Skip to main content
Decorative Header Image

Signature Events and Programs

Peabody Dean’s Diversity Lecture

“Peabody College strives to be a community wherein people of all backgrounds can feel both welcomed and intellectually engaged,” said Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development. “We are proud to offer these lectures, performances and workshops as part of our commitment to making Vanderbilt more equitable, diverse and inclusive.” 

The Dean’s Diversity Lecture Series is a forum designed to host frank and open discussions about race, diversity and inclusion.

Dean's Diversity Lecture

2021 Peabody Dean's Diversity Lecture: Learotha Williams and Amie Thurber
I'll Take You There: Exploring Nashville's Social Justice Sites

To view a video of the lecture, click here.

Before there were guidebooks, there were just guides—people in the community you could count on to show you around. I'll Take You There is written by and with the people who most intimately know Nashville, foregrounding the struggles and achievements of people's movements toward social justice. The colloquial use of "I'll take you there" has long been a response to the call of a stranger: for recommendations of safe passage through unfamiliar territory, a decent meal and place to lay one's head, or perhaps a watering hole or juke joint. Join us for a discussion with the book's editors, Professors Amie Thurber and Learotha Williams, as they share their experiences of collecting the stories of over a hundred Nashvillians that speak to issues of place, power, and the historic and ongoing struggle toward a more just city for all.

Amie Thurber is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University; Learotha Williams Jr. is a professor of African American, Civil War and Reconstruction, and Public History at Tennessee State University and coordinator of the North Nashville Heritage Project.

I'll Take You There: Exploring Nashville's Social Justice Sites is published by the Vanderbilt University Press.

View past Dean's Diversity Lectures here.

Book Talk with Dean Cynthia Dillard

Cynthia Dillard, dean of the College of Education at Seattle University, discussed her book, The Spirit of Our Work: Black Women Teachers (Re)member, at a virtual event on January 24, 2022. Dillard’s book explores how engaging identity and cultural heritage can transform teaching and learning for Black women educators in the name of justice and freedom in the classroom. She centers the spiritual lives of Black women educators and their students, arguing that spirituality has guided Black people throughout the diaspora. She demonstrates how Black women teachers and teacher educators can heal, resist and remember their identities in ways that are empowering for them and their students.

The event was sponsored by the Peabody Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; the Initiative for Race Research and Justice; the Vanderbilt Community Lab for the Intersectional Study of Black Women and Girls in Society; the Racial Justice Lab in the Department of Philosophy; and the Grand Challenge Initiative in Racial Justice and the Third Reconstruction in the College of Arts and Science. A VU ID is required to access the recording.

In response to feedback we received from previous lectures, we offered a new opportunity to further the discussion on Pedagogies of Love and Abolitionist Teachings. In February 2020, students, faculty and staff gathered for an informal conversation over lunch facilitated by Peabody’s Dr. Nicole Joseph and Dr. Luis Leyva. Attendees were invited to share their takeaways, ideas for next steps, and suggestions via index cards. Information from the index cards have been compiled onto a Google Doc that can be found  HerePlease feel free to add your own comments, suggestions, questions and ideas. All feedback is welcome and will be used to inform future Dean’s Diversity Lectures, campus programming and visioning.

Lunch and Learn Graphic

Community Connections

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, on September 18, 2020, EDI partnered with Vanderbilt's Office of Community Relations (in the Division of Government and Community Relations) to sponsor "The Legacy of Ida and Frankie: Women of Color and Civic Engagement," a discussion on the historical fight for Black women's suffrage by Ida B. Wells and Frankie Pierce.

An Evening w/ Council Member Zulfat Suara

On November 15th, 2019, Vanderbilt campus members welcomed Metro Council Member-At-Large Zulfat Suara for our second Peabody Connects Event. Councilmember Suara is the first Muslim woman elected in the state of Tennessee and the first Nigerian-American elected in the United States. 

Faculty Face Time Fridays

Faculty Face Time Fridays were created to bring students and faculty together in an informal, conversational setting. Here at Peabody, across all departments, we have faculty who are engaged in innovative research and have inspiring life stories. This event creates a bridge between students and faculty to build relationships and share interests and faculty more accessible to students. This series was created in Summer 2020 and will continue into the Fall on a monthly basis. Please enjoy the recorded Faculty Face Time Fridays sessions below. 

Maury Nation & Marcy Singer Gabella – 6/12 

Chris da Silva – 6/19

Catherine Loss – 6/26

Nicole Joseph – 7/10

Rich Milner - 7/17

Luis Leyva - 7/24

Corbette Doyle - 7/31 

Duane Watson - 8/7

Lisa Fazio - 10/2

Sarah Suiter - 10/16

Andrea Capizzi - 11/20

Eve Rifkin - 12/6

Georgene Troseth, 3/12/21

Joanne Golann and Kelly Slay, 9/24/21

Meg Saylor, 10/8/21

Xiu Cravens, 3/18/22

Andy Hostetler, 7/19/22


Narrative Circles 

Circles of Trust

We welcome you to join us for the Narrative Circles workshops. These workshops provide an affirming space for developing relationships and building community, as well as an opportunity for professional development. 
The Narrative Circles approach uses narrative theory intended to create a shared exploration in which each individual's multi-storied self is affirmed. A welcoming and safe space is created for affirmation and connection across lines of difference so that we learn to take a values-based approach to how we exist and interact with each other.  Students will also be provided with professional development on how to incorporate elements of circles into practice. Anyone attending three or more sessions will receive certification for workshop participation. All Peabody graduate and professional students are welcomed to participate.

Crucial Conversations 

The EDI Office held two Peabody Crucial Conversations in June 2020 to provide brave spaces to discuss incidents of racialized violence against the Black community.  This name came from an organization founded in 2013 by doctoral student Richard Blisset, who led Crucial Conversations at Peabody that led to University wide efforts related to EDI.  The current efforts sought to recognize and honor these earlier, student-led efforts.  The events garnered several suggestions from faculty, students, and staff about possible EDI policies and programs.  In addition, the office received emails and calls from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and followed the larger Vanderbilt conversation around structural racism.  The data from recent calls to action from Vanderbilt and Peabody alumni and students, feedback from the Crucial Conversation Series, and conversations with office personnel were compiled to produce thirteen suggestions that arose from these initiatives. Here are the thirteen suggestions for advancing equity and anti-racism which emerged from discussions with the Peabody community.  The EDI Office is working with the Faculty EDI Committee, academic departments, as well as other offices across the college to prioritize and address the suggestions on the document.  


A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table strives to provide a space to build community and combat stereotypes among different faith communities by helping initiate and develop meaningful relationships between participants, and by encouraging all to reach across the table in friendship.

 Spoken Justice

Alright Spoken Justice Event

Designed as a study break and a space to reflect, recharge, commune, express, and hear for professional and graduate students, the night built on notions of community and healing, inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s Alright and album To Pimp a Butterfly. To Pimp a Butterfly served as inspiration for the evening’s poetry readings, discussions, and the process of de-Institutionalization. Peabody students; works by Peabody alumna and author, Valencia Clement; and the works of Dr. Bettina Love were featured.

Sponsored By: Peabody Coalition of Black Graduates
Peabody Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Organization of Black Graduate & Professional Students

Peabody EDI Town Hall

Town Hall
Peabody Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion hosts a town hall each semester. The town hall last Fall semester was for graduate and professional students only, to encourage students to present complete and honest portrayals of their campus experiences. Co-Sponsored by: Peabody Coalition of Black Graduates, Peabody Queering Education and Development.