Sorority Pledges $10M to 96 HBCUs
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, in partnership with the Educational Advancement Foundation, recently announced the establishment of the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund. Toward the end of February, presidents from 32 of the participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will receive the first installment of the endowment gift in the amount of $50,000. The fund was created in an effort to assist in the financial stability of HBCUs.
Eastern Connecticut State U Program Supports African American & Hispanic Students
The new PASS (Promoting Academically Successful Students) program ensures that African American and Hispanic students who end up on academic probation are provided support. The program uses a hands-on advising model and an active career development program to inform students of available support services. Funded through a $75,000 grant from the Connecticut State Office of Higher Education, the program requires weekly advising sessions, skill development workshops, and group meetings for all participating students to review their schedules and make any necessary adjustments.
University-CC Partnership Addresses Homelessness
As part of a statewide plan to address youth homelessness in Massachusetts, the governor recently announced a pilot program to house a small group of homeless community college students at nearby four-year colleges and universities. Up to 20 homeless students at four community colleges will receive dormitory housing through partnerships. The university-community college matches are Massasoit Community College and Bridgewater State University, Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester State University, Middlesex Community College and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and MassBay Community College and Framingham State University.
U St. Thomas to Open Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice
The center will provide law students the opportunity to leverage legal training to address social justice challenges. Students will interface with lawyers in the community who are fighting for justice and equity to gain in-depth insights related to civil rights, human rights law and advocacy. It will also collaborate with the entire university and share its expertise on racial equity and social justice.
Southern Oregon U Implements Audio Wayfinding App
The university is now more friendly to those who are sight impaired after partnering with an outside vendor to provide an audio wayfinding app. The university has placed 200 beacons across campus as waypoints that communicate with the free app, which allows users to locate both outdoor and indoor destinations.
Six Public Affairs Schools Announce Diversity Alliance
A collective of six schools of public affairs recently announced the launch of the new Public Affairs Diversity Alliance that aims to encourage and sustain a pipeline of candidates for faculty positions in criminal justice, policy and public administration. American University School of Public Affairs, which initiated and founded the Alliance, will chair the Public Affairs Diversity Alliance for a two-year term. Five other schools have joined as inaugural members: the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, the Price School at the University of Southern California, and the Evans School at the University of Washington.
Senators Call for Changes to U.S. News Rankings
Six U.S. Democratic senators wrote to the U.S. News & World Report urging it to adopt a methodology that more strongly considers a school's diversity, inclusion and representation. The well-known ranking system recently changed its methodology to reflect college's role in boosting social mobility, however, the senators contend that the ranking still fails to sufficiently reward enrollment of historically underrepresented students.
U Maryland Begins Emergency Meal Initiative
The university launched the Emergency Meal Fund following growing recognition of the variety of challenges faced by food-insecure students, such as physical health problems, lower self-esteem, anxiety and depression. A partnership between the Student Government Association and Dining Services, the program offers 10 meals in any of the university’s three dining halls to students in crisis.
Salem State U Receives $100K Grant for Open Textbook Resources
To reduce the impact of textbook costs on students and make college more affordable in general, a new grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Performance Incentive Fund will fund a range of professional development opportunities to engage 25 percent of faculty in Open Educational Resources (OER) use and development, achieve $500,000 in textbook cost savings, and develop a community of OER innovators among faculty.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Opens Free Store
The Cougar Cupboard is a new initiative that stocks food and important hygiene products free of charge for students. Patrons of the cupboard receive enough food for each family member residing in their household to eat for approximately three days.
San Francisco State U Receives Funding to Offer Bike-Share Memberships for Free
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority board approved a $56,000 grant to provide free bike share memberships for university students for two years. Lyft will contribute funding to continue the program beyond the two-year pilot phase. Each year, the grant will provide free bike sharing to 400 Pell Grant-eligible students, and for 150 non-Pell Grant-eligible students. About 300 single month passes will also be provided to other students.
U Virginia Launches Food Justice Initiative
Named after the former Virginia first lady, the First Lady’s Food Lab is a meeting space and kitchen in a former barn that will support food justice initiatives at the university and in the Charlottesville area. The Charlottesville City Council recently voted to support the initiative with $65,000.
U Arizona Receives Over $1M for Graduate Program Pipeline for Minority Students
A $1.075 million grant from the National Science Foundation allows the the university to continue helping underrepresented students through the Bridge to the Doctorate Program. The program combines financial assistance with opportunities for professional development, such as coaching on scientific writing and assistance with applications for federal fellowships.
U Virginia Convenes 'Universities Studying Slavery' Consortium
Bringing together over 40 colleges and universities from across the country, the consortium seeks to allow institutions to work together as they examine the role of slavery and racism in their histories and its impacts today. The consortium hosts semi-annual meetings to share strategies, research, and knowledge. The fall 2018 meeting will be held at Tougaloo College in Mississippi.
U Southern California Releases Public Universities Equity Scorecard
The University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center's new report, "Black Students at Public Colleges and Universities: A 50-state report card", is a publication that grades the nation's public, four-year universities using federal data from all 50 states and provides an equity index score. The four equity indicators are representation equity, gender equity, completion equity, and black student-to-black faculty ratio.
