Diversity, Learning, and Student Success 2016: Pre-Conference Workshops

Thursday, March 17, 2016; 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Separate registration and fee required ($100 members; $150 non-members); seating will be limited, so register early.

Generating an Inclusive and Engaging Classroom Experience
The curriculum, classroom structure, pedagogy, assignments, assessment, and disciplinary approaches are all elements that can contribute to generating a dynamic and synergistically inclusive classroom learning experience. Workshop participants will consider research-informed instructional practices along with institutional and departmental efforts that have proved effective in equitably engaging all campus constituents in generating, sharing, and sustaining discovery and knowledge.  Participants will experience some of the methods practically demonstrated during the workshop and will receive references and resources to make changes and adaptations on their home campuses. 
A.T. Miller, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Diversity—Cornell University

Student, Faculty, and Community Engagement: Essential Synergies for Student Success
This interactive workshop will engage participants in thoughtful discussion, critical analysis, tool sharing and action planning toward essential supports for cultivating healthy campus environments. Extant research demonstrates that engaging students with faculty and staff support in significant social issues with substantive connections to community-based partners and contexts can be effective in advancing knowledge and civic agency. Pivoting on "Full Participation" as a framework, which explores the nexus of diversity, community engagement, and student success, participants will take up three focus questions:

  1. Why is it important to strategically mitigate deficit minded assumptions about diversity learning and student success?
  2. What are key elements of high-quality learning experiences that facilitate student interests and challenge a deepening sense of purpose?
  3. How can faculty and student development professionals identify and optimize opportunities to catalyze their work through both policy and practice.

Large group discussions as well as creative work in smaller teams will draw upon case studies, participants' experiences, suggested readings, and other resources. Laptop computers are encouraged.
Timothy K. Eatman, Professor of Higher Education and Faculty Co-Director Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, Syracuse University 

Developing Real-world Assignments and Problem-solving Approaches to Teaching and Learning
One assumption impeding college success among historically underrepresented populations is that all these students need remediation to attain excellence.  Yet, they bring skills and mindsets that enable them to produce high-caliber work on assignments with real-world relevance. Emerging learning science research suggests ways to capitalize on these strengths while also bridging knowledge/skill gaps. One advantage of these approaches is that all students have the opportunity for deeper learning and developing competencies necessary for success. Participants will learn how to use problem-solving approaches to accomplish these goals; design assignments for specific teaching contexts that model real-world problem solving; and develop conventional assessment tools.
Amy Mulnix, Director of the Faculty Center, Franklin and Marshall College; and Betsy Yarrison, Assistant Professor, School of Communication Design, University of Baltimore

Creating Inclusion, Equity, and Excellence while Navigating the University's Political Terrain
The role of the Chief Diversity Officer in higher education continues to evolve as a position central to university leadership with increasing policy making authority. However, professionals holding these positons are faced with a myriad of challenges, many of which are political in nature.  These political issues can be analyzed using the Bolman and Deal political frame, which assumes organizations are coalitions of individuals and interest groups who negotiate for limited human and financial resources and unlimited power and authority.  Participants will discuss how to stimulate action-oriented strategies to navigate the university's political terrain while creating a campus environment anchored by inclusion, equity, and excellence.
William T. Lewis, Sr., Principal, Dr. William T. Lewis and Associates

Mainstreaming Culturally-grounded Evaluation Processes, Evaluative Thinking, and Reflective Practice in Higher Education
To what extent are curricular, cocurricular, pedagogical, and other intervention activities breathing life into the success vision for all students? To answer this question, one needs to be responsive to the ways in which, and the extent to which, evaluative judgments resonate with the meaning-making and the lived realities of those who are assessed. Workshop participants will examine how to better understand related systemic processes of asymmetric power relations and privilege and not simply awareness and knowledge of difference and diversity. More specifically, we will discuss in what ways and to what extent sociocultural diversity is associated with patterned differences in access, resource opportunities, and life chances.
Hazel Symonette, Program Development and Assessment Specialist, University of Wisconsin–Madison

It Takes More Than Luck:  Ensuring Quality and Advancing Equity Through Competency-Based Education   Competency-based education (CBE) advocates espouse that CBE programs open access to specific groups of students underserved by traditional forms of higher education.  The promise of CBE is that these programs can assure student learning, and produce better graduates at a lower cost and in a shorter amount of time. Yet, CBE dissenters question whether these programs present subpar learning opportunities and may exacerbate rather than diminish U.S. higher education system's two-tiered system.  This workshop will explore the possibilities for ensuring that CBE programs are designed well--to ensure both quality and greater equity in higher education.  Institutions exploring CBE as a possible approach to reach new student markets will find this pre-conference session helpful because participants will:

  • Hear why a competency-based pedagogical approach is uniquely able to serve the needs of a diverse student population;
  • Discuss how to expand access and address affordability concerns;
  • Learn the recipe for how to build a healthy and robust CBE program; and
  • Understand how to prove the value propositions often associated with CBE on their campuses.

Charla Long, Executive Director, Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) and Former Founding Dean—Lipscomb University College of Professional Studies; Eric A. Heiser, Interim Dean, School of Applied Technology and Technical Specialties—Salt Lake Community College; and Heidi Wilkes, Senior Director of Curriculum and Assessment Development, College for America—Southern New Hampshire University.