Belonging—A Virtual Gathering for Exploring, Reflecting, and Acting

  • Wednesday, February 23, 2022 | 12:00-5:00 p.m. EST
  • Presented Virtually—Registrants Will Receive a Link to Participate
  • No Cost to Participate



Every student entering Purdue has demonstrated the capacity to thrive in their education, building on the perspectives and lived experiences that they already possess to further their own aspirations. The work of Maximizing Student Potential (MSP) is to support and resource all students to reach their goals through a data-driven recognition that not all have had the same experiences and outcomes at Purdue, including first-generation students, students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, underrepresented minority students, rural students, and students with disabilities, among others.

Our shared responsibility for student success means expecting hard work and commitment from our students and also adopting inclusive and equitable policies and practices so that all students are fully supported in their drive to reach their maximum potential. Presented entirely virtually, this year’s Maximizing Student Potential Conference will focus on Belonging , exploring how all faculty and instructors can contribute to an inclusive and equitable learning environment.

This year’s program will bring three highly celebrated and successful speakers to the Purdue community where they will share stories, insights, and practices that support belonging. After the three speakers, participants will hear from a student panel and end the day with takeaways and the connections from leaders of various programs at Purdue. They will help identify future opportunities and next steps as well as address questions posed throughout the day.  


Dr. Shaun Harper (Keynote)

Dr. Shaun HarperShaun Harper is one of the nation’s most highly respected racial equity experts. He is a Provost Professor in the Rossier School of Education and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He also is the Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership, founder and executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center, and immediate past president of the American Educational Research Association. He also served as the 2016-17 Association for the Study of Higher Education president and was elected to the National Academy of Education in 2021.

Dr. Harper’s research focuses primarily on race, gender, and other dimensions of equity in an array of organizational contexts, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporations. He has published 12 books and over 100 other academic publications. His research has been cited in nearly 17,000 published studies across a vast array of academic fields and disciplines. Atlantic Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates, Lumina, Ford, Kellogg, College Futures, Kresge, Sloan, and Open Society Foundations have awarded him more than $17 million in grants.

The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, and several thousand other news outlets have quoted Professor Harper and featured his research. He has interviewed on CNN, ESPN, Black News Channel, and NPR. He also has testified twice to the United States House of Representatives and spoken at numerous White House convenings. Dr. Harper served on President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Advisory Council; on the national education policy committee for the Biden-Harris Campaign; and on California Governor Gavin Newsome’s statewide task force on higher education, racial equity, and COVID-19 recovery.

Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr.

Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr.<In October 2021, John Silvanus Wilson, Jr. became the executive director of the Millennium Leadership Initiative, an established leadership development program under the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

From August 2017 to October 2021, he served at Harvard University, first as a President in Residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, then as the Senior Advisor and Strategist to the Harvard President, where he guided the University’s launch of a new effort at equity, inclusion, and belonging. His final year there was spent as a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Business School, where he completed a book on the future of higher education, with emphasis on historically Black colleges and universities (now slated for publication in 2022).

In the nine years prior to arriving at Harvard, he served in the first term under President Barack Obama as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He then served with distinction as the 11 th President of Morehouse College, his Alma Mater. Wilson has won numerous awards and has served on several trustee boards, including Harvard University and Spelman College.

Dr. Chantal Levesque-Bristol

Dr. Chantal Levesque-BristolChantal Levesque-Bristol is the Executive Director of the Center for Instructional Excellence and Full Professor of Educational Studies at Purdue University.  She received a PhD (2000) in Social Psychology from the University of Ottawa, Canada.  Her primary areas of interests are teaching and learning, motivation, educational psychology, faculty development, and institutional change. She works with faculty and conducts research on human motivation.  She has worked with institutions of higher education both nationally and internationally.  She is the Principal Investigator on a First in the World Grant from the Department of Education.

Dr. Levesque-Bristol's 2021 book: Student-Centered Pedagogy and Course Transformation at Scale: Facilitating Faculty Agency to IMPACT Institutional Change describes the development of Purdue’s IMPACT program (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation), from its tentative beginning, when it struggled to recruit 35 faculty fellows, to the present, when 350 have been enrolled and the university has more applications than it can currently handle.

In addition to describing the IMPACT program, the book highlights the importance and implications of the underlying motivational theoretical framework guiding the initiative; self-determination theory. Giving faculty fellows the autonomy to build on their disciplinary expertise, pursue their interests and predilections, within a guided framework, and leveraging interactions with colleagues through FLCs, stimulated faculty fellows’ motivation and creativity.


Wednesday, February 23

  • 12:00 p.m. EST - Welcome & Keynote Presentation by Dr. Shaun Harper
  • 1:30 p.m. EST - Speaker: Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr.
  • 2:30 p.m. EST - Speaker: Dr. Chantal Levesque-Bristol
  • 3:30 p.m. EST - Student Panel on Belonging
  • 4:00 p.m. EST - Reflections and Connections with Campus Partners


Registration is open to faculty, staff, and students affiliated with Purdue-West Lafayette, Purdue-Northwest, Purdue-Fort Wayne, Purdue Global, IUPUI, Purdue Polytechnic High Schools and Purdue Polytechnic Institute Statewide Programs.  

All components of this year’s Maximizing Student Potential Conference will be conducted virtually. Registrants will receive a link to join.  

After the event, recordings of all presentations will be available to registered attendees on the Maximizing Student Potential Conference webpage.  


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