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Tilford Group History & Development

State of Kansas Tilford Conference, Dr. Michael P. Tilford and K-State Tilford Group History

Photos>Dr. TilfordThe Michael Tilford Conference on Diversity and Multiculturalism held annually since 1994 provides an opportunity for faculty, administrators and staff at the Kansas Regents institutions to expand their expertise in the academic areas of diversity and multiculturalism. Participants have the opportunity to explore strategies, exchange ideas about practical applications of diversity education, and establish collaborative efforts. Keynote presentations and Action Session workshops at this conference focus on building partnerships both inside and outside academia.

Originally named the Kansas Regents Conference, it was renamed to recognize the work of the late Dr. Michael P. Tilford from Wichita State University, who passed away on November 6, 1996. Dr. Tilford was one of Wichita State's representatives on the Regents Conference Planning Committee since its inception in 1994, and at the time of his death he was chairing the committee in preparation for the 1997 conference at Wichita State University.

In 1969 Dr. Tilford was one of 100 African-American educators from across the country who received Ford Foundation Grants for advanced graduate study, and received his doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Tilford also had earned the bachelor's degree from Langston University in mathematics and chemistry and the master's degree from Johns Hopkins University in science education. He was appointed dean of the Graduate School at Wichita State University in 1988 and associate vice president for Academic Affairs in 1994.

Dr. Tilford was co-chair of the North Central Association accreditation team at WSU, chair of the Kansas Graduate Deans, a member of the national organization Council of Graduate Schools, and past chair of the Midwestern Association for Graduate Schools. In the 1970s he served on a committee that developed a successful proposal for the minority studies program. In addition, he helped to conduct a study of the institutional commitment to "minorities" at WSU. Dr. Michael P. Tilford was a beloved colleague and friend to all who knew him, at WSU and around the state, region and nation, as well as on the Tilford Conference planning committee.

Main>Text LogoThe Kansas State University Tilford Group is an outgrowth of the statewide Michael Tilford Conference on Diversity and Multiculturalism. Since 1997, the Kansas State University Tilford Group has developed a multidimensional initiative to promote multicultural curriculum transformation.

The Tilford Group was led energetically by Dr. Juanita McGowan from 1997 until her retirement in 2012.

The K-State Tilford Group has identified multicultural competencies and related learning objectives. From 1999-2001 the Tilford Group conducted focus groups on campus with faculty and students, and consulted with many of the nation's top corporations and agencies to determine what credentials college students should have upon graduation. The competencies were compiled as a result of what emerged from those and subsequent discussions. In taking its investigations a step further, the group formed partnerships and led retreats with businesses and agencies to research diversity practices and policies. The group concluded that this kind of collaboration is critical if we are to:

  • understand the diversity training process;
  • identify multicultural competencies and learning objectives; and
  • develop curriculum goals that reflect the total student experience.