The Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion

Anti-Racism Institute Past Events and Publications

Drs. Rebecca Nisetich and Vaishali Mamgain

January - May 2022:  Antiracist Pedagogy Faculty Group
Drs. Kristen Gleason, Idella Glenn, Vaishali Mamgain, and Rebecca Nisetich co-led a group of 15 faculty from diverse disciplines--from English to Nursing, Engineering to Education--to unlearn oppressive practices and redo their curriculum to be truly inclusive and antiracist. This group will continue to work together over a 2 year period to help enact cultural change at USM and beyond.

September - December 2021:  Anti-Racist Pedagogy Faculty Group
Drs. Idella Glenn, Kristen Gleason, Rebecca Nisetich, and Vaishali Mamgain co-led a group of 15 faculty from diverse disciplines--from English to Nursing, Engineering to Education--to unlearn oppressive practices and redo their curriculum to be truly inclusive and anti-racist. This group will continue to work together over a 2 year period to help enact cultural change at USM and beyond.

June 2021:  Summer Anti-Racism Institute
Drs. Vaishali Mamgain and Rebecca Nisetich offered this collaborative, intensive workshop series to support faculty to cultivate antiracist practices in their work for the university and in their lives.

May 2021: Writing Retreat: Undoing Racism Using a Relational Frame
Drs. Rebecca Nisetich and Dr. Vaishali Mamgain led this one-day antiracism and compassion workshop for writing instructors at USM.

May 2021: School of Nursing Antiracism Retreat
The medical profession has been painfully implicated in the continuation of racial injustice and it is ongoing! Nursing students brought to light this in the context of their training and clinical rotation. Students, faculty, and administrators worked together in a yearlong reparative process to make adjustments to the praxis and curriculum. As a part of this Drs. Mamgain and Nisetich were invited to lead a two-day retreat for the Nursing faculty. The training was designed to create a sense of community--a cohort--that will continue to engage this work in the School of Nursing. 

In May 2021, Drs. Mamgain and Nisetich co-led a half-day training for the School
of Nursing faculty during our annual 2-day retreat. The focus was on recognizing
implicit bias, developing mindfulness skills, improving self-care, and deepening
our focus on compassion in all that we do – with students, with one another, and
in our scholarship. It was a heart-opening and meaningful event.

- Marcia Goldenberg, MS,RN

2021 - 2022: National Collegiate Honors Council Diversity Training
As we strive to increase diversity in our programs, honors faculty and staff need professional development and support in this area. Because we recognize that this material and exploration can be very taxing for us, particularly for those of us who are directly affected by racism, we believe this work should not be undertaken in isolation. The collaborative setting of an intensive workshop series is necessary to support such vital, difficult work. The goals of this workshop include the development of anti-racist approaches to honors.  Workshop content is centered on understanding and implementing anti-racist theories and approaches for discussion within a community of honors faculty and staff, in local and state contacts that may make implementation challenging

June 2020:  Summer Anti-Racism Institute
Drs. Rebecca Nisetich and Vaishali Mamgain offered this collaborative, intensive workshop series to support faculty and staff to cultivate anti-racist practices in their work for the university and in their lives.

Spring 2020: President's Cabinet
While student protests (originating in 2015) demanding a more just, anti-oppressive university sprung the Administration to (re)action there was a dawning recognition that because of the deeply embedded nature of racism within our systems the leadership had to begin to cultivate a heightened awareness about racial justice, to be aware of the overt and implicit way that the institution enacted it’s mission - to be a university that everyone felt they belonged to. To this end, Drs. Nisetich and Mamgain were invited to lead a series of (half day) workshops in Spring 2020. President Glenn Cummings and his cabinet, the VPs of the university, Deans of the different colleges participated. The sessions weren’t quite what the participants expected, for instance, being invited to “feel into” or develop “an embodied, perceptual sense” of the workplace environment is not something most academic administrators are used to. But they leaned into it and having created a strong container, each session had a lot of integrity, revealing to participants where in their own domain, hidden privilege and oppression lurked, and how they might change course. 

"The transformational power of the antiracist training program awed our leadership at the university. We witnessed a remarkable change in our own thinking and in the effectiveness of our initiatives. The key, I think, to their work is understanding the importance of self-reflection and embracing humility before seeking to ‘solve’ deep rooted cultural problems."

