Penn State Intersectionality Symposium speakers, program announced

University faculty and leadership, National Science Foundation program directors to headline events

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — LEAADS@PSU, a network of women faculty committed to leading advocacy and action for a diverse leadership at Penn State, has announced the program and speakers for its two-day symposium, “Addressing Intersectionality to Transform Leadership at Penn State,” to be held via Zoom from 2 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 19 and 26.

Participants in the symposium will engage in interdisciplinary dialogue to build understanding of the effects of intersectionality on success and leadership in academia, with the goal of identifying pathways for transformational action and informing future initiatives.

Keynote speakers and panelists

Danielle Conway, dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law, Penn State Dickinson Law, will deliver welcome remarks on the first day of the symposium, and Penn State head football coach James Franklin will deliver welcome remarks on the second day.

Keynote speakers will be:

— LaWanda Ward, assistant professor of education and research associate with the Center for the Study of Higher Education in the Penn State College of Education.

— Erika Tatiana Camacho and Jessie DeAro, both program directors with the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program.

— Sonia DeLuca Fernández, associate vice provost for educational equity at Penn State.

— Katherine Belle, associate professor of philosophy and African American studies in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts.

Panelists will include faculty from eight colleges at Penn State — the College of Arts and Architecture, Schreyer Honors College, College of Education, Eberly College of Science, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, College of Engineering, College of the Liberal Arts, and Smeal College of Business — as well as from the University’s Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity.

Keynotes and panel sessions will be moderated by faculty from Dickinson Law, Penn State Law, and the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, College of the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Architecture, and Eberly College of Science, as well as from Penn State Altoona.

Program and registration

Interested parties can find more information, including the full program and registration, on the Intersectionality Symposium website.

All academic leaders, and faculty interested in academic leadership, who seek to broaden and deepen their understanding of intersectionality and its relationships to leadership within academia are encouraged to attend.

Symposium overview

Intersectionality asks us to unveil the structures of privilege and power that maintain systems of discrimination and marginalization of minority groups and to particularly examine how simple, one-dimensional categorization of discrimination and bias can hide these patterns.

By calling attention to the ways in which laws, policies, structures, and biases can focus on particular groups and ignore others, the concept of intersectionality is a call to action to identify how systemic barriers maintain systems of exclusion, marginalization, or oppression.

Within academia, the interface among race, gender, economic class, sexuality, and other categorizations is poorly examined yet continues to stifle calls for diversity, inclusion, and the advancement of historically marginalized groups. Recent experiences with COVID-19 and anti-racist reckoning have concomitantly revealed and heightened some of these vulnerabilities.

How do we address intersectionality while transforming institutional systems? And how do we incorporate intersectionality into considerations of academic inclusion, advancement, and leadership?


LEAADS@PSU is a network of women faculty committed to LEading Advocacy and Action for Diverse LeaderShip at Penn State. We are exploring and acting on issues that impact willingness and preparedness of faculty to engage in leadership.