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Dalton Institute Keeps the Focus on Values

Photo from the Dalton Institute 2017The Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values closed another successful year with the recent hosting of its 27th annual conference at Florida State University in Tallahassee. The Institute was founded in 1991 by Dr. Jon C. Dalton with the charge of bringing together higher education faculty, staff, researchers, and undergraduate and graduate students to build professional networks and to share resources and scholarship relevant to college student values and character development.

The latest Institute theme, “Inclusion & Isolation: Restoring Trust and (Re)Building Community on Campus,” encouraged exploration of identity, access, and cultural capital amidst the backdrop of often contentious, public debates over issues such as immigration, Black Lives Matter, and the recent presidential election. Through breakout sessions, keynote addresses, a pre-conference workshop, panel discussions, and informal conversation, more than 170 participants were challenged to reflect on the experience of an increasingly diverse college student population and the ways in which their own identities, values, and perspectives influence the ways in which they approach their work on college and university campuses.

Photo from the Dalton Institute 2017

Noted author and President Emerita of Spelman College, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, opened the conference in conversation with Florida State University Associate Professor of Higher Education Dr. Tamara Bertrand Jones, reflecting on her experiences and perspectives as a higher education faculty member and administrator. Dr. Alyssa N. Rockenbach (North Carolina State University) and Dr. Sam Museus (Indiana University Bloomington) discussed their work as higher education researchers, and Mr. Vernon Wall (Social Justice Training Institute, LeaderShape) drew on his experience as an administrator and social justice trainer to motivate participants to engage in reflective practice.

Photo from the Dalton Institute 2017

The conference closed with a powerful panel, hosted by Miguel Hernandez and Dr. Steve Mills (Character Clearinghouse), during which five undergraduate students of diverse racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and political identities explored identity liberalism in the context of their individual and shared experiences as college students. 

This year’s Institute also introduced its inaugural scholarly paper session, during which three papers were presented under the guidance of Dr. Robert A. Schwartz, 2017 recipient of NASPA’s Robert A. Shaffer Award for Academic Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member. The Institute’s two annual awards were presented to Dr. Rebecca E. Crandall (North Carolina State University, Dissertation of the Year) and the Residence Hall Community Partnerships Program (Calvin College, Best Practice Award).

The Dalton Institute planning team is currently at work planning for the 28th annual conference, to be held February 1-3, 2018 in Tallahassee. For more information about the Dalton Institute, or if you’d like to serve as an award or concurrent session review, please contact visit