ListenLearnEngage Initiative Past Events

Spring into Service! A Day of Community Building and Celebration April 1, 2022

On April 1st we partnered with the Office of Student Affairs to bring together 50 Shepherd students and employees to build a stronger community together through service and celebration. Our ram team worked at service sites on campus, around the town of Shepherdstown, and along the C&O canal in the delightful spring hail. The teams then returned to campus for a community celebration. This “Spring into Service” event was the launch of the Shepherd University Service Series, which will be a series throughout the year dedicated to strengthening our community through service. Read more about the event in this article by The Journal.

Empowering Community Through Reading March 2022

The ListenLearnEngage Initiative was part of a collaborative reading initiative in Jefferson County titled “Empowering Community Through Reading.” This initiative aimed to bring Shepherd University students, community partners, and resources together to address the education gap created by the COVID-19 pandemic by deepening their understanding of the education gap, recognizing those who are local leaders in literacy, and working directly with students to help them get reading ready.

This project was the first Challenge Grant initiative offered through the Shepherd University Office for Diversity and Equity, which brought together students and the community to work collaboratively to address the immediate needs of at-risk populations.

The following events were created in partnership between Shepherd University’s School of Education, Office for Diversity and Equity, Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, and WISE Empowerment student leaders; The Shepherd University President’s Club; Jefferson County Schools; The Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communication’s ListenLearnEngage Initiative; Jefferson Security Bank; and Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

Kick-off event – March 10, 2022

The project team along with guest speaker Ronald Jones honored Jefferson County Magistrate Arthena Roper and Wright Denny Elementary School third-grader Anye’ Polite for their accomplishments in education and literacy leadership. In addition to a variety of creative literacy-inspired presentations, the project team also introduced this reading initiative which aimed to empower 601 second-graders and support the development of educators and future teachers.

Roper, the first African-American to take the judicial bench as a magistrate in Jefferson County, has worked to advance literacy and equity goals in West Virginia and Jefferson Country over the past 30 years through her roles in WVU Extension Services, Jefferson County Schools, the Jefferson County Board of Education, and as Founder of the 44 College Ready Foundation, Inc. Roper was recognized for her leadership in the community and as the first African-American woman in Jefferson County to publish a children’s book.

Anye’ Polite was recognized and celebrated for reading more than 100 books in the spring and summer of 2021. Anye’ received a signed copy of a set of Arthena Roper’s books and read a selection from her favorite book to commemorate the event’s theme.

Homage Exhibit on African American History and Culture – March 21, 2022

Through literacy, imagery, and artifacts, The Homage Exhibit opens the door to the African-American experience in the United States from the time of Slavery to the election of Barack Obama. Highlights of the collection include slave transport collars, slave bills of sale, entertainment, legal papers documenting the horrors of the slave trade and original documents drawing attention to key figures such as Booker T. Washington, B.K. Blanche, Frederick Douglas and various artifacts from moments in the civil rights movement. For more about this exhibit, which was open to the public, check out the Homage website.

Virtual workshop on “Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Reading Readiness” – March 21

This workshop used the Homage Exhibit to connect the importance of cultural literacy to the work of closing the education gap. This program was provided for Jefferson County educators and Shepherd University education students, as well as for all community volunteers who facilitated the second-grade reading workshops created by this initiative.

Homage Exhibit on Black Women in American Culture and History – March 22, 2022

This public exhibit opened the door through literacy, imagery, and artifacts to the Black experience in the United States from the viewpoint of Black women. Featuring original artifacts and documents ranging from the era of Slavery to the election of Kamala Harris. Highlights of the collection included a slave transport collar, entertainment artifacts, legal papers and original documents drawing attention to key figures such as Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis, Madam CJ Walker & more.

Reading Workshops for Jefferson County Second-Grade Students– March 28-April 1, 2022

Throughout this week, volunteers from community partners facilitated reading readiness workshops for Jefferson-County second-grade students.

Leadership, Power, and Equity Virtual Workshop with Tony Porter– February 9, 2022

Call to Men’s Chief Executive Officer Tony Porter guided 130 participants through a transformative training that deconstructed how we’ve been taught to view gender and race and positioned participants to understand and re-evaluate power structures, develop their skills as courageous leaders, and rise toward real equity and safety for all.

Tony Porter is an author, educator and activist working to advance gender and racial justice and create a more equitable society. As the chief executive officer of A Call to Men™, Tony is internationally recognized for his efforts to prevent violence against women while promoting a healthy, respectful manhood. He is a leading voice on issues of manhood, male socialization,

and preventing violence against all women and girls. Tony’s 2010 TED Talk has been named by GQ Magazine as one of the “Top 10 TED Talks Every Man Should See.”

Tony is an adviser to the National Football League, providing policy consultation, working extensively with player engagement, and facilitating violence prevention and healthy manhood training. He has also provided training to the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball.

He is an international lecturer for the U.S. State Department, having extensive global experience including Brazil, India and Africa, and has been a guest presenter to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Tony has worked with the United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He has served as a script consultant for the Emmy Award-winning television series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Tony is the author of “Breaking Out of the Man Box™” and the visionary for “NFL Dads: Dedicated to Daughters.”

Student Leadership Conference: Re-envisioning Leadership for a Better World– February 5th, 2022

The ListenLearnEngage Initiative partnered with Shepherd University’s Office of Leadership and Student Groups to host the 34th annual Student Leadership Conference at Shepherd University. This year’s theme was “Re-envisioning Leadership for a Better World,” which focused on ways for students to care for themselves and others in a world that has been profoundly impacted by the pandemic and trauma. Our goal was to help students understand that leadership is a process (not a position or endpoint) that is learned (not an innate ability) and that the goal of leadership is to work collaboratively with others to create a better world (make positive social change and become empowered citizens).

The conference kicked-off with keynote presenter, Dr. Allison Jackson, followed by a rich array of workshops. Check out the video of Dr. Jackson’s powerful presentation from the fall entitled “Our Resilience Story” below in this section.

Our Resilience Story with Dr. Allison Jackson-Dyer– October 28, 2022

Dr. Jackson-Dyer was the keynote speaker for the virtual leadership conference “Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity, and Trauma-Informed Care,” co-created by the Stubblefield Institute’s

ListenLearnEngage Initiative in partnership with Shepherd University’s Offices of Student Affairs and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity. This conference was created for future and current leaders on the pandemic frontlines to better understand the intersection of DEI work and trauma-informed care. While this was created for nursing, education, and social work students and professionals, the social inequities and trauma exacerbated by the pandemic impact all of us and this topic is important for anyone wanting to be an effective leader and engaged citizen.

Additional programming from the conference on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity, and Trauma-Informed Care: Workshop keynote speakers (Dr. Jarvis Watson and Dr. Allison Jackson-Dyer):

Workshop breakout sessions (Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic on DEI Leadership and Accountability/Emotional Intelligence, Hannah Badley on Discomfort with Racial Conversations, Nadirah Z. Mayweather on Microaggressions and Cultural Responsiveness, Kelsey R. M. Bush on Identity Maintenance and Communication Systems):

Workshop final panel discussion (Dr. Allison Jackson-Dyer, Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic, Hannah Badley, Nadirah Z. Mayweather, Kelsey R. M. Bush)