Diggs Symposium

Elder Watson Diggs Symposium

Developing a Framework for Achievement in Education

The School of Education is proud to celebrate the legacy of Elder Watson Diggs, the first African American to graduate with a degree in education from Indiana University.

The symposium explores issues surrounding the future of education given the recent and anticipated court decisions and legislation around access and diversity.

This event is part of an ongoing collaboration between the IU School of Education and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and Foundation.

Inaugural Diggs Symposium

The first Diggs Symposium was held on Friday, September 29, 2023, in the Wendell W. Wright Education Building. The event schedule below has detailed information about each session, as well as archived video.

We look forward to seeing you at next year's event.

Event schedule

9:00 a.m. – Networking and Breakfast
9:30 a.m. – Welcome and Opening Remarks
10:00 a.m. – Morning Session I

ED 2140
Resisting multicultural "window dressing": Creating anti-racist classrooms that center and celebrate all children
Lauren Ray, IU School of Education

ED 1004

Attracting Unicorns: Recruiting African-American Males to Teacher Preparation Programs
Karen Smith, IU School of Education

11:00 a.m. – Morning Session II

ED 2101
Panel discussion: Engaging Student Support, Skill Development, and Resources
Moderator: Ayanna Samuels-Francis
Panelists: Alexis Briggins (Holmes Scholar), Makiya Harper (Diggs Project representative), Diamond Jackson and Eric Agyemang-Dua (Diggs Award Recipients), Kanyia Harper (DEI Student Ambassador), Kaleb Sherrell (Student, Kappa Alpha Psi member)

ED 2140
Radiant Reflections: Rejoicing in Our Remarkable Skin Tones 
Kylie Kaminski, Indiana University

12:00 p.m. – Lunch
1:00 p.m. – Keynote Address

Which Racial Future Do We Want Now?
Marcus Croom, IU School of Education

2:15 p.m.

ED 1004
Panel discussion: Recruitment and Admissions post-Affirmative Action
Moderator: Christen Priddie, Indiana University
Panelists: Kim Stewart-Brinston, Lindsey Arnold, and Vince Isom, Indiana University

ED 2140
Discussing Language Attitudes in the Classroom
Beth Samuelson, IU School of Education

ED 2101
Incorporating African content and languages into your classroom​​
Tavy De Lacy Aherne (Lead Presenter), Bongeka Buhle Selepe, Comfort Adejoke Durojaiye, and Cameron Lowery

3:15 p.m.

ED 1120
Panel Discussion: Advancing Elder Watson Diggs’ Legacy of Achievement
Panelists: Jordan Q. Smith (Jr. Grand Vice Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Kevin Scott (Grand Historian of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.), Vince Isom (Director, 21st Century Scholars Program)

About Elder Watson Diggs

Elder Watson Diggs taught in Indianapolis Public Schools, was quickly promoted to principal, advocated for Black student access and support, helped to establish an international fraternity, and proved so influential that Indianapolis Public Schools named a building after Diggs; accordingly, the symposium will cover the topics of race, care, and education, especially early childhood and elementary education.