College Townhall Highlights Inclusion Within MVC Community at 7th Annual Diversity Summit


Dr. Pedro Noguera (left) and Dr. Edward Rice (right) discuss diversity and inclusion in higher ed at the College Townhall during the 7th Annual Diversity Summit.

Tykeya Davis

Only good vibes and honest conversation were displayed with the Dean of the USC’s Rossier School of Education, Dr. Pedro Noguera on campus April 19th. 

Dr. Noguera was invited to Moreno Valley College as the keynote speaker of the 7th Annual Diversity Summit. After Dr. Nogura’s speech the audience dispersed to discuss their thoughts on the speech and the importance of the event. The audience was served all kinds of delicious foods along with a variety of drinks and good conversation. 

MVC was honored to have Dr. Noguera as he stayed and engaged with the community during the College Townhall, which followed his keynote address. At the townhall Dr. Noguera answered questions pertaining to taking action with issues of diversity and inclusion in community colleges. “You have to take a direct approach and an indirect approach,” said Dr. Noguera.  “The mural on campus is an indirect approach, just by virtue of working together with people of different backgrounds now we have something in common.”  Dr. Noguera went on to say that an example of the direct approach is the new ethnic studies program, which teaches the histories of different groups.  During his conversation, he also addressed healthy ways to engage in complicated conversations. Suggesting debate he said, “If you have strong opinions then you need to be able to ground those opinions with evidence; and you should be able to explain them, and defend them in the face of someone who is strong and well informed.”

After sharing his insight on these topics, students and staff then had the opportunity to directly ask Dr. Noguera a few questions. When asked about the correct way to handle difficult conversations in a professional setting, Dr. Noguera recommended creating space for that type of dialogue. According to Dr. Noguera what that looks like is allowing the other person to speak and explain their intentions.  “Sometimes people are not even thinking about how their words are being perceived by someone else,” he shared.

When asked about maintaining the wellness of spirit for people who get weary doing diversity and inclusion work, the renowned author and scholar advised talking to someone who you don’t have to do a lot of explaining to and debrief about the situation. “Giving people a chance in groups to talk about shared trauma, and shared reactions to an incident can be very therapeutic” Dr. Noguera insisted. MVC President Dr. Robin Steinback, who was in attendance at the townhall, said Dr. Noguera reminds us of the work we need to do each and every day, however crucial the conversation.

Administrators and faculty members were not the only audience members inspired by Dr. Noguera. MVC student Gregory McClendon said enthusiastically,  “He was speaking facts!…That’s how you want a conversation to be, enjoyable that way when people look back on it they can look back on it with a good memory.”  MVC student Brandon Warren added,  “When you surround yourself with people who think like you you start to tune out other people’s voices. Regardless of the difference in opinions, it’s good to at least understand other people.”

The College Townhall during the Diversity Summit was truly an amazing experience that opened up the community and created space for the learning and understanding of important issues facing higher education today.