A Conversation on Higher Education and Race

On Monday, February 22, 2016, the Center for Social Justice partnered with the President’s Office, the Doyle Program, CMEA (Center for Multicultural Equity & Access), and IDEAA (Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action) to hold a lunchtime conversation on higher education and race – with special guests Dr. Benjamin Reese of Duke University and his daughter, Georgetown alumna Lauren Reese. The event drew a packed house of Georgetown students, faculty, and staff eager to hear the reflections and experiences of the guest speakers. Dr. Reese, Vice President of the Office for Institutional Equity at Duke University, opened the event by sharing reflections spanning from his youth to his experiences in higher education. Lauren offered reflections on her time as a Georgetown undergraduate as well as her current experiences as a graduate student and teaching assistant at American University. Candidly sharing personal stories and perspectives, Dr. Reese and Lauren emphasized the importance of self-awareness, self-reflection and inter-group dialogue as practices of social justice and foundations for open, difficult conversations. In discussing topics of diversity in the classroom, Lauren highlighted the importance of not only diverse content, but even more the critical need for effective pedagogy and the creation of “safe” spaces for students to have opportunities to express and explore their ideas, difficulties, and needs with trusted peers and mentors. Additional topics of conversation in response to audience questions included complex intersectionalities of identity and the difficult question of balancing desires to create space for associations based on identity versus working toward collective unity.


Return to the Doyle Program Events page.