Fisher v. University of Texas and the Concept of Full Participation

October 9, 2013      12:00-1:30 PM (Eastern)


Susan Sturm
Professor of Law and Social Responsibility;
Director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change
Columbia School of Law

About this Session

This webinar will explore ways to frame the Supreme Court's decision in Fisher v. University of Texas so that higher education institutions and their partners can serve as engines of mobility, leadership, knowledge generation, and public problem solving. A goal of colleges should be to enable people from all races and backgrounds to enter, succeed, thrive, and become productive citizens and leaders. Full participation can only be achieved by explicitly addressing race as part of a broader inquiry about who does and does not fully participate, why, and what should be done about it. This webinar will consider the Fisher decision through this full participation lens, first identifying the risks of responding to Fisher in ways that could undercut the capacity of higher education institutions to advance full participation. It will then introduce a long-term approach to the Supreme Court's affirmative action decisions that could encourage innovation in full participation even as it enhances legality.

About the Presenter:

7-SturmSusan Sturm is the George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility and the founding director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School. She has published numerous articles, case studies, and books on full participation, "the architecture of inclusion," institutional change, transformative leadership, workplace equality, legal education, and inclusion and diversity in higher education. Sturm is the principal investigator for a Ford Foundation grant awarded to increase higher education access and success for underserved communities. She works with numerous research and educational organizations and networks seeking to build the knowledge and capacity needed to advance full participation and exercise leadership in addressing important problems. She is currently co-leading, with Tim Eatman, a full participation project with Imaging America.  She is part of the leadership team of Mellon-funded initiative called Creating Connections Consortium, aimed at increasing faculty diversity in liberal arts colleges. Professor Sturm is the principal author of an amicus brief filed in Fisher v. University of Texas on behalf of Imagining America, Campus Compact, the National League of Cities, and a group of higher education and community leaders committed to full participation. She has co-chaired, with Nancy Cantor, a working group on Transformative Leadership, as part of a Ford Foundation-funded project on Building Knowledge for Social Justice. Her research on strategies for facilitating constructive multi-racial interaction in police training is featured on the Racetalks website, In 2007, she received the Presidential Teaching Award for Outstanding Teaching at Columbia.

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