ISCORE eyes growth in virtual format

Like many university traditions in this pandemic year, ISCORE -- the 21st annual Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity -- will move to a virtual platform to keep presenters and attendees safe. ISCORE director Japannah Kellogg also sees the change as a solution to the event's capacity constraints in the Memorial Union the last year two years, when attendance hit 1,200. He said he anticipates a hybrid format for ISCORE in the future.

The ISCORE planning team recruited the same number of breakout sessions this year -- about 45 -- but Kellogg is optimistic the virtual format allows more students and employees to take part. Earlier this week, registration already had cleared 1,000.

ISCORE Champions

Each year, two Iowa State colleges serve as primary NCORE-ISCORE Champions to help promote integration and opportunity across the university community. Engineering dean Sam Easterling and Design dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez will help open the conference Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, showcasing college achievements.

ISCORE will begin at 8:45 a.m. Thursday and Friday, March 4-5. Students, faculty and staff who applied will present on their research and experiences related to race and ethnicity, with sessions wrapping up by 1 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Friday.

A seventh annual preconference "of employees, for employees," as Kellogg termed it, will be held Wednesday, March 3 (10:45 a.m.- 4 p.m.). A panel of employees who participated in recent NCORE (National Conference on Race and Ethnicity held each May) and the follow-up Professional Development Academy back on campus, will share their experiences during Wednesday's opening session.

Each of the three days features two to four breakout session slots and a keynote presentation:

  • Wednesday, 3 p.m.: Katy Swalwell, associate professor in the School of Education
  • Thursday, 11 a.m.: Novotny Lawrence, associate professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
  • Friday, noon: Michael Benitez, vice president for diversity and inclusion at Metropolitan State University, Denver, national speaker and author, and Iowa State alumnus

Senior vice president for student affairs Toyia Younger, who started in her new post on the first day of fall semester and will take in her first ISCORE, will close the conference Friday (2 p.m.).

"Student affairs is at the heart of ISCORE and hearing from our students especially is a tremendous opportunity," Kellogg said, "but partnerships and collaboration across campus are why ISCORE has stood the test of time."

Maximize your ISCORE

"After the summer we had, with the current social unrest and the political insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last month, we have to do something to keep the conversation going and try to understand and appreciate the value of our human differences," Kellogg said.

He encourages all ISCORE goers to "do some prep and some follow-up" to get the most out of a virtual ISCORE event. He hopes participants will "be deliberate about what sessions they attend and find someone to process the conversation with.

"ISCORE will provide an array of topics, some of which won't fit everyone's job tasks, but if you and your colleagues have a conversation about what you heard, it gives your department a common experience," he said. "Continuing the conversation is what ISCORE is all about."

He also noted ISCORE participants may complete their own professional development action plan during or after the conference.

How to register

Participants need to register in advance for ISCORE sessions in Whova, an event management website. Sessions will be streamed on Zoom via Whova. Registration for both the employee preconference (March 3) and ISCORE (March 4-5) will close Monday, March 1.