2019 Summit Sessions


Joseph Rios, Independent Scholar

The Cost of Inclusion: Addressing the Class Struggle When Engaging Students Outside the Classroom

While low-income first-generation students may understand that there are additional costs when attending college, they are impacted by the frequent and sometimes hidden costs of being fully engaged. Student organization dues, out of pocket expenses for study abroad and service trips, paying for food and lodging when residence halls are closed, forgoing income for unpaid internships. All of these experiences impact the ability to gain social capital and can put students at a disadvantage when competing with peers who have financial abilities of ignore these factors. Participants will identify what student affairs professionals can do to avoid putting students at an unintentional disadvantage, update policies and procedures, and work to intentionally include students from various class backgrounds.
(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)


Trish Moran & Emma Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Supporting a Culture of White Accountability on Campus

In Beverly Daniel Tatum’s work Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, she describes white persons’ accountability groups (WPAGs) as “A powerful way to build community among anti-racist Whites”. These groups, Tatum continues, “allow people to speak with more candor and honesty than is generally possible in mixed-race groups, avoid possibility of White people retraumatizing POCs, [and help] White people to get past feelings of guilt and shame and move into space of acceptance, where more effective ally work is possible.”

The presenters are part of MIT’s institute-wide WPAG consisting of faculty, staff, and graduate students, and are involved in efforts to expand the initiative within the Division of Student Life. Participants in this session can expect to engage in a candid dialogue about White power and privilege, and the possibilities and limitations of WPAGs in anti-racism work. Participants will also be provided with tools and language that can be helpful in advocating for White anti-racist groups at their own institutions. This session will draw from theoretical frameworks including Beverly Tatum’s work and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility.
(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)


Kirstin Kelley & Amanda Frost, Springfield College

Supervising People With (Dis)Abilities from a Social Justice Perspective

Concerned that some common student affairs practices are keeping your supervisees with disabilities from thriving in their role? Thinking about how mitigate barriers and create a more inclusive environment?

From the time you begin organizing a search and building an application to the time your employee leaves on their last day working with you the way you treat supervisees with disabilities has a strong impact on how successful they will be in the role. In this discussion-based presentation you’ll learn from people who have disabilities and who supervise staff with disabilities about processes and practices that work to create a more inclusive environment and allow staff with disabilities to thrive in their role.
(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)


Steven Feldman & Shalyn Hopley, University of Connecticut

From Space to People: An Assessment Project within the Asian American Cultural Center at UConn

This past year, we were recruited by the Asian American Cultural Center at the University of Connecticut to conduct an assessment on how their students utilize and conceptualize their space. This presentation will provide a general overview of the scope of the project, some of the findings, and areas for future assessment. Through group discussion, participants will gain knowledge on potential methods for conducting assessments of cultural centers, how to navigate the politics of assessing cultural centers, and finally, how one’s own identity plays a role in the assessment process.
(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level)


Ryan Theroux, Curry College

When the Conversation Gets Quiet — 10 Ways to Facilitate Discussions on Sensitive Social Justice Issues with First Year Students

This session will focus on strategies to facilitate difficult discussions involving topics of race, age, gender, religion, and sexuality with first year students. As first year students get acclimated to their institutions and experience a new learning environment and culture, it is inevitable that they will be exposed to issues involving equity and unity. Student affairs administrators and other members of the campus community, including faculty must be prepared for when incidents of social injustice occur on campus as these threaten the principles of an equitable and united campus. While challenging and potentially damaging to an institution’s reputation, incidents involving hate and discrimination and other negative behavior can provide opportunities for administrators and others to have difficult but meaningful conversations with first year students. It is our responsibility as higher education professionals to take the lead in facilitating these discussions and make our students feel safe and comfortable to discuss these issues by communicating to them in both small and large group settings (i.e. resident halls, classroom sessions, student forums, etc.). This session will explore ways in which these conversations can take place even when first year students may be reluctant to participate and communicate openly due to the sensitivity of these issues as well as being part of a new learning environment.
(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)


Melissa J Camba-Kelsay & Dr. Annemarie Vaccaro, University of Rhode Island

Enacting Racial Justice on Campus by Effectively Addressing Microaggressions

Microaggressions are “subtle and commonplace exchanges that somehow convey insulting or demeaning messages to people of color” (Constantine, 2007, p. 2). Racial microaggressions and other forms of intersectional oppression are a persistent reality on college campuses (Gildersleeve, Croom & Vasquez, 2011; Smith et al, 2016; Vaccaro & Camba-Kelsay, 2016; Yosso et al., 2009). Although the literature describing microaggression manifestations has proliferated, very few resources offer student affairs professionals successful strategies to combat microaggressions. This session is designed to help higher educators identify strategies to address microaggressions on campus. As a result of this session, participants will be able to: identify the various types of
microaggressions; situate microaggressions in a collegiate context by analyzing student narratives; identify successful (and unsuccessful) strategies for addressing microaggressions within their spheres of influence on campus.
(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)


