The Forum

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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

The 2017 AnBryce 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 University life.  We use as our reference point the experience and background of our own students , who are first-generation, low-income, and in many cases, students of color.   The Forum is designed to be an expansive conversation among students, faculty, administrators and alumni not only from Notre Dame, but from guest institutions. 

The following panels and lectures will be held in meeting rooms and the auditorium of McKenna Hall.  Please also take a moment to read the statements of several students from the AnBryce program who talk about being on “the margins,” which will be placed on easels in rooms throughout McKenna. 

To facilitate a good, conversational atmosphere, several events are accompanied by receptions or meals; and snacks and beverages will always be available at the time of panels and lectures in a room near the event that day.

Monday, November 6, 3:30pm, McKenna Hall Auditorium

Unique Challenges Faced by First-Generation Students at 21st Century Colleges and Universities: A View from the Trenches
Lourdes Andrade, Associate Director of the Leland Scholars Program, Stanford University; Dr. Nimisha Barton, Associate Director of the Freshmen Scholars Institute, Princeton University; Melissa Foy, Director of the Georgetown Scholarship Program, Georgetown University; Dr. Nate French, Director of the Magnolia Scholars Program, Wake Forest University; Dr. Paulette G. Curtis, Faculty Director, AnBryce Scholars Initiative, University of Notre Dame (moderator)

Administrators from Georgetown, Stanford, Princeton and Wake Forest will discuss the ins and outs of managing programs that support the burgeoning first-generation student population at elite colleges and universities.  Please join us for an insider’s view of the history, evolution and challenges inherent in this enterprise.

Monday, November 6, 5:30pm, McKenna Hall Auditorium– Keynote Address
Our Nation’s Professoriate, Diversity and Racism: The Five Truths We Don’t Want to Confront

Dr. Marybeth Gasman, Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania


Following a brief overview of the 2017 AnBryce Forum and an address entitled, “What Kneeling Football Players, Charlottesville Marchers and Commencement Walk-Outs Have to Teach Us about the Margins at Notre Dame,” Dr. Paulette G. Curtis, the Faculty Director of the AnBryce Scholars Initiative at the University of Notre Dame, will introduce keynote speaker, Professor Marybeth Gasman, Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania, who will speak candidly about the lack of diversity in Higher Education. Prof. Gasman’s remarks will draw upon her extensive academic career, which has focused on the history of American higher education, Minority Serving Institutions, racism and diversity, fundraising and philanthropy, and higher education leadership. Please join us for what promises to be a thought-provoking lecture and a great kick-off to the 2017 AnBryce Forum.
A reception following the keynote will begin at 7pm in the McKenna Hall Atrium. Registration is not required, but will assist in determining reception numbers.  Register


Tuesday, November 7, 3:30-4:45pm, McKenna Hall room 112

Race and the Inclusive Classroom
Emmanuel Cannady,  PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, Notre Dame; Prof. Charlice Hurst, Mendoza College of Business, Notre Dame; Prof. Francisco Robles, Department of English, Notre Dame; Zoe Walker, Notre Dame; Prof. Dé Bryant, Department of Psychology, Indiana University South Bend (Moderator)

Faculty from the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University, along with a student interlocutor from Notre Dame, will examine the ways that race matters in the classroom, a space not simply shaped by an educational agenda but also impacted by complex social dynamics.  Students who are both in the Notre Dame  “majority” and those whom are often defined as “minorities” within its structure will walk away with a deeper understanding of this topic.  This panel, which will be moderated by Prof. Dé Bryant, is the first of two dedicated to understanding the classroom experience.

Tuesday, November 7, 5-6:30pm, McKenna Hall room 112

Standing Out and Fitting In: How Low-Income Students Navigate Campus Life at Wealthy Institutions
Elicia Dennis (‘18), Notre Dame; David Kolet-Mandrikov (’17), Princeton University; Courtney Perales Reyes (‘17), Princeton University; Fax Victor (’19), Georgetown University; Prof. Erin McDonnell, Department of Sociology, Notre Dame (Moderator)

An open and provocative discussion about the myriad challenges low-income students face at institutions where many students are from higher economic strata.  Using their own experiences as a touchstone, panelists from Princeton, Georgetown and Notre Dame will speak about the culture of their institutions, as well as the successes and blind spots of programs meant to support low-income students.

