Tusculum hosting talk on implicit bias; Tennessee officials to present voter registration award

A staff member of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati will deliver an informative talk Thursday, Jan. 24, at Tusculum University about the impact of implicit bias in society.

Ryan Wynett, manager of the implicit bias initiative at the freedom center, will deliver his talk, “OPEN YOU MIND: A Deep Dive to Understanding Bias” at 5 p.m. in the Meen Center lecture hall. The free event is part of Tusculum’s celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and is open the university’s students, faculty and staff as well as the community.

In addition to Wynett’s presentation, Tre Hargett, Tennessee’s secretary of state, and state Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, will attend to honor Tusculum as one of three winners of the 2018 Tennessee College Voter Registration Competition. Carmyn Tassone and Hanna Johnson, two members of Tusculum Bonner Leaders Program who spearheaded a voter registration drive in September at Tusculum that added 39 students to the rolls, will receive the award from Hargett.

“We are thrilled to have Ryan join us and share valuable information about how bias can influence our thought process even if we are not conscious it is happening,” said Dr. Madison Sowell, Tusculum’s provost and vice president of academic affairs. “It is also an honor to have Secretary Hargett and Rep. Hawk join us to celebrate the great work by our students to increase participation in the electoral process. Both of these activities are excellent ways to honor the legacy of Dr. King and demonstrate how we can make a positive difference in our community.”

Wynett graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in communications and then contributed to two self-help books – “You: Staying Young” and “You: Having a Baby,” both of which are rooted in cognitive and evolutionary biology. Both books made the New York Times best-seller list.

From 2009-2011, Wynett worked for the New York Consulting Practice in Manhattan, which is focused on furthering the legacy of the late management theorist, Peter Drucker. For the next three years, he pursued graduate studies in cognitive psychology at the University of Texas before he joined the freedom center staff in 2014 at the invitation of a former chairman of the freedom center’s board, who was looking for new ideas to incorporate into the facility’s offerings.

“My goal is to change the way people think about the way they think,” Wynett said.

For more information about this event, please contact Courtney Washburn at 423-636-7300 Ext. 5252 or Dr. Ronda Gentry at 423-636-7300 Ext. 5216.