Diversity, Learning, and Student Success: Policy, Practice, Privilege

2014 Diversity, Learning, and Student Success: Policy, Practice, Privilege

March 27, 2014 to March 29, 2014
The Westin Michigan Avenue
909 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Promoting increased social mobility requires reexamining a wide range of economic, health, social, and education policies.  Higher education has always been a key way for poor Americans to find opportunities to transform their economic circumstances.  In a time of rising inequality and low social mobility, improving the quality of and access to education has the potential to increase equality of opportunity for all Americans.

-Advancing Opportunity, Prosperity, and Growth
The HAMILTON Project

Increasing student success has become a driving force for innovation, leadership, and change—both in terms of policy initiatives and on campus. But how well are our student success interventions working for those who most need them?  How can we best combine initiatives that increase access and completion with initiatives that seek to empower all students with the knowledge and skills they need for success in the workplace and to contribute to the well-being of our pluralistic and global society?

Diversity, Learning, and Student Success: Policy, Practice, Privilege will focus on student success interventions that hold the most promise for first- generation students, low-income students, and students from groups that traditionally have been poorly served in higher education.  With an explicit focus on “making excellence inclusive,” the conference also will explore the role of diversity in student success, examining—through research studies and model programs—culturally attentive student support initiatives that help increase student persistence and educational practices that prepare all students to navigate a pluralistic world.  Sessions will feature evidence-based research and robust student success and diversity initiatives from all parts of higher education. 

U.S. higher education, and the society it serves, already have benefited immeasurably from higher education’s commitment to increased diversity on campus and to engagement with difference across the curriculum.  But the work on diversity and equity is far from finished and higher education as a whole remains riddled with structures that reinforce privilege and with policies that reinforce inequity.  Inequities abound in funding policies across institutional types and limit access to innovative teaching and learning practices while the achievement gap persists.  To truly make excellence inclusive, educators, policymakers, and business leaders must provide resources, enact policies, and foster practices that explicitly link diversity, learning, and success for all students. 

Diversity, Learning, and Student Success will examine the ways in which higher education, society, and government must work together to dismantle policies and practices that support educational divides and inequities.  The conference will bring educators together to address difficult questions related to student success and to explore the intersection of diversity, high-quality teaching, and student learning.  Participants will discuss strategies to redefine the notions of privilege to ensure all students benefit from America’s rich educational system to fulfill their highest educational aspirations and to advance democracy’s ideals. They will also address emerging innovations and various modes of online learning, some of which may seem like opportunities to increase access and success, but could in fact disrupt the success of students they were intended to help.