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A student comments at an event during the C3 summit in 2017. Photo by Roman Jones.

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Middlebury to Host Conference with Goal of Diversifying Higher Ed

October 31, 2018

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury College will host the fourth summit for the Creating Connections Consortium (C3), a group that promotes diversity in higher education, November 9–11. This year’s conference theme is Reimagining the Academy: Constructing Inclusive and Participatory Communities in Challenging Times. The event brings together undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members, diversity officers, and deans from 19 colleges and universities to focus on the program’s mission and goals.

For undergraduates, the gathering offers the opportunity to meet graduate students and faculty who can serve as role models and mentors in academia. 

“One student spoke up at the last summit,” said Miguel Fernández, chief diversity officer at Middlebury, “and said that he never imagined, as a low-income, first-generation student, that he would ever consider going to graduate school, but after spending the weekend at the C3 Summit he was motivated by the work of grad students and faculty with backgrounds like his to continue his education at the graduate level.”

The summit also provides graduate students with the chance to connect with faculty who can discuss with them what it’s like to teach at a liberal arts college.

According to Rachel Hynson, director of C3, 15 schools, all members of the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers consortium or LADO, will bring students to the event. A total of 18 Middlebury students will participate, including two who will present their research. Thirty-two graduate students from C3’s partner research universities—University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, University of Michigan, and University of Chicago—will take part as well. Hynson estimates that 225 people will attend.

The summit will feature two keynote talks—one by Chastity Lord, chief operating officer of Color of Change, a leading online racial justice organization. Eve Louise Ewing, author of the book Electric Arches and a faculty member at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, will deliver the second keynote. Panel and workshop topics will include “Things Nobody Told Me about Graduate School,” “Multicultural Centers: What Works, What Doesn’t?,” and “Diversifying the Curriculum.”

Along with the summit, C3 offers its Undergraduate Fellowship Program for rising juniors and seniors attending any of the 31 LADO colleges and universities. In partnership with LADO, C3 also organizes annual panels and workshops at its four research universities for graduate students from historically underrepresented groups, many of whom are unfamiliar with liberal arts colleges and may not have considered a career at these institutions.

C3 was launched in 2012 with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A $5.5 million Mellon grant, which began October 1, 2017, will support the program through 2022. Fernández is the principal investigator of the grant.

For more information, see the C3 summit agenda.