New England at ACPA17: Accepted Program by Kathleen Gillon

Preferred Name: Kathleen E. Gillon, Ph.D.

Employer: University of Maine

Position: Visiting Assistant Professor, Higher Education

Title of your Program: Identifying and Challenging Urbanormativity in Student Affairs Practice

Description:
As student affairs educators engage in discussions regarding social identities, especially as they
relate to power, privilege, and oppression, less attention is often given to the role of sociogeographic identity and the ways in which space and place inform social systems and identities, especially as they relate to post-secondary educational opportunity and participation.

More so, when space is actually considered, it is often within an urban context (Khattri, Riley, & Kane, 1997), subsequently silencing the lives and experiences of rural people and places. Recent scholarship has helped to not only explain this focus on the urban experience but also to provide language to discuss the ways in which people and places with urban identities are privileged within our society while those with rural identities are often marginalized, othered, and deemed deficient.

Although rural students continue to participate in higher education at rates lower than their (sub)urban counterparts as well as below the national average, urbanormativity – the focus/privileging of urban, people, and places – has caused this population of students and their
unique experiences/needs to go largely ignored. The purpose of this program session is to engage practitioners-scholars in a critical dialogue regarding the role that space and place play in shaping identities, specifically for rural college students. Together, we will discuss ways in which our educational practices may contribute to urbanormativity and how we can work to challenge these practices at both an institutional and individual level.

What you look forward to most for ACPA17: Connecting with colleagues from across the country

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