University of Vermont

CNHS Co-Sponsors Talk on Working with Families from Diverse Backgrounds

Prof. Beth Harry

On Monday, April 9, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences co-sponsors a talk from Prof. Beth Harry titled "Building Cultural Reciprocity with Families: Leaning Foward, Not Bending Over Backwards." The talk is scheduled from 4 - 5:30 p.m. in Ira Allen Chapel. A reception will follow in Billings Hall.

Beth Harry is a Professor of Special Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Miami University. A native of Jamaica, she entered the field of special education as a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, an experience that has been chronicled in her memoir, Melanie Bird with Broken Wing: A Mother’s Story. Inspired by her experience as a parent, Dr. Harry’s research and teaching focus on the impact of special education on children and families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In her lecture, Professor Harry will encourage professionals to look inward first as they strive to work collaboratively with families fro diverse backgrounds. In addition, she will identify deeply held personal and cultural values that affect our interactions with families, and will offer guiding steps for converting that understanding into a reciprocal process of mutual cultural exchange. Her central theme reminds us that learning forward is the natural way to reach out to others, while bending over backwards signifies a lack of authenticity that creates discomfort and mutual distrust. Drawing on her experiences as a parent of a child with a disability, as a professional in special education, and a as woman of diverse multicultural heritage, Professor Harry’s lecture will encourage us to understand that reciprocity is natural, desirable and effective.

Prof. Harry's talk is part of the Dan and Carole Burack President's Distinguished Lecture Series. Co-sponsors of the April 9 talk include CNHS, the UVM College of Education and Social Services, the UVM Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, the Office of the UVM Chief Diversity Officer, the UVM Honors College and Kappa Delta Pi. For more information call (802) 656-2936.