'All In' conference to feature leaders in fields of diversity, higher education

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Diversity in higher education will be the focus of a daylong University conference that will provide opportunities for faculty, students and employees to learn from and interact with national leaders in the field of educational equity. Registration is open for the “All In at Penn State Diversity and Inclusion Conference,” which will take place April 18 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel at University Park.

The conference, which is part of the University’s ongoing “All In at Penn State” initiative, will focus on three themes: Recognizing personal bias and how it affects teaching and learning; how to make diversity an actionable and accountable practice; and implementing change and best practices in the minority hiring process. In addition to speakers, the conference will feature a research poster session for undergraduate students.

“The goal of the ‘All In’ Diversity and Inclusion conference is to provide an opportunity for participants to hear from leading scholars on how diversity and inclusion impact higher education. Our speakers will touch on a variety of relevant topics, such as the effects of diversity and inclusion on teaching and learning, best practices in the diversity hiring process, and actionable ways in which individuals can apply diversity and inclusion in their everyday work,” said Marcus Whitehurst, vice provost for Educational Equity.

“All In at Penn State” is an ongoing initiative aimed at spotlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion, and encouraging members of the University community to take an active role in promoting diversity, have respectful conversations about it and create welcoming communities.

Charles Fisher, executive director of the Millennium Scholars Program, one of the conference supporters, said participants will learn about the research behind some of the most successful initiatives in the country to promote the success of women and underrepresented minorities in academia.

“The conference will provide an opportunity for the Penn State faculty and administrators to hear from and interact with national leaders in educational equity, education reform, and student and faculty mentoring for retention and success,” said Fisher, distinguished senior scholar of biology and associate dean for graduate education in the Eberly College of Science.

The featured speakers will be:

Sylvia Hurtado, a professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. Hurtado is director of the Higher Education Research Institute, which houses the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, the longest-running empirical study of higher education involving data collection on students and faculty.

Richard McGee, a professor of medical education and associate dean for professional development at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. His primary research and academic interests are in the development of young scientists.

John Matsui, the co-founder and director of the nationally renowned Biology Scholars Program at the University of California, Berkeley. Matsui is chair of the Coalition for Excellence and Diversity in Mathematics, Science and Engineering, which is developing a campus-wide effort to recruit and retain low income, first generation and underrepresented ethnic minority students in STEM fields.

George M. Langford, a distinguished professor of neuroscience and professor of biology at Syracuse University. Langford has served as dean of SU’s College of Arts and Sciences and as dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and distinguished professor of biology. 

The conference will include a research poster session for undergraduates, which will provide students with opportunities to present their work, see the diversity of research being conducted at Penn State and develop their own ability to discuss their research with a wide audience. Students will have the chance to network with deans, administrators and faculty, along with peers who may have similar research interests.

Organizers are encouraging students from a range of fields and backgrounds to participate. Poster proposals should be submitted by March 1. For more information, go to

Support for the conference comes from the offices of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, the Millennium Scholars Program and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Starlette Sharp, director of the Millennium Scholars Program, said the conference will be a place to come to find ways to make a difference, and for individual people and units in the University to carry on the “All In” initiative.

“This is an amazing opportunity for faculty and staff alike to come together to really get some actionable ideas. We’re hoping people will walk away with things they can put into action in their colleges and campuses,” Sharp said.

For more information, go to

All In at Penn State: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated April 17, 2017