Navigating the Margins: Diversity, Inclusion and Access at the University of the 21st Century
November 6-8, 2017
McKenna Hall Auditorium
University of Notre Dame
Who are we?
The AnBryce Scholars Initiative (ABSI) at the University of Notre Dame began in 2013 with a generous gift from Mr. Anthony and Ambassador Beatrice Welters. The Welters sought to bring a program to Notre Dame that would support first-generation, low-income students whose high school successes, personal fortitude and drive in the face of economic hardships and adversity indicate their potential leadership on a larger stage. Support from the AnBryce program consists of academic mentorship all four years of college, professional and personal development events, tailored immersion experiences in Europe and the U.S., as well as health insurance and support for out-of-pocket and unexpected expenses incurred by students. A very significant aspect of the AnBryce program is the cultivation of community through monthly “talk back” sessions and social events, where AnBryce students can be themselves and talk about the challenges of navigating Notre Dame, whether those challenges are academic, social or personal. Race, class, privilege, economic hardship and adversity are topics that frequently emerge in these discussions. These conversations are honest and thoughtful meditations on what it means to be a first-generation, low-income student at an elite institution in the 21st Century.
The Genesis of the Forum
The AnBryce Forum is an outgrowth of the mission and values of ABSI. We envision the AnBryce Forum as a continuation of our conversations, a campus-wide dialogue in which faculty, students, administrators and others meet to discuss the challenges that Universities face in fulfilling their missions to make college campuses more inclusive, diverse and accessible. Based on the richness of the conversations that took place during various panels from the first AnBryce Forum in November 2015, we believe that the Forum is an important opportunity for the Notre Dame campus. Its goal is not only to inform and to spark discussion and debate, but to promote understanding and change in a deep, meaningful way. Based on the lived, close-to-the ground quality of many of the panels and discussions, we believe the Forum has the potential to impact the worldview of a wide range of actors, to shape the policies and agendas of University decision-makers and to influence the ethos of the University and the larger academy. We also believe the Forum is an opportunity for professional and personal development for our students, many of whom will participate on panels, and help staff advertise and manage events. We also anticipate incorporating other students in our planning, making this a true campus event.
Reflections on our Inaugural Forum
The first AnBryce Forum, Class, College and the American Dream, explored the ways that “class,” defined as the strata occupied by actors who are aligned by a range of economic and social factors, shapes the college experience, and how in turn, college may be a means of social mobility. Panels included discussions of the impact of class differences on academic learning environments; the intersections of race and class in students’ social experiences of Notre Dame in a range of environments (like residence halls and social events); and a discussion led by formerly poor and working-class Notre Dame faculty who discussed their own experiences of marginality while navigating college and their post-college careers. A keynote address, offered by provocateur Peter Sacks, explored how colleges and universities (often counter-intuitively) stand in the way of students ascending the class ladder. Student narratives on billboards that were placed outside of Forum meeting rooms. These narratives were reflections from several AnBryce students who talked in personal terms about the difficulties of navigating Notre Dame as first-generation, low-income, and/or students of color.
The AnBryce Forum 2017
The AnBryce Forum will be structured similarly to the 2015 Forum. It will include a keynote address, panels, and will also draw from other “spin-off” events that are presently being planned by both the AnBryce Program and the Office of the Provost under Professor and Associate VP, Hugh Page; these panels will incorporate administrators and faculty from other institutions, expanding the discussion and the potential range of Forum events.
This year’s Forum will examine how those who are on the University’s “margins” – those who are often perceived to be, or perceive themselves to be, on the outside looking in – navigate the University life. Here, we use as our marginal “reference point” the experience and background of our own students, who are first-generation, low-income, and in many cases, students of color. Our panels will include students, faculty, alumni and administrators, and guests from other Universities.
◊ Unique Challenges Faced by First-Generation Students at 21st Century Colleges and Universities: A View from Administrators and Practitioners
Here we will explore how several national universities seek and integrate first-generation students. We’ll discuss what initiatives are working and thriving and what initiatives need further developing. This panel will include administrators from schools attending our First Generation Conference.
◊ Standing Out and Fitting In: How Low-Income Students Navigate Campus Life at Wealthy Institutions
We welcome students from not only Notre Dame, but other leading institutions like Stanford and Georgetown to talk openly about their integration into college life. Students will be candid about ways they see the university fosters their integration and ways in which they have initiated their belonging and the inclusion of others.
◊ Being a DACA or Undocumented Student in the Age of Trump: A reflection by Alina Das, Co-Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law
Ms. Das will discuss her work with student immigrants and the unique challenges faced by those with DACA, Dreamer or undocumented status. Register
◊ Why do all the “X” students sit together?: Thinking About Belonging and the Social Politics of Separation and Inclusion
Several AnBryce Scholars will join their Notre Dame peers to discuss why they gravitate towards similar social groups. They will reflect on the transition from often very cohesive friend groups at home and how they intentionally or unintentionally try to replicate those groups at school.
◊ Scholarship Athletes: Challenges, Pressures, Expectations
With support from the Notre Dame Athletics Program, recent alumni who were scholarship athletes dive into what it was like to live a sort of odd, exalted status on campus, while also having to blend-in in class and do solid work in the athletic arena. They will discuss stereotypes attached to athletes, parity, work/life balance and how many struggled to “do it all” and at what cost to their various areas of campus life. Register
◊ Just How Do We Diversify the Academy? University Inclusion and Diversity Officers and Faculty Discuss the Question
Led by Dr. Hugh Page, Jr, several administrators and professors from Notre Dame will come together to discuss efforts at the highest levels of the university to address concerns over inclusion and diversity and what that really means within the academy.
◊ Intersectionality and Race in the Classroom
Professor Stuart Greene, Professor of Africana Studies and English, will gather colleagues from Notre Dame and local colleges to discuss how academic professionals see and respond to diversity and inclusivity in their classrooms.
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