Breakout Sessions

Laying Our Stories Side by Side: Using Personal Narrative to Promote Cross-Cultural Communication
Danielle M. Williams and Sara Dye

In this breakout session, we will explore how the genre of personal narrative can help us explore our values, beliefs, and identities—both individually and within groups. We will draw on Krista Ratcliffe’s concept of “rhetorical listening” to better understand what we can do with these narratives to improve civic life. While writing a personal narrative has value in itself, there is increased power in laying our stories alongside one another’s so that we can learn from people who are different from us. Through this hands-on session, participants will have an opportunity to write their own stories and begin the challenging work of practicing rhetorical listening.

Danielle M. Williams, Ph.D., is a Lecturer in English and serves as the Interim Director of First-Year Writing. She teaches undergraduate courses in first-year writing, technical writing, professional writing, and creative nonfiction. Her research examines the intersection of digital rhetoric and community-based writing, and she enjoys finding new ways to get Baylor students involved in the Waco community. Danielle enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time at the Lazy Bandit Ranch with her husband and their two young children.

Sara Dye is a doctoral candidate in English and serves as the Assistant to the Director of First-Year Writing. Sara studies religious rhetoric and civic engagement and teaches undergraduate courses in first-year writing and advanced argumentative and persuasive writing. Sara enjoys teaching, playing sports, reading, working out, theatre, being outside, and drinking coffee.


Cultivating Cultural Humility: A Civic Responsibility

Kerri Fisher

Cultural Humility is a lifelong process which requires developing self-awareness, listening to diverse voices and practicing counter-intuitive solidarity. In a world that so often encourages us to dichotomize vilify and ignore, come get practical tools for fostering peace and justice.

Kerri Fisher, MSW, is Lecturer in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. After receiving her MSW, Kerri served as the School Social Worker at The University of Texas Elementary School in Austin, Tex. There she provided individual, group and family counseling, case management and consultation to students, families and members of the interdisciplinary student educational planning team. In 2011 Kerri accepted a position as Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor of Social Work at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Tex. Throughout her time in Austin and Abilene, Kerri served in many community roles including: Branch Church Leadership Team (Abilene), Citizens United Against Disproportionality and Disparity (CUADD) Member and Central Texas Tres Dias Community member.


Introduction to Restorative Justice Circles

Cheryl Miller

In this session, participants will learn the guiding principles of restorative justice. We will also explore various restorative justice processes with the primary focus on Circles. Participants will be provided an opportunity to observe or participate in a basic Circle, followed by time to share ideas of how these types of processes could be incorporated into a variety of settings.

Cheryl Miller is the owner and consultant for Quantum Circles Consulting. She is a Credentialed Advanced Mediator and has facilitated victim/offender mediations for 17 years for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.


Building Interfaith Cooperation in the Community

Sharyl Loeung and Josh Ritter

Al Siddiq and Leslie King

At a time when divisiveness and polarization regarding religious identity is high and interfaith literacy is low, we offer a session on ways to engage communities in interfaith cooperation. We say “cooperation” because we know that interfaith dialogue is often a difficult, and sometimes impossible, approach to improving interfaith relations. How do we get along with our neighbors who believe differently than we do? How do we improve our communities together? How do we work together? In this session, we will highlight the necessity of storytelling and story-sharing as a productive alternative to more formal efforts at interfaith dialogue, and we will hear from Al and Leslie regarding their efforts for interfaith engagement within the Waco community.

Rev. Sharyl Loeung, M.Div., is Senior Coordinator for Outreach and Inclusion in the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Rev. Dr. Josh Ritter, M.Div., Ph.D., is Assistant Director for Spirituality and Public Life in the Office of Spiritual Life.

Al Siddiq is President of the Islamic Center of Waco.

Rev. Leslie King is Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Waco, TX.


Living Room Conversations on Race

Ramona Curtis and Bryan Dalco

The Living Room Conversations vision is a world in which people who have fundamental differences of opinion and backgrounds work together with respect, and perhaps joy, to realize the vibrant future we all desire.  This new, open-source project explores the power of revitalized civil discourse in America. This workshop will provides participants an opportunity to come together and learn how to engage in self-guided conversations about race. Participants will learn about Living Room Conversations and participate in a mock conversation. These conversations are to foster new relationships and reveal common ground.  The goal for this workshop is for participants leave inspired to host Living Room conversations throughout their communities.

Ramona Curtis, MA, is the Director for Community Engagement & Initiatives at Baylor University.  She helps to foster campus synergy around the broad implications and meaning of global citizenship through the provision of forums for discussion, creative energy and individual and collective community action. Ms. Curtis is a Fellow of the Center for Disease Control’s National Academy for The Public’s Health and a current doctoral student at Prairie View A&M University.

Rev. Bryan K Dalco, MDiv, is an ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church and Senior Pastor of One Fellowship United Methodist Church in Waco, Texas.  He is a native of Beaumont, TX and has over 20 year experience in the ministry.  He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from Prairie View A&M University and a Masters of Divinity Degree from Texas Christian University.  He has served in pastoral leadership for numerous churches throughout Texas.


Naming and Framing Community Issues

Erin Payseur Oeth and Josh Ritter

Public Deliberation offers a framework for a different kind of conversation on community issues, one that changes the public discourse and promotes community problem-solving. In this session, participants will focus on a primary skill for deliberative skill, the ability to name & frame issues to promote positive discourse. This session will guide participants through the process of clearly naming the problem, laying out options for collective action, and creating materials to guide a deliberative forum.

Rev. Dr. Josh Ritter, M.Div., Ph.D., is Assistant Director for Spirituality and Public Life in the Office of Spiritual Life.

Erin L. Payseur Oeth, MA, is Associate Director for Civic Learning Initiatives in the Office of Community Engagement and Service.