Marybeth Gasman and Shaun Harper to Speak at Achievement Gap Symposium

June 20, 2014 – Two nationally renowned Penn GSE Professors will discuss challenges facing black men entering college and how they can succeed on June 23 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Marybeth Gasman and Shaun Harper will join a panel of researchers chaired by David Johns, of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, at the Achievement Gap Symposium, an event hosted by the Children’s Defense Fund and the Educational Testing Service. Both Gasman and Harper are members of Penn GSE’s top-ranked Higher Education division, which has a particular strength in race and finance around college. Gasman and Harper will bring their unique perspectives to the discussion, which will focus on proven strategies for succeeding in and completing college.

The theme of this year’s symposium—part of an annual series focused on educational development of black adolescents in the United States—is “Advancing Success for Black Men in College.” The symposium aims to address questions including:

  • What can we learn from the experience of black men in college? How can we build upon what is working?
  • What policy solutions would do more to support black men in the pursuit of their degrees?
  • How can we ensure that the most vulnerable students in college—those without critical support "back home"—succeed in achieving their dreams of a college education? 
  • What can institutions, advocates and policymakers do to ensure their success?

 For live updates of the symposium, follow the event on Twitter @ChildDefender using the hashtag #BlackMenInCollege.

Marybeth Gasman is a Professor of Higher Education whose areas of expertise include the history of American higher education, historically black colleges and universities, minority serving institutions, and African American leadership. She is the director of the Center for Minority-Serving Institutions at Penn GSE.

Shaun Harper is an Associate Professor of Higher Education whose research focuses on advancing the education of black men. He serves as the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at Penn GSE.