Dr. Frank Tuitt is devoted to the examination and exploration of topics related to access and equity in higher education, including issues of race, Inclusive Excellence, and diversity in and outside the classroom from the purview of both faculty and students. As Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, and Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education, his studies are centered on teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms, diversity, and organizational transformation.

On Tuesday, July 21, 201Dr. Frank Tuitt. Exemplifies Inclusive Excellence5, the American Council on Education released the report, Race, Class, and College Access: Achieving Diversity in a Shifting Legal Landscape at a release convening in Washington, D.C. As a member of the research oversight committee for the report, Dr. Tuitt contributed to a panel discussion at the event for a conversation on the report findings. During the final session of the day, focused on the connection between admissions and student success, he commented, “ We recognize our students, faculty, and staff come to us with a variety of experiences that are assets—not something that should be checked at the door—but that are valuable resources that will help them be successful and we find ways to help them leverage those rich assets to support their overall success.”

The report fosters a much-needed dialogue on how institutions can best respond to a shifting policy and legal landscape at a time when access to postsecondary education has never been more vital and our citizenry never so diverse. The researchers examine contemporary admission practices at four-year colleges and universities across a wide range of selectivity in the context of recent legal challenges to race-conscious admissions, including the pending U.S. Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Among other findings, the authors examine the most widely used and effective diversity strategies; changes in admissions factors after the 2013 Fisher ruling and statewide bans on race-conscious admissions; and, the most sought after research and guidance given the current legal and political landscape.

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Sarah Blizzard

The 28th annual National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals (NAGAP) Conference was held in New Orleans on April 8 – 11. The conference’s purpose is to bring graduate education management (GEM) professionals together to share and gain insight on a range of topics including, admissions policies and processes, career and staff development, graduate student support and financial aid, legal and ethical issues, marketing and recruitment, and student services. The theme of this year’s conference was, GEM Defined, A New Kind of Rhythm.

Morgridge College of Education Admissions Counselor and Higher Education EdD student, Sarah Blizzard, presented at this year’s conference. Her presentation entitled, Identifying Inclusive Admissions Practices for Transgender & Gender Nonconforming Graduate Students, created dialogue around admissions practices for creating inclusive spaces for Trans* and gender nonconforming graduate students, specifically related to language. Sarah’s presentation is extremely timely as many institutions are having conversations around ways to better serve and be more inclusive of non-binary gender identities. As she discussed in her presentation, applications, forms, statements, and policies are most often what prospective students see when inquiring about grad school; “The language we use and the culture(s) we demonstrate can change whether or not someone applies to our institution.”

Importance of language

A slide from Sarah Blizzard’s NAGAP presentation

Language is important and impacts whether or not students feel welcome/safe in our campus environment. To further engage in this conversation or to learn more email Sarah at Sarah.Blizzard@du.edu.


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