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Upcoming KU-wide symposium on selection, assessment, and belonging in higher education

University Honors is pleased to announce A Seat at the Table: Selection, Assessment, and Belonging in Higher Education, a KU-wide symposium co-sponsored by

  • KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences' Office for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • KU Multicultural Scholars Program
  • KU School of Education
  • KU Undergraduate Studies

Friday, February 10, 2017
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
The Commons, Spooner Hall
Register Online

The question of merit and how it is applied is pervasive throughout higher education. From the selection of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff, to the assessment of their performance, the identification of merit is often based on widely accepted assumptions and seemingly objective measures. But can merit ever be objective or universal?

This one-day symposium aims at gathering faculty, staff, and students (graduate and undergraduates) from disciplines across the university to open a dialog on the interrelated concepts of merit, belonging, and inclusion in the context of higher education. While some of the conversations might be esoteric and challenging in nature, we will keep our focus on concrete, actionable, and practical ways to improve the work we do in support of all students at the University of Kansas. 


10:00 a.m.: Welcome Address--Dr. Jennifer Hamer, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

10:20 a.m.: Discussion--The question of access in higher education: how do we identify selection criteria to recruit and identify candidates that best fit our institution and units?

  • Moderator: Amanda Wright (Office of Multicultural Affairs)
  • Roundtable Panelists
    • Professor Ben Chappell (American Studies)
    • Professor Neal Kingston (School of Education)
    • Ujash Patel (University Honors)

11:20 a.m.: Discussion--The question of inclusion and perseverance: How do we keep students at the table?

  • Moderator: Anthony Boynton (English)
  • Roundtable Panelists
    • Professor Perry Alexander (School of Engineering)
    • Dr. Michele Casavant (Multicultural Scholars Program, School of Education)
    • Dannah Hartley (University Advising Center)
    • Professor Scott Hefty (Biology)
    • Mulubrhan Negash (McNair Scholars Program)

12:20 p.m.: Lunch & Workshop--Effecting Change: How do we formulate concrete steps to implement change?

  • Moderators
    • Shantel Martinez (Office of First-Year Experience)
    • Lynn Villafuerte (Initiative for Maximizing Student Development)

2:00 p.m.: Discussion--From Support to Advocacy: How to we help all members of the KU community succeed?

  • Moderator: Professor Clarence Lang (African & African-American Studies)
  • Roundtable
    • Professor Cecile Accilien (African & African-American Studies)
    • Dr. Sarah Crawford-Parker (Office of First-Year Experience)
    • Dr. Anne Dotter (University Honors),
    • Professor Nicole Hodges Persley (Theater)

3:00 p.m.: Thank You Address--Dr. Bryan Young, Director of the University Honors Program

KU Today
Course offerings are “among the most comprehensive in the nation,” according to “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs”
98% of University Honors Program graduates are employed or accepted to graduate school within six months of graduation
40% of students in the University Honors Program conduct research before graduation
9 to 1: Average ratio of KU honors students to faculty advisors
1 of only 7 programs nationwide to receive a top rating from “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs” in 2014
60% of University Honors Program students study abroad
KU honors students select their advisors from top-ranked KU faculty