Plenary Sessions

Keynote Address • Thursday, March 19, 7:00–8:00 p.m.

Framing Possibilities for Collective Action in Higher Education: The Role of Intersectionality

Scholarship often limits the discussion of intersectionality to a concept used for framing the confluence of multiple systems of oppression that simultaneously and disproportionately affect minoritized populations. However, intersectionality is not simply a concept. Intersectionality is actionable and can be positioned as theory, methodology, and praxis. In this keynote, Dr. Lori Patton Davis will challenge limited ideas about intersectionality and discuss strategies for framing possibilities for collective action in higher education through a lens grounded in intersectional justice.

Lori Patton Davis, PhD is one of the most highly respected, accomplished and influential scholars in the field of higher education. She is author of more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and other academic publications appearing in venues such as The Journal of Higher EducationTeachers College RecordJournal of College Student DevelopmentUrban Education and International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Her research has been cited in more than 6,000 publications and funded by grants from the Spencer Foundation, Lumina Foundation, American Psychological Foundation and an array of other entities. She has served on seven editorial boards for journals in the field of education and was previously associate editor of QSE. She was the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division J Equity and Inclusion Officer for six years. The American College Personnel Association (ACPA) members elected her to a two-year term as the first Director of Equity and Inclusion on the Association’s national governing board. Lori has received many national awards for her scholarly contributions and was recognized in the Edu-Scholar Rankings among the top 200 educators in the United States. She is a frequently sought-after expert on a wide range of education topics. The Chronicle of Higher EducationInside Higher EdHuffington PostDiverse Issues in Higher Education and dozens of other media outlets have quoted Lori and featured her research. She has also advised university presidents and other senior administrators, philanthropic foundation executives, culture center directors, and educators in urban K-12 schools.


Lori Patton Davis, Chair of the Department of Educational Studies—The Ohio State University





Plenary • Friday, March 20, 9:00–10:00 a.m.

Educating First-Generation Equity Practitioners to be Race-Conscious

Higher education professionals generally are racially illiterate. Dr. Bensimon lifts off the “first-generation” label of students and applies it to faculty to call attention to their racial illiteracy and its detrimental consequences for their ability to educate minoritized students fairly, equitably, successfully, and with fidelity. Drawing on the work of the Center for Urban Education, Dr. Bensimon will discuss the creation of structured learning settings for teams of first-generation equity practitioners to have a first conversation about the classroom as a racialized space by engaging in a structured examination of their teaching artifacts (such as syllabi), structures (such as the classroom), routines (such as pedagogical practices and office hours), and processes (such as hiring). 

Estela Mara Bensimon is Dean’s Professor in Educational Equity at the USC Rossier School of Education and Director of the Center for Urban Education, which she founded in 1999. Professor Bensimon’s critical action research agenda has been supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Teagle Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the National Science Foundation, ECMC Foundation, College Futures Foundation, and The James Irvine Foundation.

Dr. Bensimon has published extensively about equity, organizational learning, practitioner inquiry and change. Her most recent books include Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education (co-edited with Ana Martinez-Aleman and Brian Pusser) which was selected as the 2016 Outstanding Publication by the American Educational Research Association, Division of Postsecondary Education; Engaging the Race Question: Accountability and Equity in US Higher Education (with Alicia C. Dowd), Confronting Equity Issues on Campus: Implementing the Equity Scorecard in Theory and Practice (coedited with Lindsey Malcom).


Estela Mara Bensimon, Dean’s Professor in Educational Equity and Director, Center for Urban Education—University of Southern California





Closing Plenary • Saturday, March 21, 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.

Full Participation in Twenty-First-Century Academe: Beware the Shrinking Imagination

In the evolution of our democracy, we are at a critical time that requires activating the true “work of imagining” within social institutions and networks. The 21st-century academy is well positioned to advance theory, discourses, and action that can play an ameliorative role in that regard. Publicly engaged scholarship brings to bear capacious strategies for deep knowledge-making that can lead to substantive impact. Dr. Eatman’s talk will explore the power of Full Participation (see catalyst paper) as a framework that leverages interdisciplinary culturally rich work to accomplish these goals. Employing multimodal expressions and devices, Dr. Eatman places special emphasis on the need for cultural change that addresses the stifling gravity of inequity and the promise the methodologies and strategies from the humanities, arts, and community organizing offer for substantive change.

Timothy K. Eatman, Ph.D., an educational sociologist and publicly engaged scholar, serves as the inaugural dean of the Honors Living Learning Community (HLLC) and Associate Professor in the department of Urban Education at Rutgers University - Newark. Prior to this his primary network of operation and leadership for over a decade was with Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA) serving as Director of Research (2004 – 2012) and Faculty Co-Director (2012 to 2017). Tim’s national association leadership continues as one of three national co-chairs of the Urban Research Action Network (URBAN) and as board vice chair (chair elect) of the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) which awarded him the 2010 Early Career Research Award. A widely sought-after speaker, workshop facilitator, and collaborator who has earned local, national and international recognition for his leadership in advancing understandings about the multi-faceted impact of publicly engaged scholarship in the university of the 21st century. This year he was recognized by the University of Illinois College of Education with its 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award.


Timothy K. Eatman, Inaugural Dean, Honors Living Learning Community and Associate Professor of Urban Education—Rutgers University-Newark