Architecture of Full Participation Key Note at NC DIP Annual Conference

Professor Sturm’s key note, titled the Architecture of Full Participation, described the role that higher education institutions can play in addressing the challenges of inequality. Professor Sturm explained that “At a time of growing inequality and shrinking confidence in our country’s ability to address the complex problems facing our communities, higher education institutions are key to building societal capacity for meeting these challenges.” She offered a new institutional framework for integrating diversity and equity, publicly engaged scholarship, and student success initiatives with each other and with higher education’s core values. The “full participation” framework focuses on creating settings that enable people—whatever their identities, backgrounds, or institutional positions—to enter, thrive, realize their capabilities, engage meaningfully in institutional life, and enable others to do the same. She described a process that builds the architecture for full participation by linking projects, people, resources, practices, and networks, and building these values and practices into the hardwiring of institutions.  She demonstrated how this strategy is responsive to the legal risks exemplified by the affirmative action case before the Supreme Court and highlighted the risks and challenges that accompany full participation work and strategies for navigating them.  Following her key note, Professor Sturm conducted a workshop for participants to enable them to engage with the challenges and opportunities for advancing full participation at participants’ home institutions.

The North Carolina Diversity and Inclusion Partners (NC DIP) is a consortium of public and private institutions of higher education in the State of North Carolina established to coordinate a statewide network among chief diversity officers, equal opportunity compliance officers, human resources practitioners, experts in multicultural affairs and other professionals interested in issues related to equal opportunity/affirmative action and diversity in higher education. Over 200 members include chief diversity officers, EEO compliance officers, HR practitioners, experts in multicultural affairs, and others from across the State of North Carolina interested in issues related to diversity and inclusion in higher education. The NC DIP annual conference sought to provide participants with an interactive platform to hear and share ideas and engage with colleagues around some of the critical challenges that practitioners may face, across different institutional types, in building inclusive communities in difficult political and legal climates.