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Socioeconomic Status in Higher Education

April 21, 2017 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Socioeconomic status (SES) is defined as the position or standing of an individual, family, or group within a hierarchical social structure as measured by a combination of variables, including occupation, education, income, wealth, and place of residence.  Socioeconomic status can have a definite impact on student access to and success in higher education.  Students who are perceived as coming from an economically-deprived background may be challenged not only by financial pressures but also lower self-esteem, lack of role models, and implicit bias within the college classroom setting which can hinder their progress towards the goal of completing their degree.  Despite the myriad obstacles which must be overcome, there are thousands of instances that destroy the myths and successfully demonstrate that zip code does not automatically predict destiny.   How do some students persevere?  Is “determination” part of their DNA?  Or is it a trait that can be instilled and nurtured by faculty, administrators and others in the higher education arena?  Come join in the dialogue and be prepared for a surprising twist in the discussion at the end.


Marilyn Chipman, Ph.D.

Marilyn ChipmanMarilyn Chipman, Ph.D.,  is a recognized educational sociologist who holds the B.A. degree in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Denver, the M.A. degree in Early Childhood Education from California State University, and the Ph.D. degree in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver.   She has been an educator for over 40 years, first in public elementary schools and then on the university level with both pre-service and active teachers and administrators.  As tenured faculty within the Department of Teacher Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver, she served as the Area Coordinator for the Early Childhood Education program; Assistant to the Director for the Teachers for Colorado program; Diversity Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Teacher Education Collaborative; Co-Chair for the Colorado Commission on Higher Education Statewide Faculty-to-Faculty Articulation Conference; Representative to the Governor’s Initiative on Families and Children; and numerous other state-level committees, advisory boards and task forces addressing educational initiatives, curriculum revision, and standards.

Upon retiring from the professoriate, Dr. Chipman has continued at Metropolitan State University of Denver in the capacity of fulltime Administrator.  She serves as Educational Equity Coordinator in the federally-funded Region IV Equity Assistance Center which provides professional development and training for local schools, school districts, state departments of education, and Tribal Education Agencies across 13 states and 3 overseas American territories.

Internationally, Dr. Chipman has spoken at the University of London Department of International and Comparative Education, the University of Hong Kong Department of Education, the Educational Research Association conference held in the nation of Singapore, the International Council for Innovation in Higher Education Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the International Education Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Regionally and nationally, her keynote addresses and conference presentations are very numerous.

 Among her many honors are election to the National Board of Directors for the Give Me A Chance Scholarship Foundation; election to the Hope Center Board of Directors; acceptance into the American Council on Education Academic Management Institute; induction into Phi Delta Kappa, the national education honorary society; and recipient of the Honoree of the Diaspora Award, the Blacks Who Make a Difference Award, the Educator of the Year Award of Excellence and, most recently, the 2017 Distinguished Educator of the Year Award.

Cassandra Mason, Ed.D

Dr. Cassandra Mason has served as an educational leader for 30 years.  Her life work is centered on students and their access to a high-quality college-career curriculum from elementary through secondary grade levels.   Dr. Mason has served as the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) District Director in the Cherry Creek School District for nearly ten years, and is also an Equity Facilitator with Pacific Education Group (PEG), supporting district staff in cultural diversity education.  Dr. Mason’s unrelenting passion is supporting higher education dreams for first-generation students to attain their greatest life-long achievements, and enabling teacher-leaders with culturally responsive education competency as they transform the lives of their students and family legacies.


April 21, 2017
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
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Marilyn Chipman
Cassandra Mason