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MU to host Frederick Douglass Institute for PASSHE

The Frederick Douglass Institute events will provide students with training in argumentation, advocacy, leadership and social justice.

Millersville University is hosting two Frederick Douglass Institute events on campus this spring. Students can participate in the Research and Creative Arts Conference on April 9 and in the Douglass Debates on April 10. 

The Frederick Douglass Institute creates inclusive university communities by holding programs that support underrepresented minority students at each level of higher education including undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels. 

The Research and Creative Arts Conference showcases student’s research and creative works including art pieces, dance videos and research on various topics. The conference’s theme this year is “The Power of Community: Uniting to Amplify Voices and Foster Well-Being.” Additionally, the conference is combining with the Made in Millersville Conference this year. The event will be held in the Student Memorial Center on April 9 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Students whose work is accepted for the conference will present it as an oral paper presentation, poster exhibition, creative art or spoken word presentation. 

The Douglass Debate tournament is an annual event, reaching its 10th anniversary this year. The tournament will be held in the Bolger Conference Center from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with teams competing in four preliminary rounds and a semi-final and final round. The tournament is led by Dr. Robert J. Green from Commonwealth University at Bloomsburg. 

Dr. Joseph Croskey

Dr. Joseph Croskey, an associate professor at Pennsylvania Western University at Clarion and one of the coordinators of the events, explains the goal of the debate tournament. “The purpose of the Frederick Douglass Debates is to provide students training in argumentation, advocacy and leadership with a focus on contemporary issues of social justice. It continues to provide a rich learning experience for student participants, enabling them to learn and apply critical thinking skills to contemporary issues, to craft compelling arguments and to consider topics in their full complexity.” 

Students will debate on the topic of “Resolved: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should implement school choice in K-12 education.” According to Croskey, school choice is the idea that families can choose the type of school their child attends outside of the public school system and receive their tax dollars back from the government to pay for any educational costs.  

Croskey also notes that the students participating in the events will gain essential skills for their future career. “Students gain presentation experience which is very useful for graduate school. In addition, sharing their research and responding to questions enhances their ability to think on their feet and respond effectively which can help in interview settings and beyond.” 

All students participating in either event will receive a certificate for their work. The Douglass Debate champions will be given a trophy for their university along with a book about Frederick Douglass.  

The debate tournament is free and open to all students. Additionally, the public can attend the semi-final and final rounds. 

Any student who wants to be involved in the conference can submit their work here 

The Conference is coordinated by Millersville faculty, Dr. Caleb Corkery, English professor Dr. Onek Adyanga, associate history professor, and Dr. Clarence Maxwell, associate history professor and graduate coordinator.  

Looking for more information? Contact Joseph Croskey at jcroskey@pennwest.edu or Dr. Onek Adyanga at onek.adyanga@millersville.edu  

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