Public Release: 

Stevens dean to speak at 2006 ACPA National Convention

Talk focuses on students' intellectual development, identity formation and intercultural sensitivity

Stevens Institute of Technology

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Kenneth L. Nilsen, Dean of Student Life at Stevens Institute of Technology, will co-present a talk at the 2006 American College Personnel Association (ACPA) National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., held March 18-22. Nilsen and LaToya D. Ingram, a Ph.D. candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University, will lead the workshop, "Educational Encounters: Intersection of Student Intellectual, Intercultural and Identity Development." It will explore recent research on the intersections of three areas of student development: intellectual, identity formation, and intercultural sensitivity. Discussion will also focus on curricular and pedagogical transformation and working in a more seamless manner with the curriculum and co-curriculum.

As the landscape of the college campus continues to be redefined, there is a growing need for understanding how individuals navigate a diverse and changing environment amidst pressure to minimize difference. "Society often tries to force individuals neatly into a box: 'White,' 'Female' or 'Other,' for example," said Nilsen. "However, the nature of our everyday encounters suggests that life is much more complex. Every individual is a complex function of multiple and simultaneous social identities struggling to coexist in a culturally complex world. Particularly in institutions of higher education, the struggle to accept difference, to develop cultural competency and to integrate aspects of one's identity must be supported through administrative and programming efforts."

The session will be conducted using a co-facilitator design with free-flowing questions and answers. There will be large group discussion, smaller breakout group dialogue, pair and/or group exercises and opportunities for individual reflection.

The presenters are working under the instruction of L. Lee Knefelkamp, Ph.D., within the Social-Organizational Psychology doctoral program at Teachers College, to refine a model for understanding the development of a multicultural self-identity. The purpose of this research is to understand the development of individuals with multiple identities. They have begun to develop a model around understanding this experience, which is the catalyst that informs the thinking surrounding the creation of this particular session.

Nilsen received his B.A. in Sociology from Wagner College, and his M.A. in Higher Education Administration from New York University. He has served in several different positions in student affairs during his 15-year professional career. Currently he is pursuing an Ed.D. at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he has been conducting research on the college student and his/her multicultural complexity.

Ingram received her B.A. in Public Relations at James Madison University, an M.A. in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Organizational Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has served in various functions of student affairs throughout her 10 years in the profession. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Social Organizational Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she has been conducting extensive research on stereotype threat and identity development.


About the ACPA College Student Educators International
The ACPA College Student Educators International is headquartered in Washington, D.C., at the National Center for Higher Education. It leads the student affairs profession and the higher education community in providing outreach, advocacy, research and professional development to foster college student learning. It does this through the generation and dissemination of knowledge, which informs policies, practices and programs for student affairs professionals and the higher education community. Founded in 1924 by May L. Cheney, the ACPA has nearly 8,000 members representing approximately 1,500 private and public institutions from across the US and internationally.

About Stevens Institute of Technology
Established in 1870, Stevens offers baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science, management and technology management, as well as a baccalaureate in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. Located directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan, the university has enrollments of approximately 1,780 undergraduates and 2,700 graduate students, and a current enrollment of 2,250 online-learning students worldwide. Additional information may be obtained from its web page at
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