SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will host “A New Way Forward with G.U.I.D.E. (Growth, Understanding, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity),” a virtual higher education diversity and inclusion conference, November 18 and 19. The event is free and open to the public.

“A New Way Forward with G.U.I.D.E” aims to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (D.E.I.) issues in higher education, K-12, communities, and the workplace. The conference will feature notable experts speaking on a variety of topics, including, “50 Ways to Fight Bias,” “Advocacy for Justice: Classroom, Colleagues, and Community,” The Invisible Employee,” “Exploring Your Privilege,” and “Be Street, Be Professional, Be You.”

“We are pleased to bring this important conference to life once again, as last year’s inaugural event exceeded all expectations in terms of participation and learning,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Higher education – and in fact, society in general – must be equipped to address historical racial inequalities and model values of inclusion and be a catalyst for equity. We hope to celebrate achievements, be inspired by best practices, and learn how to drive change.”

Nationally known educator and author Andratesha Fitzgerald, Ed.S., will deliver the keynote address, “Power and Empowerment: Honoring by Decision and Design.” Using content from her new book, “Antiracism and Universal Design for Learning: Building Expressways to Success,” Fitzgerald will help participants explore definitions of honor and power, examine the implications of power in equitable access to learning, and begin co-creating a community that demands individuals who are inclusive, and conscious of how to use power to honor every human.

Fitzgerald has worked as a teacher, curriculum specialist, administrator, and director. As an international speaker, presenter, and facilitator, she calls for organizations to evolve into inclusive antiracist safe zones for all learners. Her book has been adopted by courses at Harvard Graduate School of Education and many other colleges and universities, and she is the winner of a Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. She is the founder of Building Blocks of Brilliance Educational Consulting Firm.

A panel discussion, “Lenses into Building Your Own Equity Tool Kit,” will feature Dr. Emad Rahim, Bellevue University; Dr. Jovany Felix, North Carolina Central University; Daryle Adams, Kannapolis City Schools; Dr. Angelo Markantonakis and Dr. Xiana Smithart, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College; Dr. Steve Cathcart, Cabarrus Health Alliance; Dr. Steve Hackett, Chesterfield County Public Schools; Dr. Yolonda Holmes, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Dr. Patrick Sullivan, Liberty Central Schools; and Dr. Kira Ferris, South Piedmont Community College.

“It is my hope that this event will contribute to greater understanding, awareness and action as we all work to be more inclusive in our work and personal lives,” Spalding said. “We invite anyone who is interested in personal and professional growth, serving students, and serving our communities to join us for this free event.”

The G.U.I.D.E. conference will be held via Zoom from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 18 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on November 19. For more information on sessions and on how to register, please visit our conference website. The deadline to register is November 12. If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please email by November 4.