U North Carolina System Promotes College Affordability Plans
The NC Promise tuition plan lowers undergraduate tuition to $500 per semester for in-state students and $2,500 per semester for out-of-state students at Elizabeth City State University, University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Western Carolina University. The Fixed Tuition Program dictates that tuition will remain the same all four years at a UNC System university. Both of these programs are part of the "We Promise" campaign launched in early October to promote affordable college opportunities for all North Carolinians.
Southern Oregon U Ignites a 'World Peace Flame'
Hosted by the World Peace Flame Foundation, the World Peace Flame represents a symbol of those dedicated to achieving peace through education and practical support of grassroots peace initiatives. It aims to inspire people to create peace at every level. There is only one other World Peace Flame in the U.S. It is in the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Insight Into Diversity Honors 2018 HEED Award Recipients
This year's Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award was given to 98 higher education institutions, 13 of which were categorized as "Diversity Champions" by exemplifying an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels. The Insight Into Diversity HEED Award measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.
Syracuse U to Open Center for Social Justice With $5M Gift
A Syracuse University alumni couple is providing a $5 million donation to support the creation of the Lender Center for Social Justice, which will include research support, symposia, and faculty and student fellowships. The center aims to support innovative and multidisciplinary research of contemporary social problems while providing proactive and concrete approaches and solutions.
U Strathclyde Begins Equity & Diversity Program
(U.K.) STEM Equals is a new program for enhancing equality and diversity in science and engineering. Aided by a grant totaling $704,125 (538,568 British pounds), the program will introduce a nursery so that staff can attend key research meetings while on leave, and will establish public and private social media platforms for female and LGBT staff within the university.
U Wisconsin-Madison to Open Two Cultural Centers
The Latinx Cultural Center and the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Cultural Center will open this fall. Both spaces will be supported by the Multicultural Student Center. With the addition of the two new spaces, there will now be four cultural centers on campus.
Oglethorpe U Matches Public Tuition Prices
Members of next year’s freshman class who meet certain benchmarks, such as cumulative grade point average and SAT or ACT test scores, will pay the in-state tuition rates of flagship universities in their home state. It’s a non-need-based scholarship program.
Ithaca College to Pilot Peer Program That Addresses Hunger
Students will soon have the option to anonymously donate their allotted guest passes on their college meal plan to fellow students facing food insecurity. The initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with Swipe Out Hunger, an organization that partners with higher education institutions to address student hunger. The program will begin with a yearlong trial phase, during which the college's Student Financial Services will collect data, including the number of passes donated and the number used, in order to assess its effectiveness.
New York U School of Medicine Goes Tuition Free
In an effort to address the rising costs of medical education, the school is offering full-tuition scholarships to all current and future students in its MD degree program regardless of need or merit. The yearly tuition costs covered by the scholarship are $55,018.
Lumina Foundation Awards Race & Social Justice Equity Grants Totaling $1.6M
In response to what it sees as an urgent need to improve the atmosphere around race on U.S. campuses, the Lumina Foundation recently announced that 19 colleges and universities will receive one-time grants—ranging from $25,000 to $50,000—totaling $625,000 from its Fund for Racial Justice and Equity. The University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center will also be supported by a $1 million grant to help improve and assess campus climate nationally.
McGill U Hosts Graduation Ceremony for LGBTQ Students
In an effort to support equal rights and foster an inclusive atmosphere, the university recently held its first-ever lavender graduation ceremony, which honors students from the LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Campaign has a list of 166 American universities that offer lavender graduation ceremonies for their LGBTQ students.
U Iowa to Provide Professional Clothing to Students
Launching in fall 2018, the Clothing Closet at Iowa will be a clothing bank that gives students an affordable option for buying new or used professional clothing. In addition to supporting students who are unable to afford professional clothes, it will also divert textile waste from landfills and promote reusing and recycling clothing.
Seattle Colleges Hires Associate Vice Presidents for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
For the first time in the history of Seattle Colleges, all colleges have established campus diversity officers for equity, diversity and inclusion. These positions will report directly to their respective college presidents. Each position will be tasked to work collaboratively across the district and to help establish and monitor the equity and inclusion goals in the Seattle Colleges strategic plan. D’Andre Fisher is at North Seattle College; Betsy Hasegawa is at South Seattle College; and Valerie Hunt is at Seattle Central College.
College William & Mary Issues Apology for Slavery & Discrimination History
The William & Mary Board of Visitors adopted a new resolution that includes an apology for the college’s history as it relates to exploiting slave labor and racial discrimination. Since 2009, the college has been investigating the college's role in perpetuating slavery and racial discrimination through a project called The Lemon Project. The project, named after a man who was once enslaved by the College of William & Mary, is a multifaceted and dynamic attempt to rectify wrongs perpetrated against African Americans by the college through action or inaction. A major effort that will soon formally get underway is a design competition for a memorial on the Historic Campus honoring the enslaved.
