GSCO/BET Graduate Student Conference

Embracing Tensions for Equity

Bridging Research, Policy, & Practice in Education

Friday, March 15, U-M School of Education

As we engage in research, develop policy, and implement practice, we must resolve various tensions in order to create equitable solutions. Negotiating how to apply differing methodologies and navigating our positionalities and obligations to multiple stakeholders are a few of the inherent tensions in our work. Eliding these tensions is problematic—they have consequences for the lived experiences of every stakeholder in education, from students to policymakers.

The debate involving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), implemented in 2012,  provides an example of the type of tensions involved in equity work. The administrative protections provided to Dreamers, children and young adults who entered the United States without documentation, are now in jeopardy under the current presidential administration. Researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners must grapple with tensions related to DACA’s position as an administrative program that can be more readily “rolled back,” as well as  its prohibitions against providing undocumented students with federal and state financial aid, which potentially hinders Dreamers’ access to higher education. This is just one example of some of the overlapping tensions that inform the work of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in that area.

Similarly, we must grapple with tensions as we engage in our own work. What tensions do you experience in your research, policy work, and/or educational practice? Reimagine your current work: how can you leverage who you are and what you bring to your work in a way that productively and generatively confronts these tensions and promotes diversity, equity, justice and inclusion? We invite you to share your current scholarship in research, policy, and/or practice. With your colleagues, explore the tensions you have considered and those you have yet to consider, and reflect on how your work points to new possibilities for education.

Graduate students working in a range of disciplinary, epistemological, and methodological traditions are invited to apply. We encourage you to share works in progress, class papers that are transitioning to conference presentations or journal articles, or other works that you would like to present to our community. We invite both master’s and doctoral students to submit proposals. Session formats include: paper session, roundtable session, poster presentation, workshop session, or art installation. Conference sessions will be organized by format and theme.

The 2019 GSCO/BET Graduate Student Conference is committed to enhancing students’ academic, social, and professional growth. We look forward to conversations that engage with the ways we, as a community, negotiate the various challenges in our work towards equity in education. Please contact us at if you have any questions.