- former USM President Glenn Cummings

January - May 2020:  Faculty/Staff Anti-Racism Book Group
Drs. Vaishali Mamgain and Rebecca Nisetich led this biweekly practice group of University staff/faculty and members of the community during the 2019-2020 academic year.  The group read Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be An Antiracist and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility to inform their practice, focusing on how to use an anti-racist framework to better understand their lives and how to bring these concepts to bear in their work at USM and in the community. 

January - May 2020:  Anti-Racist Practice Group
Drs. Rebecca Nisetich and Vaishali Mamgain led this biweekly practice group for the USM Leadership Cabinet.

September - December 2019:  Faculty/Staff Antiracism Book Group
Drs. Vaishali Mamgain and Rebecca Nisetich led this biweekly practice group of University staff/faculty and members of the community during the 2019-2020 academic year.  The group read Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be An Antiracist and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility to inform their practice, focusing on how to use an antiracist framework to better understand their lives and how to bring these concepts to bear in their work at USM and in the community. 

Dr. Vaishali Mamgain

April 2022:  John M. Rezendes Visiting Scholar in Ethics
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain delivered a guest lecture, “Self-Care and Radical Communion: Walking Each Other Home”, at the University of Maine. 

February - March 2022:  Embodied Equity, Justice, and Leadership Institute
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain was one of the facilitators for this Courage of Care Coalition workshop for organizational leaders and team members committed to transformative change, as well as for the weekly follow-up sessions.

2021 - 2022: Mind and Life Institute BIPOC Scholar Mentorship Program
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain served as a member of the Founding Committee to create a pilot program to mentor BIPOC scholars engaged in contemplative neuroscience research.

July 2021:  Courage of Care Summer Intensive
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain joined Kai Horton, Miko Brown, and others as faculty for the weeklong Courage of Care Summer Intensive.

June - August 2021:  Embodied Equity, Justice, and Leadership Institute
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain was one of the facilitators for this two-day workshop for organizational leaders and team members committed to transformative change, as well as for the weekly follow-up sessions throughout July.

April - July 2021:  Balancing Hope and Fear: an Ecological Justice course
This three-month, contemplative-based, anti-oppressive course (offered in two 6-week sections) was designed by a global team of collaborators to help resource folks engaged in climate change work.

April 2021:  Reclaiming Resilience and Community: a Workshop for BIPOC
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain co-facilitated this workshop from the Courage of Care Coalition. 

April 2021:  Balancing Hope and Fear: Resourcing Concerned Citizens for Sustainable Environmental Justice Work
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain and Dr. Brooke Lavelle, founder of the Courage of Care Coalition, presented this webinar from the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education. 

March 2021:  “What is Ours to Do to Bring Change?”
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain was the invited speaker for the Sunday services at the Unity Center for Spiritual Growth, Windham, ME. 

January 2021: “Feeling the Wounds of January 6: Embodiment as an Anti-Racism Practice”
This "Maine Voices" guest editorial column was published in the Portland Press Herald.

December 2020 - February 2021: Curriculum Development
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain worked with a team to create coursework for their "Resourcing Climate Activists for Sustainable Environmental Justice Work" program.

December 2020: Mind and Life Institute PEACE Grant. 
Co-PI with collaborators from ______ to develop ________

December 2020: “R.I.S.E: A Courage Course for People of the Global Majority.”
Collaborator and Presenter of course created for the Trauma-Informed Oregon community. 

October 2020: “Can Wisdom Traditions be Colonized?”  
Published in Lion’s Roar magazine.

July 2020: “Anti-Racism and Meditation Practice”
Invited speaker in Ellsworth, ME.

June - July 2020:  Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI)
Developed and facilitated an online workshop series.

January - May 2020:  Faculty/Staff Compassion and Love Training
Faculty/staff practice group focused on love and compassion training in the context of doing antiracism work.  The group read How to Be An Antiracist, while working through an online Compassion Cultivation Training module developed by the Courage of Care Coalition.

September - December 2019:  Faculty/Staff Compassion and Love Training
Faculty/staff practice group focused on love and compassion training in the context of doing antiracism work.  The group read How to Be An Antiracist, while working through an online Compassion Cultivation Training module developed by the Courage of Care Coalition.

April 2019: “Compassion Training for Field Supervisors”
Developed and facilitated a workshop for Social Workers throughout Maine.

April 2019: “Sustainable Compassion for Family Nurse Practitioners.”
Invited speaker for the University of Southern Maine School of Nursing.

