Penn Equity Institute for Doctoral Students in Higher Education

Posted by University of Pennsylvania on July 13, 2015

his spring, the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania launched the Penn Equity Institutes. These virtual institutes are typically aimed at senior leaders in K-12 schools (e.g., superintendents, central office administrators, and principals) and higher education administrators (e.g., presidents, provosts, and deans) who receive executive leadership certificates at the conclusion of 10 modules.

The Center is offering a free Penn Equity Institute for current students in higher education, student affairs, and community college leadership doctoral programs. Students can register at no cost for a single module or the full series. Those who participate in all four sessions will receive a certificate from Penn. This special Penn Equity Institute will focus on bringing a racial equity lens to one’s research agenda. Professor Shaun R. Harper, founder and executive director of the Center, will lead these four modules:

August 4 – MODULE 1: RACIAL INEQUITIES IN U.S. HIGHER EDUCATION – Professor Harper and Eric Felix (Ph.D. student, University of Southern California) will provide an overview of racial inequities, campus racial climate trends, and racialized experiences at colleges and universities. They will introduce doctoral students to a range of statistics related to college access, student success and attainment, faculty diversity, and workforce stratification, as well as qualitative data from climate studies Dr. Harper and other center researchers have conducted on dozens of campuses across the nation.

August 6 – MODULE 2: RACIALIZING RESEARCH AGENDAS – Professor Harper will moderate a panel featuring Professors Estela Mara Bensimon (University of Southern California), Sylvia Hurtado (UCLA), Samuel D. Museus (Indiana University), and Julie J. Park (University of Maryland), along with Dr. Susan D. Johnson (Director of Equity and Inclusion, Lumina Foundation). These scholars will offer advice to doctoral students on ways to bring a racial equity focus to their research agendas.

August 11 – MODULE 3: USING CRITICAL RACE THEORY AND METHODS – Professor Lori Patton Davis (Indiana University) and Professor Harper will present insights from their chapter in Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015). Specifically, they will advise doctoral students on ways to use critical race theory and methods to reframe commonly studied topics in the field of higher education (e.g., college access, student development, and student engagement).

August 13 – MODULE 4: ADVANCING THE STUDY OF RACE IN HIGHER EDUCATION – Jalil Bishop (Ph.D. student, UCLA), Edward Smith and Demetri Morgan (Ph.D. students, University of Pennsylvania), and Professor Harper will share findings from their analysis of over 800 race-focused articles published in seven top higher education, student affairs, and community college journals over the past 50 years. Together, they will help doctoral students identify new questions that will appropriately complicate and advance the study of race in our field.

There is no registration deadline. However, each module has only 2000 slots for current Ph.D. and Ed.D. students. Please be sure to separately request a ticket for each module in which you intend to participate. Because the Institute is virtual, a webcam is required for participation. Please direct all inquiries about the Penn Equity Institute for Doctoral Students to Shaun R. Harper at

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