Joanna N. Ravello, PhD & Alycia Mosley Austin, PhD, University of Rhode Island

If You Build It, They Will Come: Lessons Learned From Establishing a Micro-Credential in Diversity and Inclusion for Graduate Students

The Diversity & Inclusion Badge Program (DIBP) is a customizable micro-credential program to help graduate students gain a competitive edge in the job market. Still in its infancy, the DIBP offers graduate-level, professional development workshops that emphasize the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for cultural competence in a variety of environments. The program coordinators have worked with a range of graduate students, faculty, and staff across campus to design and implement the DIBP, resulting in varying levels of success. Upon achieving the learning outcomes, participants will be able to (a) describe the evolution of the DIBP, and (b) identify some of the rewards and challenges of working across groups to establish a micro-credential in diversity and inclusion for graduate students.(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)


Tanaisha Coleman, Alvin Han, Sonya Buglion-Gluck, University of Vermont

Authenticity in Higher Education: Moving Beyond Performance in Social Justice Conversations

Social justice has become a common framework for discussing social issues in higher education and particularly student affairs work. Staff members are expected to embody social justice values and promote equity in their work; however, engagement rarely goes beyond the surface level. This workshop is designed to deepen participants’ relationships with social justice work through interactive and reflective activities. Our goal is to offer a space for participants to be present in their authentic selves and explore how to elevate their social justice work. Participants will journal independently and share in small and large groups about their experiences regarding insecurities when it comes to social justice conversations. Lastly, we will ask participants to reflect on what self-work means for them, and moving forward, how can they be more intentional in their pursuit to further develop openness and a willingness to learn.
(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)


Emily Wall, Merrimack College

What is our social justice responsibility in teaching white students to become civically engaged?

“Service learning is being implemented mostly by white faculty with mostly white students at predominantly white institutions [PWIs] to serve mostly poor individuals and mostly people of color” (Mitchell, Donahue, & Young-Law, 2012). Given these findings, we pose the question what is the responsibility of new student affairs professionals to help ensure that white students at PWIs have a sense of their own privilege and are not operating from a white savior complex in their work with communities? Exploring our civic identities through our civic narratives (Ward, 2016) helps us understand our own biases and privilege in our work with communities. In addition to understanding our civic self, White Racial Development Theory (Helms, 1990) helps us understand whiteness and the subsequent need for a critical lens through which to examine white students’ comprehension of their racial identity and civic mindedness and commitments. As student affairs professionals understand themselves fully as civic minded professionals, they can help develop the next generation of civic learners and democratically engaged undergraduate students (NASPA, 2016). This session helps the next generation of student affairs professional consider themselves fully in advancing the work of civic engagement and social justice in and through higher education.
(New Professionals / Entry Level)


Brooke Gilmore & Elizabeth Richards, Southern New Hampshire University

Lessons in Allyship: Engaging White Colleagues in Anti-Racist Professional Development Efforts

This session will share lessons learned from the presenters’ experiences facilitating two guerrilla professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on white allyship and anti-racist practices as professionals at a predominantly white institution. We will discuss both positive outcomes and challenges from both series, organizing and assessment methods used, explore potential limitations to this work, and identify future opportunities and programs to continue to engage white colleagues on campus in this critical work. We will also discuss how these programs fit into larger institution-wide DEI efforts and have the potential to increase commitment to and participation in upcoming intergroup dialogue initiatives relating to the institution’s new DEI strategic plan.
(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)


Paige Ramsdell, University of Rhode Island

Creating an Inclusive Campus: Recognizing and Addressing Ableism to Promote Campus Access

In this session, we will discuss stereotypes commonly held about people with disabilities and the origins of those stereotypes. We will also take time to talk about “casual ableism,” how it shows up in media and every day exchanges as well as strategies that can be used to counteract ableism. The goals of this session are to help participants (a) understand and articulate stereotypes about people with disabilities, (b) assess the language they use and how it may be disempowering for individuals with disabilities, (c) identify and label ableism as they encounter it, and (d) use their understanding of ableism to be more thoughtful in their interactions with others.
(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)

(Graduate Students, New Professionals / Entry Level, Mid-Level, Senior Level)