Tuesday, November 7, 7pm, McKenna Hall room 112

Why Do All the “X” Students Sit Together?: Thinking About Belonging and the Social Politics of Separation and Inclusion
Qai Gordon (‘18), President of the Black Students Association, Notre Dame; Gregory Jenn (’18), President of the Latino Students Association, Notre Dame; Alyssa Ngo (’18), President of the Vietnamese Students Association; Dr. Paulette G. Curtis, Faculty Director, AnBryce Scholars Initiative, University of Notre Dame (moderator)


Student leaders from the Black Student Association (BSA), the Latino Student Association (LSA) and the Vietnamese Students Association (VSA) will discuss the importance of their organizations’ role in facilitating students’ sense of belonging and will provide an insider’s view of the experience of students of color at the University of Notre Dame. 


Wednesday, November 8, 12:15pm, McKenna Hall room 210

Being DACA in the “Age” of Trump: A Legal Perspective
Prof. Alina Das, professor of Clinical Law, Co-Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law; Prof. Luis Fraga, Rev. Donald P. McNeill Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership, Chair of Political Science and Director of the Institute for Latino Studies.

Professor Alina Das, professor of Clinical Law and Co-Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University (NYU) School of Law, will offer insights into the contemporary legal landscape for immigrants since the Trump administration took office in January 2017. Given the heated discussions around sanctuary campuses and how colleges and universities will manage in the face of the changing laws and regulations, Prof. Das’ lecture will offer unique insights into the contemporary reality regarding this topic.  Rev. Donald P. McNeill Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership Luis Fraga, who is also the Chair of Political Science and Director of the Institute for Latino Studies. Register

◊ Wednesday, November 8, 3:30pm, McKenna Hall room 210

Intersectionality and the Inclusive Classroom
Deandra Cadet, InterAction, South Bend; Nicholas Furnari (‘18), Notre Dame; Dr. Essaka Joshua, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, Notre Dame; Dr. April Lidinsky, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, Indiana University South Bend; Prof. Terri Russ, Department of Communication Studies, Saint Mary’s College; Julio Salazar (’18), Notre Dame; Prof. Stuart Greene, Department of Africana Studies, Notre Dame (moderator)

The second of two panels dedicated to understanding complex social dynamics in the classroom, with panelists drawn from Notre Dame, St. Mary’s College and Indiana University, as well as the ND student body.  This panel, also moderated by Prof. Greene, will examine the intersecting factors  – race, class/financial status, gender, sexual orientation –  that shape student and faculty experiences in the classroom.

◊ Wednesday, November 8, 5:30pm, McKenna Hall Auditorium

Scholarship Athletes: Challenges, Pressures and Expectations
Steve Filer ’12, football; Eric Atkins ’14, men’s basketball; Jade Barber & Kaila Barber ’15, women’s track & field; Dr. Gabriel Torres Colon, Assistant Director and Senior Lecturer in American Studies, Vanderbilt University (moderator)


Scholarship athletes, who appear to be exalted “insiders,”  face many pressures at universities like Notre Dame, where they are expected to not only be skilled on “the field” but good students who are able to juggle their academic lives.  Recent alums from football, men’s basketball and women’s track will discuss the complex realities they navigated as athletes, including stereotypes, parity in the classroom, work/life balance and how they struggled to “do it all” and at what cost to their experience of campus life.  They will also touch upon the other social categories that weighed upon their experience, namely financial status and race.    Dr. Gabriel Torres Colon, from Vanderbilt University, will moderate this exciting panel. A reception will follow at 7pm to mark the end of the 2017 AnBryce Forum. Registration is not required, but will allow us to determine reception numbers. Register

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.  

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