Harvard U Graduate Assistants Vote for Union
Graduate students at Harvard University voted 1,931 to 1,523 to form a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The election, held earlier this month, was the second on the union issue, as a 2016 vote proved inconclusive.
U North Carolina Asheville Offers Free Summer Courses
In an effort to help students reduce student debt, the university is now offering students who are one or two classes shy of junior or senior status (60 or 90 credits) free summer courses to encourage them to complete the 120 credits required to graduate in four years.
U North Carolina Charlotte Connects With City by Light Rail
The 9.3-mile stretch of extended light rail tracks offers 11 new stations providing service to the university’s main and uptown campuses. The campus added sidewalks, crosswalks, and bus stations to support pedestrian traffic from stations. For the station on the edge of campus, the university funded a pedestrian bridge over a highway.
College of the Holy Cross to Phase Out Knight Mascot and Imagery
Noting that the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties the college to religious wars and the violence of the Crusade, it will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery. It will instead use the interlocking HC on a purple shield as the primary marker for all athletic teams, uniforms and advertising.
Cameron U Establishes Social Change Endowed Lectureship
The establishment of the Albert Johnson Sr. and Josephine Johnson Endowed Lectureship in Social Change aims to advance the study of social justice, racial and ethnic cultures and human interaction. The funds will be used to bring distinguished lecturers and workshops to campus, to support faculty development related to civil rights and social justice, and to aid faculty and students in providing services to the community.
Portland State U to Offer Free Tuition
Low-income Oregonian college students transferring to the university will no longer have to pay tuition beginning fall 2018 if they are eligible for the federal Pell Grant and enroll full-time upon transferring. Called Transfers Finish Free, the program will cover base tuition and mandatory fees for up to 15 credits per term to eligible transfer students from any four-year college or community college.
U Wisconsin-Madison Introduces Free Tuition Program
Beginning in fall 2018, Wisconsin residents admitted as a new student with an adjusted gross family income of $56,000 or less will have tuition and some fees waived. Those that qualify, however, will have to pay for books, housing and other living expenses.
Creighton U Welcomes Inaugural VP for Institutional Diversity & Inclusion
Christopher M. Whitt, Ph.D., joins the university this month as the its first vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. Most recently, Whitt served as an associate professor and department chair in Political Science at Augustana College. He also founded and directed the Center for Inclusive Leadership and Equity at Augustana.
U Edinburgh Divests Fossil Fuel Holdings
(U.K.) The university recently announced that it will sell its final $8.7 million (6.3 million British pounds) of fossil fuel holdings, making it completely free of all coal, oil and gas holdings. This announcement comes after its 2015 decision to divest from companies involved in coal and tar sands.
Bemidji State U Unveils Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The new Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a student-driven initiative that promotes and reinforces fundamental values of civic engagement and leadership, and international and multicultural understanding in a space safe for all students, faculty and staff. Dr. Brian V. Xiong has been hired as the center’s coordinator.
Brandeis U Receives $8.4M Gift for Social Justice Initiatives
A former rehabilitation doctor who visited Brandeis just once, but felt a strong connection to its social justice values, left the university an $8.4 million gift, which will provide financial aid for four to five students in the Sustainable International Development program and support research and program development in the Center for Global Development and Sustainability.
Warren Wilson College & Bard College Collaborate on Five-Year Undergraduate/Graduate Program
Warren Wilson College has partnered with Bard College’s graduate programs in Sustainability to help environmental studies students graduate with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. Through the new agreement, undergraduates can opt to dual enroll at both campuses. For the first three years, students study, work and serve at Warren Wilson College and then complete their education at Bard.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Center Ranks Top Illinois HEIs for Underserved Students
The Illinois Education Research Council at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has published a new report that identifies the state’s top seven, four-year postsecondary institutions that are good investments for underserved students. Motivated by the need to provide an equitable education, the study analyzed publicly available institutional data on graduation rates, earnings, student loan debt and loan default rates to rank 55 public, nonprofit private, and for-profit private institutions in the state of Illinois.
Brown U Replaces Loans With Scholarships
Having achieved its initial fundraising goal of $30 million, the university will replace loans with scholarship funds in financial aid packages for all returning and incoming undergraduate students starting in the 2018-19 academic year.
Cornell U Launches Food Security Grocery Store
Based on results of a Cornell University survey indicating a high percentage of students were regularly without access to food, the Center for Transformative Action launched Anabel's Grocery to provide nutritious, affordable food that includes low-priced meals, daily meal kits and fresh staples. The store is student-led and has served over 1,000 students in the first semester of operations. The store also offers educational programs around quality food, food choices, wellness and positive social change.
American College Greece Begins Scholarship Program for Refugees
(Greece) Called Education Unites: From Camp to Campus, the goal of the new program is to give displaced students the opportunity to continue their education, provide them with knowledge, skills and academic credits they can use either in Greece or in any other European country they move to, and help them get out of the camps and become integrated in local colleges.
Princeton U Files Lawsuit Regarding DACA
In early November, Princeton University and Microsoft joined together to file a lawsuit against President Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A DACA-protected student at Princeton, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, is also listed as a plaintiff.