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BTtoP National Conference | The Whole Student: Intersectionality and Well-Being

May 24, 2017 @ 8:00 am - May 26, 2017 @ 12:00 pm

The purpose of this conference is to bring together educators of all types (faculty, student affairs professionals, staff mentors and advising professionals, teaching assistants, administrators, etc.) to focus on the importance of well-being in higher education. Through the lens of intersectionality, conference participants will examine and explore how institutional values and campus cultures acknowledge or contextualize the intersections of student identity and lived experiences, support them, and challenge them. This conference takes seriously the commitment to “whole student” development through the exploration of the very elements that make students whole.Some conferences are about intersectionality. Some conferences are about student well-being. This conference is about the integration of both.


The BTtoP project was founded on the principle that one of the fundamental purposes of higher education is the well-being of all its stakeholders, especially students. Through deep engagement in learning, civic experiences, and diverse discourse, higher education provides the unique opportunity for students to realize their full potential and to flourish.

Below is an explanation of the terms that form the character of this conference and what they mean in the context of this conference, specifically.

“Intersectionality” refers to how a diverse set of identities intersect and affect the lived experience and well-being of each student as a whole person. Intersecting identities can include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ability or disability, socioeconomic status, first-generation status, and more.

“Well-being” refers not solely to a feeling or act, but to a relational activity (even practice) of being well—as in being part of a community, having meaningful relationships, and possessing a sense of purpose. Various forms of mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being (e.g., happiness, flourishing, resilience, mindfulness, etc.) are recognized as necessary conditions for well-being.

A longstanding history of attention to the concept of the “whole student” has meant understanding students as the integration of all of their identities, characteristics, and lived experiences—social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and so on. The intersections of these identities and experiences bring new perspectives, ways of knowing, and ways of being. Sometimes educational environments and experiences are prepared to engage all that a student brings, but they may also pose challenges for fostering an inclusive educational environment for whole students.

Considering the “whole student” in higher education means considering how student identities and experiences intersect in the design of curricular and co-curricular programs, structures, and spaces. This includes everything from the design of an academic building, living space or classroom, to the hiring practices of educators who reflect the student body to enhancing experiences of belonging and agency.

In this conference, “student” refers to all types of students—undergraduate, graduate, non-traditional populations, full-time, part-time, commuter, etc. Other terms used to connote “whole student” include the “whole learner” and the “whole person.”

And why now?

Exploring intersectionality as a framework for understanding the whole student and well-being is not just illuminating for all educators, such exploration is practically relevant and essential to offering the type of transformative educational experience highlighted in higher education institutional missions. At a time when complex and often difficult conversations are happening on many campuses, an intersectional framework helps educators work with all students to develop a sense of who they are, their capacity to flourish, and their place in the world, as well as to understand what to expect from their higher educational experience.


Early Registration (by February 23, 2017)
$175/individual; $125/pp (team of 3 or more)

Regular Registration (by April 6, 2017)
$225/individual; $175/pp (team of 3 or more)

Students (including graduate students) attend free.


May 24, 2017 @ 8:00 am
May 26, 2017 @ 12:00 pm


W Hotel City Center
172 W Adams St
Chicago, IL 60603 United States


Bringing Theory to Practice