PHENOM's 2nd Annual Access Conference

Saturday, November 7th | 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM

MassBay Community College | Wellesley Campus | 50 Oakland Street, Wellesley, MA 02481

Breakfast and Lunch will be provided


The Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM) invites you to attend a conference devoted to exploring and collaboratively problem solving access barriers to higher education in Massachusetts. We are excited to have this Conference at MassBay Community College, as community colleges are the first point of access for so many of our public higher education students. 

One of PHENOM’s key principles is the belief that " All our institutions of public higher education should serve the full range of students in the Commonwealth; for example, neither race, class, disability nor age should serve as a barrier to attending and completing college."

We invite anyone working on, or concerned about, access issues to participate.

PHENOM hopes this conference will be a comfortable setting in which people working on access issues on campuses and in the community can share their experiences, successes, frustrations, and needs. Please let us know as soon as possible if you would be willing to make a presentation at a workshop, roundtable or panel discussion to address some aspect of the various issues regarding access.

Specifically, PHENOM hopes to address some of the following questions during this Conference:

  • What are the various programs working on issues of access to higher education in Massachusetts?
  • How is "access" defined within these programs and organizations?
  • What are the successes of these programs? What can we learn from each other?
  • What are areas in which programs need more support to be successful?
  • What are some of some of the roadblocks programs and organizations are facing?
  • What might PHENOM as an organization do to support these needs? (for example, are there legislative or other systemic solutions to some of our common concerns)

Copy of Access Conference (1)

Share the Access Conference Flyer (PDF)

Preliminary Program (subject to change)

Saturday, November 7th | 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Mass Bay Community College | 50 Oakland Street, Wellesley, MA 02481

9:15 – 9:45: Registration, Breakfast

9:45 – 10:05: Introduction to PHENOM, overview and purpose of conference, key questions to answer, logistics

10:15 - 12:45: Access Barriers Breakout Sessions -- We ask you to consider going to a session on a topic you are already involved or particularly interested in, and then go to one that you know very little about.

10:15 – 11:30 Round #1

**Low-Income Students

**Trans and other LGBTQ Students

**Students of Color

**Homeslessness and Hunger

**Immigrant Students

11:30 - 12:45 Round #2


**First Generation Students

**Students with Children

**Survivors of Sexual Violence

**Students with Disabilities 

12:45 – 1:15: Lunch

1:15 - 1:35:  Morning group report-outs -- one key point per group

1:35 - 1:55: Plenary: Some Success Stories

** Colleen Coffey (Director, Metrowest College Planning Center)

** Amy Blanchette (Student & Community Organizer, Bristol Community College)

1:55 - 2:05 Video Message from Senator Elizabeth Warren

2:05 – 2:45: Breakout Groups by Geography -- Understanding the intersectionality of barriers and the need for campus and community groups to work together.  How do we do this?  What could you do in your region?  What recommendations do you have for statewide work?

2:45 - 3:15 Report back and discussion

3:15 - 3:30 Wrap-up, final comments

3:30 - 4:00 Final Networking Session

Is your campus/organization interested in co-sponsoring the event? Please email Natalie Higgins at