvon Martin: Historical Contexts and Contemporary Manifestations of Racial Dynamics; and she is a contributor to Addressing Ableism: Philosophical Questions via Disability Studies. Havis has a forthcoming book, Creating a Black Vernacular Philosophy. She teaches to promote social justice, an interest that is especially evident in the Immersion East Side (Buffalo, NY) Ignatian Seminar that she has co-designed and co-directed for the last six years. The immersion is designed to engage students in the unique rites, rituals, cultural practices, and refusals of Buffalo’s East Side residents who operate in the context of numerous structural, social, and political impediments. The seminar not only explores these realities but also celebrates the historical Black capacity to “create” even in the midst of a desert. Havis serves on the Partnership for the Public Good board of directors and is a member of the Prison Visiting Project Western New York Auxiliary. 

Plenary Speaker:
Dr. Badia Ahad, Associate Professor in the Department of English at Loyola University Chicago

Re-Thinking Mentoring: Building Communities of Inclusion, Support, & Accountability
This workshop is designed to start a new type of discussion about mentoring by describing the common problems that pre-tenure and post-tenure faculty members experience and why traditional mentoring programs fail to meet those needs. We propose an alternative framework for mentoring that focuses on needs assessment and shifts the idea of mentoring from a relationship between two faculty members towards building a broad network of support, community, and accountability. The workshop concludes with a presentation of best practices in mentoring pre-tenure, under-represented and mid-career faculty. 


Keynote Speaker
Dr. Amer Ahmed

Dr. Amer F. Ahmed is an organizational strategist who helps institutions and leaders address diversity and inclusion, equity, race, and intercultural development through consulting, coaching, group facilitation, and keynote speeches. A frequently requested speaker nationwide, Dr. Ahmed’s approach is grounded in social justice and commitment to community. He brings his identity as the son of Indian Muslim immigrants and extensive years as an intercultural and diversity consultant as the sources of a pivotal understanding of the depth of diversity and inclusion work. Throughout his career, Dr. Ahmed has worked with large organizations, higher education institutions, non-profit agencies, schools and community groups to create understanding and change among key constituents and institutional leaders.

His thought leadership and keen sense of the latest trends informs his approaches to helping groups address potential areas of opportunity to grow and develop. Dr. Ahmed incorporates deep theoretical knowledge of the field combined with a variety of methods including storytelling, discourse on current events and connections to art and music in order to move audiences to profound awareness of issues and next steps. He has published key opinion pieces and has been featured in media such as MSNBC, documentary film, and other national press outlets for his commentary and critical perspective on news and significant topics in society.

Dr. Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of AFA Diversity Consulting, LLC, a consulting practice dedicated to enhancing the development of organizations through efforts around leadership, professional development, assessment, and strategic change. In addition to his consulting work, Dr. Ahmed serves as Director of Intercultural Teaching and Faculty Development at University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Faculty at the Summer and Winter Institutes for Intercultural Communication, and is a member of SpeakOut: Institute for Democratic Education.