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Lecture series to focus on multicultural issues in speech-language-hearing

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

LAWRENCE — A new lecture series at the University of Kansas will bring multicultural scholars as guest speakers to campus each year.

The first annual Betty H. Bunce Multicultural Lecture will be presented by a professor whose research focuses on bilingual language and literacy development, as well as cultural and environmental influences on the language development of children from diverse backgrounds.

The presentation, “Dismantling the Silos: New Ways of Thinking About Cultural Diversity,” will be given by Barbara Rodriguez, department chair and professor in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences at the University of New Mexico.

The Bunce lecture is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Price Auditorium in the Price Computing Center and videocast to 2004 Orr-Major on the KU Medical Center campus. It is hosted by the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing and is open to the public.

Rodriguez’s lecture will focus on why, in our interconnected world, it is ethically and practically crucial to develop an awareness and understanding of cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic differences. The aim of this presentation is to describe a multidimensional framework for considering these differences in communication sciences and disorders.

Rodriguez argues that previous approaches to multiculturalism led to reified group distinctions that resulted in broad characterizations of individuals from different communities and perpetuated stereotypes. In contrast, new ways of thinking about diversity integrate elements of cultural humility, Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, privilege and microaggressions, poverty and cultural change. Examples from clinical practice and research studies will be presented to illustrate the multidimensional framework’s integration of diverse worldviews and cultural frames of reference.

The Betty Bunce Multicultural Lecture was established to honor retired professor Bunce for her 28 years of service to KU and the speech-language-hearing department. Until her retirement in 2016, Bunce was a clinical professor in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing and, for nearly 25 years, director of the Language Acquisition Preschool. The preschool serves children with and without communication disabilities. It has also been a training site for more than 300 speech-language students, many of whom are practicing in the state of Kansas. 

The lecture fund will allow the department to bring a multicultural expert to KU each year to collaborate with faculty and enhance student learning around speech-language-hearing services for diverse clients. The topic of multiculturalism has been a driving passion of Bunce’s throughout her career. To contribute to the Betty Bunce Multicultural Lecture fund, please visit KU Endowment’s website.

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