News

Campus Conversation on Global, Ethnic, Racial Awareness

November 3, 2011

Regis students explore risks of snap judgments on race and other social issues

(left) Dr. Shamaila Khan responds to a question as Dr. Crawford listens

A newly created Black Student Organization at Regis College hosted the first of several meetings on the subjects of race, ethnicity, multiculturalism, and global perspectives. The October 19 meeting began with the trailer of the film documentary “Dark Girls”, which presented personal testimonies on the social effects of human judgments about skin color, self-concept, educational development, professional achievement, and marriage and family. A panel of speakers, whose families originated from around the United States, including Native American communities, as well as Mexico, Guatamala, Pakistan, and Africa, shared personal experiences and professional perspectives with a large audience. On the panel were Elaine Pinderhughes, MSW, Professor Emeritus at Boston College and author of Understanding Race, Ethnicity and Power: The Key to Efficacy in Clinical Practice; Jessica Henderson Daniel, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Children’s Hospital, who received the Mamie and Kenneth Clark Award and Distinguished Contributions to Education Award from the American Psychological Association; Michelle Contreras, a Psychology Intern at Harvard Medical School with extensive experience working with human trafficking victims internationally; and Shamaila Khan, Ph.D., Director of the Haiti SERG Program at Boston Medical Center and the Boston University School of Medicine. Kermit Crawford, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at Boston University and a consultant to the Regis community, facilitated a discussion of what diversity actually means in an increasingly globalized culture. At a time when multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multiracial human beings search for common ground, several Regis students said the group was ultimately talking about “being comfortable in your own skin about who you are.”

L to R: Elaine Pinderhughes, MSW, Jessica Henderson Daniel, Ph.D., Michelle Contreras, Shamaila Khan, Ph.D., and Kermit Crawford, PhD
L to R: Elaine Pinderhughes, MSW, Jessica Henderson Daniel, Ph.D., Michelle Contreras, Shamaila Khan, Ph.D., and Kermit Crawford, PhD

“We at Regis have been cultivating a worthwhile global diversity on campus,” said Regis College president Antoinette M. Hays, PhD, RN, “and it is already a remarkable achievement. Our ongoing growth requires conscious discussion both of new perspectives and old issues embedded in our culture. Regis students were terrifically insightful and articulate participants in this discussion, and we shall continue the conversation.”

Senior Emily Melo explains a point to Dr. Crawford
Senior Emily Melo explains a point to Dr. Crawford

Students probed topics such as the world-wide tendency to categorize according to color; the reality of intra-group color-prejudice preferring “fairness” to “darkness;” tensions over standards of beauty in cultural and ethnic identity with relation to race; and the emergence of “grey” areas where all such categories break down.

Sister Rosemary Mulvihill, RSM, dean of student life and ministry at the College, commented that “Regis is committed to values imbued in it by the founding and sponsoring Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, who promote inclusiveness and hospitality to the dear neighbor without distinction. In our world, higher education must work diligently to bring every generation into community relationship and belonging.”


Regis College is a Catholic co-educational community that prepares undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students for engagement and service in a changing world. In the School of Liberal Arts, Education and Social Sciences and the School of Nursing, Sciences and Health Professions, approximately 1,800 students are enrolled in 20 undergraduate majors; 30 minors; 10 interdisciplinary pathways toward professional success; and master’s degree programs in education, communication, health administration, regulatory and clinical research management, nursing, medical imaging, and a doctoral program in nursing practice. U.S. News and World Report ranks Regis in the top tier of universities with master’s programs in the North. The College is listed by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) among benchmarking colleges for the quality of educational experience. With a strategic graduate focus on health care, Regis College was recently named for the second time as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing. The College also provides accredited pre-school and kindergarten programs and a Life Long Learning Program (LLARC) for retired seniors.
Contact: M. J. Doherty, PhD (781-768-7015); mj.doherty@regiscollege.edu or Marjorie Arons-Barron (617-423-7770); aronsbarron@barronaw.com

News