Featured Speakers

Opening Speaker: Shaun Harper

Shaun R. Harper 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, Editor at Large of TIME, president of the American Educational Research Association, and a past president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Dr. Harper’s research focuses primarily on race, gender, and other dimensions of equity in an array of organizational contexts, including colleges and universities, K-12 schools and districts, and corporations and firms. He has consulted with more than 200 institutions and businesses on strategies related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Professor Harper has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications. Johns Hopkins University Press is publishing his 13th book, Race Matters in College. His research has been cited in more than 14,000 published studies. Atlantic Philanthropies and the Lumina, Bill & Melinda Gates, Ford, W.K. Kellogg, and Open Society Foundations have awarded him more than $15 million in grants. ACPA presented him its Contribution to Knowledge Award in 2014, Harry Cannon Award in 2011, Annuit Coeptis Award in 2006, and Emerging Scholar Award in 2005.

The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and several thousand other news outlets have quoted Professor Harper and featured his research. He has interviewed on CNN, ESPN, and NPR. He has testified to the U.S. House of Representatives, and presented his research at various White House and U.S. Department of Education convenings. He was appointed to President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper advisory council in 2015.

Closing Speaker: Janet Mock

Janet Mock is a writer, director and producer whose memoir, Redefining Realness, debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2014. Her second book, Surpassing Certainty, a memoir about her twenties, was released in 2017. She is a sought-after speaker, an advocate for trans rights, and the founder of #GirlsLikeUs, a social media project that empowers trans women.

Janet made television history last year as the first trans woman of color to write, direct and produce for a series with Ryan Murphy’s FX drama Pose, which has assembled the largest cast of trans actors in series regular roles ever for a scripted series and has received six Emmy nominations. The critically acclaimed show premiered its second season on June 11th and has been renewed for a third season. Janet has a number of additional groundbreaking TV projects in the works, and her historic multi-million dollar deal with Netflix has made her the first trans woman of color to secure an overall deal with a major studio.

Janet received the Harvard University’s Artist of the Year Award at the Harvard Foundation’s Culture Rhythms event this past March. Last year TIME listed her as one of the “100 Most Influential People of 2018”. In 2017 Variety named her one of its “Power of Women”, she was featured on Ebony’s Power 100 list, and the PEN Center USA honored her with an Award of Honor during their 27th annual Literary Awards Festival.

Born in Hawaii, Janet began her career as an editor at People.com and has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Marie Claire, Interview and Allure. She has also worked as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and a host for MSNBC, where she helmed the groundbreaking series — “So POPular!”— interviewing Lena Dunham, Salma Hayek and Issa Rae. Janet also produced and conducted all interviews for the HBO documentary, The Trans List, and hosted and produced the Lenny podcast Never Before, which featured in-depth interviews with everyone from Representative Maxine Waters and Tina Knowles to Kris Jenner and Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney.

TIME called Janet one of “12 new faces of black leadership” and one of “the most influential people on the Internet” while Fast Company named her one of 2015’s “most creative people in business.” She’s appeared on the covers of Entertainment Weekly, Paper, Out and Riposte magazines, and she’s been interviewed on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Wendy Williams, Desus & Mero and Real Time with Bill Maher. Janet was also featured in Jay-Z’s music video for Family Feud alongside Beyoncé, Mindy Kaling and Rosario Dawson. The Ms. Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Feminist Press, GLSEN, Shorty Awards and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project have all honored Janet for her work.

Plenary Speaker: Jonathan Mooney

Jonathan Mooney is a writer and a widely sought after speaker, whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, HBO, NPR, and ABC News. Jonathan continues to speak across the nation about neurological and physical diversity, inspiring those who live with differences and advocating for change. His books include The Short Bus, Learning Outside the Lines, and, most recently, Normal Sucks: How to Live, Learn, and Thrive Outside the Lines. Learn more about his work here: https://www.normalsucks.xyz/.

Plenary Speaker: Nancy J. Evans

Nancy J. Evans is a Professor Emerita in the School of Education at Iowa State University where she taught in and coordinated the Student Affairs program for 16 years. Earlier in her career, she taught at Penn State University, Western Illinois University, and Indiana University; served as a counseling psychologist at Bowling Green State University; worked in Residence Life and Student Activities at Stephens College, and served as Assistant Dean of Students at Tarkio College. Dr. Evans holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, an MFA in Theatre from Western Illinois University, an MSEd in Higher Education from Southern Illinois University, and a BS in Social Science from SUNY-Potsdam.

Dr. Evans served as dissertation chair for 33 doctoral students and advisor for 182 masters students during her career. Many of her students have gone on to achieve important leadership positions in colleges and universities around the US as well as in ACPA and other professional associations. Dr. Evans particularly enjoyed working with minoritized students and allies with whom she shared experiences, values, and interests. Her current six-member disability research team includes four of her former students.

Dr. Evans’s publications include 11 books and monographs, among them Disability in Higher Education, Student Development in College, and Toward Acceptance: Sexual Orientation Issues on Campus, as well as 41 book chapters and 46 journal articles. Over the course of her career, her research has examined the impact of the college environment on the development of students with minoritized identities. Currently, in conjunction with her research team, her scholarship focuses specifically on the experiences of disabled students in higher education.

Dr. Evans has received many awards from professional associations and educational institutions including: Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), Voice of Inclusion Award (2006), Diamond Honoree (2002), Senior Scholar, Contribution to Knowledge Award (1998), and Annuit Coeptis Senior Professional Award (1989), all from ACPA-College Student Educators International. She also received awards for her teaching, research, and service from Iowa State University.

Retirement has allowed Dr. Evans to become actively involved in theatre, a long-time interest and passion of hers. She has served as a dramaturg for Iowa Stage Company, Iowa State Theatre, and Story Theater Company. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Story Theatre Company, an educational theatre company for youth from 9-18. She is a member of the Arts and Education committee, which selects plays and educational workshops to produce. Doing theatre virtually has been quite a challenge during the last year!