2021 DESS Conference Plenary Sessions

Conference Welcome and Keynote Address

Wednesday, March 24 from 3:30-4:30 pm ET

Truth and Dare: A Call for Accountability and Action in Higher Education

Equity, diversity, and democracy are espoused values of higher education. Yet, policies, practices, and people in academia consistently operate to undermine and jeopardize these ideals. Lori Patton Davis will unpack the uncomfortable truths about equity, diversity, and democracy and how they have been cloaked in alternative facts that impede student success. She will conclude with a dare to engage in accountability and action to transform higher education. 

Patton.jpgLori Patton Davis, Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs and Chair of the Department of Educational Studies - The Ohio State University 





Closing Plenary

Friday, March 26 from 3:00-4:00 pm ET

Upholding Diversity, Equity, and Democracy: Students' Perspectives

During this conference, we have focused on the role of higher education in upholding the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion in sustaining our democracy. As educators, policymakers, and administrators discuss the importance of higher education in guiding students on a journey of discovery, what are students experiencing and how are they perceiving the implementation of various programs and initiatives designed to improve their education? Are educators successfully preparing the next generation of leaders and thinkers to embrace core principles such as civility, equity, diversity, and the free exchange of ideas? This student-led discussion, moderated by Lynn Pasquerella, president of AAC&U, will highlight the experiences of students on campuses that are serving as host institutions and strategic partners with AAC&U to build just and equitable communities as part of Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers. TRHT is a comprehensive national and community-based process to address the historical and contemporary effects of racism to bring about transformative and sustainable change.


lynnpasquerella_125px.jpgLynn Pasquerella, President, AAC&U






Barnes_0.jpgNailah Barnes, Spelman College 





Boko.jpgSemassa Boko, University of California - Irvine





Grant-III.jpgRoysworth Grant, III, Brown University





Smith.jpgEthan Smith, Austin Community College