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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Race, Class, and Ethnicity in College Admissions: Deans Discuss the Harvard Case

panel discussion

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Susan Gennaro, Connell School of Nursing
Vincent Rougeau, Law School
Stanton Wortham, Lynch School of Education and Human Development 

Date: Monday, February 24, 2020
Time: 5:30 - 7pm
Higgins Hall 310

RSVP Requested. This event is at room capacity.  Future RSVPs will be wait listed.

Co-sponsored with Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center


Abstract: "Race, Class, and Ethnicity in College Admissions" will feature three current deans at Boston College: Susan Gennaro (Connell School of Nursing), Vincent Rougeau (School of Law), and Stanton Wortham (Lynch School of Education and Human Development) will discuss the significance of the "Harvard Case" for higher education in the United States, and its possible long-term effects for selective institutions like Boston College.  

headshot of Susan Gennaro

Susan Gennaro is dean and professor of the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College. Gennaro’s research focuses on the improvement of perinatal health and has been conducted in the U.S., Malawi and Uganda. Most recently, with a $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health/ National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Gennaro is co-leading a study that examines how best to improve health behaviors in pregnant women. She has also just completed a study investigating mechanisms underlying preterm birth in minority women at Jacobi Medical Center, New York and in Austin, Texas, also funded by the National Institute for Nursing Research. Gennaro’s long history of funding from the National Institute of Health (for over 20 years) has also focused on improving nursing education through innovative programs to increase the number of nurse scientists from a minority background trained to work with vulnerable populations. As the founder of the evidence-based practice program at the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses, her goal is to translate research into clinical practice internationally.

Gennaro is the editor of Sigma Theta Tau’s Journal of Nursing Scholarship, ranked 2nd out of 118 nursing journals in the world, a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, was a McClure Scholar at New York University Medical Center, was a member of the National Advisory Council for NINR, on the National Advisory Committee for the March of Dimes and a Distinguished Alumna at the UAB School of Nursing. Gennaro has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to maternal and child health by the Distinguished Service Award of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

headshot of Vincent Rougeau

Vincent Rougeau became dean of Boston College Law School in July of 2011. He previously served as a professor of law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Notre Dame. Rougeau was recently named Association of American Law Schools (AALS) President-elect.

A vocal advocate for change in legal education, Rougeau has led a reorganization in leadership structure at the law school that supports a more holistic approach to student services, expands the school’s national and international recruitment of a diverse student body, and enhances the School’s commitment to experiential learning and global engagement. BC Law’s new Center for Experiential Learning brings all the school’s hands-on training programs under one roof, while the Global Practice Program builds on the school’s longstanding presence in Europe by launching new opportunities for students in Dublin, Germany, Chile, France and other locations around the globe.

An expert in Catholic social thought, Rougeau’s current research and writing consider the relationship between religious identity and citizenship and membership in highly mobile and increasingly multicultural democratic societies. He serves as Senior Fellow at the Centre for Theology and Community in London, where he researches broad-based community organizing, migration and citizenship in the United Kingdom as part of the Just Communities Project.

Rougeau has served as a member of the Executive Committee of AALS, as chair of the AALS Deans Steering Committee, and on the Council of the Boston Bar Association. His teaching interests are in contract and real estate law, as well as in law and religion. Before entering the academy, he practiced law at the Washington, DC office of Morrison & Foerster from 1988-1991. 

headshot of Stanton Wortham

Stanton Wortham is the Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. He earned his B.A. with highest honors from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Human Development. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has been a Javits Fellow, a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow, a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow, a W.T. Grant Foundation Distinguished Fellow and an American Educational Research Association Fellow. He has received the American Educational Research Association Cattell Early Career Research Award and the University of Pennsylvania Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Wortham’s research applies techniques from linguistic anthropology to study interaction, learning, leadership development and talent management in classrooms and organizations. He has also studied media discourse and autobiographical narrative. His books include: Narratives in Action (Teachers College Press, 2001), Education in the New Latino Diaspora (Ablex, 2002; coedited with Enrique Murillo and Edmund Hamann), Linguistic Anthropology of Education (Praeger, 2003, coedited with Betsy Rymes), Learning Identity (Cambridge, 2006), Bullish on Uncertainty (Cambridge, 2009, with Alexandra Michel), Revisiting Education in the New Latino Diaspora (Information Age, 2015, coedited with Edmund Hamann and Enrique Murillo) and Discourse Analysis beyond the Speech Event (Routledge, 2015, with Angela Reyes).

Wortham has recently done work on talent management in organizational contexts. His book Bullish on Uncertainty describes how two organizations managed uncertain environments differently and how this yielded very different outcomes for individuals and the organization. He is also doing research with Mexican immigrant and Mexican American adolescents who live in areas of the United States that have only recently been home to large numbers of Latinos. This work explores the challenges and opportunities facing both Latino newcomers and host communities, in places where models of newcomers' identities and practices for dealing with newcomers are often more fluid than in areas with longstanding Latino populations. This work has yielded films as well as traditional publications.

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Nick Anderson writes that on October 1, 2019, U.S District Judge Allison D. Burroughs ruled that Harvard does not discriminate against Asian Americans in undergraduate admissions. She concluded that racial disparities in incoming classes and groups of applicants, “are not the fault of any racial animus or conscious prejudice.” The judge further surmised that Harvard’s admissions process does seek to ensure racial diversity in each of its classes, though perhaps through imperfect means. The group “Students for Fair Admissions” was disappointed with the ruling.