Topeka, Kan. - Washburn University will host the annual Michael Tilford Conference on Diversity and Multiculturalism Oct. 6 -7. The theme for 2022 is “After Brown v. Board, No Turning Back: The Future of Diversity and Multiculturalism.”  

     “The objective of the Tilford Conference this year is to assess the progress towards greater diversity, and multiculturalism since the landmark legal decision in Brown v. Board that ordered the desegregation of public schools in the United States while declaring segregated schools ‘inherently unequal’ and unconstitutional,” said Danielle Dempsey-Swopes, director of university diversity and inclusion for Washburn University.  “It will also examine the many challenges and inequities that remain.

      “The conference will feature research and professional development to provide participants with tools to continue to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in Kansas education and work environments so that the full promise of Brown v. Board may one day be realized.”

     The conference is comprised of general sessions featuring speakers, workshops and breakout sessions. During the entirety of the conference, attendees have the opportunity to network with those also working to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, from the classroom to the boardroom.

    “Washburn University is excited to once again host the Michael Tilford conference,” said Dr. Kelly Erby, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of history for Washburn University. “We anticipate welcoming our colleagues, as well as those in the local business community, to explore this important topic and hear from those at the forefront of advancing these efforts.”

    Dr. Alex Red Corn will give the conference opening address as well as a workshop Friday afternoon. Red Corn is an assistant professor of educational leadership, co-chair of the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance at Kansas State University and a member of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma. Red Corn teaches qualitative research courses and shares his research on multiculturalism in education with a focus on the needs of American Indians. He also collaboratively created the Osage Nation Educational Leadership Academy.

    Dr. Royel Johnson will provide the keynote address. From, “Johnson is an associate professor in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California (USC). He is also director of student engagement in the USC Race and Equity Center and a faculty member in the Pullias Center for Higher Education. Johnson is a nationally recognized scholar, whose interdisciplinary research addresses issues of educational access, racial equity and student success. His work has an unapologetic focus on Black and multiply marginalized populations like those impacted by the criminal punishment, child welfare and inequitable educational systems.”

Call for Presentations, Submissions Due by July 15

     Everyone is welcome to propose a paper, poster, roundtable, or workshop at this year’s Tilford. This includes students, faculty, staff and administrators at colleges and universities, as well as community members and business/industry partners.

     Conference organizers invite proposals for five kinds of conference sessions:

 - Poster presentation (visual presentation of research or project)

-  Individual papers (one individually written paper, which conference organizers may group with other individual papers into a panel)

-  Paper panels (consisting of up to five individually written papers whose authors have organized in advance around a theme or topic)

-  Roundtables (a facilitated group conversation), and

-  Workshops (highly interactive sessions)


     Those interested in presenting should submit their proposals for presentations at

Register to Attend the Conference

     Attendance at Tilford is free for students, faculty and staff of Kansas Board of Regents Institutions (KBOR), Washburn University and Haskell Indian Nations University. Registration for approved presenters is also free.

     Tickets are $25 per person for attendees who are not students or employees of KBOR institutions, Washburn University or Haskell Indian Nations University. Ticket price includes a welcome reception on October 6 and breakfast and lunch on October 7.

     Those wishing to register to attend should visit

     More information can be found at

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For further information, contact:
Joy Bailes
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Telephone: 785-670-2153
Cell: 785-230-1648


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