The University of Colorado Boulder is hosting the 2023 summit for the entire CU system of four campuses. CU Boulder is Colorado’s flagship higher education institution and one of the country’s leading R-1 public research universities. The biennial CU Social Justice Summit aligns with its efforts to support and expand diversity, inclusion, equity and access to students, staff and faculty. It also aligns with the CU system's strategic plan

A systemwide social justice summit is an opportunity for CU communities to engage in critical capacity-building at all levels to further equip and actively align us with our core guiding principles, mission and vision as a higher education institution.

Summit session facilitators and presenters will assist participants in the examination of oppressive cultures and structures embedded within higher education and engage leaders in the exploration of actionable solutions and practices for cultivating and sustaining a more just, inclusive and equitable CU and broader world.

Participating in a higher education context, whether professionally or personally, is an opportunity to engage with its long history of systems and cultures intentionally put in place to reinforce hierarchical racial structures.

Today, these historical practices continue to impact how we all––but especially minoritized populations––navigate and engage with the various structures, policies and cultures of higher education.

The CU Social Justice Summit intends to engage the CU community, its constituents and its affiliates in the “action process” of building capacity and sustaining systems and cultures free from oppression and preparing students to participate in a diverse democracy. A diverse democracy is one that embodies civic and workforce engagement and provides for the development of skills, dispositions and values needed to participate in an increasingly complex society (Hurtado, 2003).

All constituents affiliated with the University of Colorado. This includes undergraduate and graduate students, professional and administrative staff, frontline employees, faculty, CU system employees, alumni and engaged community members connected to CU Boulder, CU Denver, UCCS and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Registration for the 2023 CU Social Justice Summit is closed. Thank you for participating in this year's summit!

Thank you for your interest in submitting a proposal. The window for submitting proposals for the 2023 summit has closed. Please stay tuned for more information about the next CU Social Justice Summit in 2025.

You can view the full agenda here and by visiting the event homepage.

A range of topics will be covered throughout the summit. Sessions will aim to include opportunities for dialogue, strategic engagement, action planning, workshops and education of best practices (and healing practices) contextualized through the lens of higher education. Sessions will center the experiences of learning, teaching, research and communities impacted by oppressive actions, systems and structures that exist and are embedded within the setting of higher education.

Sessions offered may include the following: 

  • Teaching and learning within a diverse democracy (i.e., curriculums, inclusive pedagogies, classroom cultures)
  • Systems and structures of higher education
  • Liberatory practices, engagement and cultures in higher education
  • Cultivating cultures of healing and joy
  • Developing skills necessary to support a diverse democracy within a higher education setting
  • Power and oppression
  • Intersectional experiences, practice and approaches for systemic change 
  • Transforming learning into action
  • The role of research and assessment

Participants will be invited to engage with the summit by actively contributing, reflecting, coalescing and sharing a collective responsibility to all humanity within the CU system and beyond.

The CU Social Justice Summit will provide closed captioning, American Sign Language (ASL) and language interpretation services. Participants should specify any accessibility needs during the registration process. Please note: University staff will do their best to fulfill requests made within two weeks of the event.

Yes. The following are resources for presummit engagement and learning:

Yes, the following definitions can help inform conversations as participants engage in summit sessions:

Diversity refers to the numerical representation of faculty, staff and students who hold individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group or social differences (e.g., race and ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious or other affiliations) with special focus on historically minoritized identities (adapted from AAC&U).  

Equity requires attention to disparate impact, differential access and opportunities afforded to various communities, as well as structural and systemic barriers that limit potential and possibilities (Wong and DeLuca Fernández, 2018).  

Inclusion refers to the active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity—in decision-making, sense-making, curriculum, in the co-curriculum and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions (adapted from AAC&U). 

Intersectionality addresses the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism and classism) combine, overlap or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups (Merriam-Webster, 2022).  

Organizational development is a critical and science-based process that helps organizations build their capacity to change and achieve greater effectiveness by developing, improving, and reinforcing strategies, structures and processes (adapted from Cummings and Worley, 2009). 

Social justice “... is both a process and a goal. The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are psychologically and physically safe and secure.” (Bell, 2013, p. 21).

Some of the summit sessions will be recorded for future reference following the event. Please check back in the near future for more information.