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2nd Annual Symposium

Education for Public Good: The role of higher education in community dialogue and change

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12th, 2021  |  8:30 AM-12:30 PM Central

Virtual Online Learning Format


This year’s conference focused on the role of higher education as a convener of community dialogue and contributor to positive social change. 

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Goals of OHEN

  • Connect with Higher Education Professionals
  • Share best practices in Higher Education
  • Promote equity, civic responsibility, and community engagement at your institution



8:30 am – 8:45 am – Welcome
8:45 am – 9:30 am – Keynote speaker, Dr. Derrick Dixon
9:30 am – 9:40 am – Break
9:40 am – 11:00 am – Panel discussion
11:00 am – 11:10 am – Break
11:10 am – 12:15 pm – Action Planning breakout sessions
12:15 pm – 12:30 pm – Action Planning group report out and final words


Keynote Speaker:

presented Derrick Dixon image


Assistant Dean of Students & Director, Office of Student Conduct, University of Oklahoma

Derrick D. Dixon, Ed.D. (he/him) is the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct at the University of Oklahoma where he has served since March of 2020. Prior to coming into this role, Dr. Dixon served as the Assistant Director for the Office of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct at the University of Mississippi.  
Throughout his career, Dr. Dixon has been tasked with updating and developing student conduct practices as well as implementing conflict resolution programs both campus wide and within student housing departments. As a result, Dr. Dixon has gained extensive experience utilizing conflict resolution practices, that include but are not limited to conflict coaching, shuttle diplomacy, and restorative justice. In addition to the work that Dr. Dixon has done on campus, he is also actively involved with the Association of Student Conduct Administration (ASCA) and striving to continue developing as a leader in the field.  



“Conflicting In”: Utilizing a Spectrum of Resolution Options to Drive Positive Change Towards Meaningful Cross-Cultural Dialogues and Understanding

During this session, attendees will be guided through the foundational elements of conflict and its impact on interpersonal relationships. This session will also explore the transition that universities are making from more traditional student conduct frameworks to ones rooted in Restorative Practices. Through this paradigm shift, institutions can better prepare students to engage more productively and intentionally within the communities that they serve.


Panel Moderator:

Lindsay Echols, Executive Director of Campus Compact and Director of Student Affairs and Diversity, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education



panelist Melisa Echols image


Melisa Echols serves as Coordinator for Student Government Programs and is responsible for advising the Student Government Association (SGA) and all its initiatives within Leadership & Campus Life at Oklahoma State University. Melisa is the Project Coordinator for Dialogues4Change (D4C), a Stillwater-based program of the Center for Public Life at OSU-Tulsa that provides a process to involve the OSU community in making positive change through inclusive dialogue and action. 

Melisa participates in several diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across campus and develops seminars, programs, and initiatives with the hope of continued growth and advancement of a positive, welcoming, and inclusive campus culture while helping students grow as culturally competent and ethical leaders.


panelist Charles Heckscher image


Charles Heckscher is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University and co-Director of the Center for the Study of Collaboration. His research interests include the crisis of societal trust, the design of collaborative organization, and the changing nature of employee representation. He has also worked as a practitioner and consultant on processes of organizational development, primarily in telecommunications and (currently) in K-12 education. 


panelist Kayla Harding image


Kayla G. Harding, a North Tulsa native, has earned two baccalaureate degrees from Langston University and a Master of Education in Reading from Northeastern State University.

She is a candidate for a Doctor of Education in Developmental Education Administration. She describes herself as a happiness ambassador and a teacher-scholar-activist. Her research interests include adult literacy, stigma and help-seeking, language acquisition, and cultural capital. Mrs. Harding has taught at Tulsa Community College since 2003. 


panelist Kari Watkins image


Kari Watkins is Executive Director of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. In this capacity, she has directed Better Conversations (the museum’s signature educational/outreach program). This program gives visitors a safe space to have candid conversations about tough subjects including racial reconciliation and collective memory.  

Action Planning


Executive Director of College and Career Readiness, Oklahoma State Department of Education

panelist Marissa Lightsey image

During this one-hour session, participants will join breakout rooms to discuss what you will take away from the day and how you will use this knowledge to build change. This session is organized to create networks across the state to support each other in making change on campus and in community. Participants will use the Campus and Community Engagement: Our Action Plan template to design next steps.

This is an opportunity for purposeful practice in breakout rooms. Each breakout room will choose a topic to build a dialogue around and brainstorm if/then and planning details. At the end of the breakout session, you will be able to use the action planning template to work with partners in your institution and community to plan for social change.

Download Breakout PDF

Download Action Plan Template


Committee Members: 

Jane Irungu, PhD, Associate Provost, Inclusive Faculty Excellence, Executive Director, Southwest Center for Human Relation Studies/NCORE, University of Oklahoma

Joy Pendley, PhD, Director of Community Engagement, Associate Director, Center for Faculty Excellence, University of Oklahoma

Lindsay Echols, Executive Director of Campus Compact and Director of Student Affairs and Diversity (Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education)

Cindy Shanks, Dean of Engaged Learning, Interim Dean, Liberal Arts & Public Service, Tulsa Community College

Jackie Pingatore, Administrative Assistant III, Tulsa Community College

Kathie Nicoletti, Event Manager, National Conference on Race & Ethnicity (NCORE)

Pat Arnould, Executive Director of Indian Affairs, Governor’s Office, Louisiana

Nina Barbee, PhD, Director, Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, American Indian Institute (Aii), University of Oklahoma Outreach/College of Continuing Education

Sara Barnett, Director, Center for Tribal Studies, Northeastern State University

Belinda Biscoe, PhD, Senior Associate Vice President for University Outreach, University of Oklahoma

Tim DeGeer, Academic Affairs Technology Manager, Tulsa Community College

Michara Delaney-Fields, PhD, Chief Diversity Officer, Stephen F. Austin State University

Jennifer Dunaway, PhD, Instructional Designer, Engaged Learning, Tulsa Community College

Julie Flegal-Smallwood, PhD, Director, Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institutions Part A STEM, Grant Redlands Community College

Mark Griffin, PhD, Professor, Modern Languages, Oklahoma City University

Farina King, PhD, Indigenous Studies & US History, Northeastern State University

Marissa Lightsey, MSHR, Executive Director of College and Career Readiness, Oklahoma State Department of Education

Martha Parrott, EdD, Director, Northeastern State University Mathematics Center and Chair, Math and Computer Science

Douglas Price, EdD, Director, Faculty Development & Global Learning, Tulsa Community College

Kasey Rhone, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, Diversity and Inclusion, Northeastern State University

Melissa Wicker, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment, University of Oklahoma


For more information about this event, please contact:

Cindy Shanks (

Jane Irungu (

Joy Pendley (


This symposium is made possible by collaboration with professionals from The University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Community College, Oklahoma Campus Compact, and Oklahoma City University

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Redlands logoOklahoma City University logo 

Campus Compact-Oklahoma logoNortheastern State University logoOU Outreach logo