Jan 5

Convocation with Dr. Anthony Jack

Fri, January 5, 2024 • 10:50am - 11:50am (1h) • Skinner Memorial Chapel

This event will not be video or audio recorded.

Convocation will be available for viewing via Zoom for those unable to attend. Please register in advance for the program. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the program. The entire ceremony will be recorded and archived on the Convocations website.

Elite colleges are accepting diverse and disadvantaged students more than ever before — but to Anthony Jack, access does not equal acceptance. As author of The Privileged Poor, Jack — once a low-income, first-generation college student himself — studies how poor students are often failed by the top schools that admit them. He’s also the faculty director of Boston University’s Newbury Center, which serves first-generation students and focuses on student success and inclusion.

In talks, he details how class divides on campus create barriers to academic success — and shares what schools can do to truly level the playing field. “When you address the inequalities that disproportionately fall on the shoulders of first-generation and low-income college students,” he says, “you make the university better for all students.”

Anthony Jack is transforming the way we address diversity and inclusion in education. He’s an associate professor of higher education leadership at Boston University, and faculty director of BU’s Newbury Center, where he works to increase understanding and equity around first-generation students on campus.

His widely acclaimed book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Disadvantaged Students, reframes the conversation surrounding poverty and higher education. In it, he explains the paths of two uniquely segregated groups. First, the “privileged poor”: students from low-income, diverse backgrounds who attended elite prep or boarding school before attending college. The second are what Jack calls the “doubly disadvantaged”— students who arrive from underprivileged backgrounds without prep or boarding school to soften their college transition. Although both groups come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the privileged poor have more cultural capital to navigate and succeed—in the college environment and beyond.

“The lasting beauty of Jack’s ethnography is that it gives a voice to the students who, as his research ends up revealing, most need it.”— The New Yorker

“It’s one thing to graduate with a degree from an elite institution, and another thing to graduate with the social capital to activate that degree,” Jack explains. In many ways, rather than close the wealth gap, campus culture at elite schools further alienate poor students by making them feel like they don’t belong. To challenge these deeply ingrained social, cultural, and economic disparities on campus, we must first begin to question what we take for granted. Jack reveals how organizations — from administrators and association organizers, to educators and student activists — can ask the right questions and bridge the gap.

Jack’s research has been cited by The New York Times, the Boston GlobeThe AtlanticThe Huffington PostThe National ReviewThe Washington Post, American RadioWorks, WBUR, and MPR. His book, The Privileged Poor, was named the 2018 recipient of the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize by Harvard University Press.

Event Contact: Noel Ponder

Event Summary

Convocation with Dr. Anthony Jack
  • When
    • Friday, January 5, 2024
    • 10:50am - 11:50am (1h)
  • Where
    • Skinner Memorial Chapel
  • Mode
    • Hybrid
  • Event Contact
  • Copy Share Link
  • Intended For: General Public, Students, Faculty, Staff, Emeriti, Alums, Prospective Students, Families
  • Categories: Lecture/Panel

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