March 2019: “Season of Nonviolence” Lecture Series
Invited speaker at Unity Center for Spiritual Growth, Windham, ME.

February 2019:  Sustainable Compassion
Developed and facilitated a workshop for University of Southern Maine Counseling Services Staff and Trainees. 

February 2019:  Sustainable Compassion
Developed and facilitated a workshop for Service Learning Volunteers/Trainees at the University of Southern Maine. 

January - May 2019:  Faculty/Staff Compassion and Love Training
Faculty/staff practice group focused on love and compassion training in the context of doing antiracism work.  The group read How to Be An Antiracist, while working through an online Compassion Cultivation Training module developed by the Courage of Care Coalition.

 

March 2018:  “Embodied, Inclusive Leadership.”
Developed and facilitated a workshop at the Tim Hussey Leadership Summit.

Dr. Rebecca Nisetich

2020-present: Steering Committee Member
Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Council (IDEC), University of Southern Maine

2020-present: Curriculum Committee Co-chair
Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Council (IDEC), University of Southern Maine  

2020: Interim Faculty Chair
Intercultural and Diversity Advisory Council to the President, University of Southern Maine

2018-present: Diversity Committee Member
National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC)

2018-2019: Faculty Chair
University of Southern Maine, Gloria S. Duclos Convocation: “Race and Trauma.” 

2018-2019: Faculty Co-Chair
University of Southern Maine, Gloria S. Duclos Convocation: “Race and Participatory Democracy.” 

October 2021: “Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Anti-Racism Workshop.”
The National Collegiate Honors Council’s annual Conference

July 2021: “Reparative Teaching: Antiracism in the Classroom.”
Invited Speaker at The William Faulkner Society’s annual “Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha” Conference, Oxford, MS.  

June 2021: “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Honors Programs and Colleges: Approaches to Anti-Racism in Honors.”
Awarded a grant to create and facilitate a workshop for the National Collegiate Honors Council Summer Institute (online).

January - May 2021:  Antiracism Practice Group
Biweekly practice group for attendees of the 2020 Summer Antiracism Institute.

 

September - December 2020:  Antiracism Practice Group
Dr. Rebecca Nisetich led this biweekly practice group for attendees of the 2020 Summer Antiracism Institute.

November 2020: “#HonorsSoWhite? Representing Diverse Student Voices.”
Invited speaker at The National Collegiate Honors Council annual Conference (online).

Spring 2020: Common Read Facilitator Training.
In fall 2019, the University of Southern Maine announced its very first “Common Read,” Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist. Dr. Nisetich and Sarah Lentz co-created a series of trainings to prepare faculty and staff facilitators to support Common Read discussion groups. Our trainings focused on embodied practices designed to enable leaders to create a container in which participants could engage with this text fully, deeply, and safely. This was especially important because discussion groups included students, faculty, staff, and community members. Our facilitators needed the tools to be able to hold space, and also to navigate power dynamics depending on who showed up on any given day. Additionally, the facilitator trainings helped the university to support discussion groups that had similar tenor and learning goals.

Dr. Kendi's 2021 Commencement speech

May 2019: “Mark Twain and Margaret Garner: Personhood, Property, and Kinship in Puddn’head Wilson.”
Speaker at the American Literature Association Annual Conference, Boston, MA. 

March 2019: “The Slave Cabin as Liminal Queer Space.”
Speaker at the Southeast American Studies Association Conference, Atlanta, GA.

2018-2019: Faculty Leader for “Let’s Talk About It.” 
Maine Humanities Council discussion series (theme: Race and Family) at Topsham Public Library.

July 2018: “The Slave Cabin as Liminal Space in Faulkner’s Light in August.”
The William Faulkner Society’s annual “Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha” Conference, Oxford, MS.

May 2018: “The Architecture of Exclusion: Law and Race in Twain and Beatty.”
Trouble Begins Lecture Series, Center for Mark Twain Studies, Elmyra, NY. 

2017 - 2018: “Let’s Talk About It”
Creator of Book Group Reading List (theme: Race and Family) for the Maine Humanities Council.

October 2017: “Teaching Race in Maine: Exploring the Archives.”
Speaker at the Black New England Conference, Durham, NH. 

March 2016: “Passing out of Race: Leaving the South in Faulkner and Chesnutt.”
The Society for the Study of Southern Literature, Boston, MA

March 2016: “Non-Identity, Dis-Identity: Contesting Identities in Modern American Literature.”
New England Modern Language Association Conference, Hartford, CT.