Our Initiatives

Through the USU initiatives, campus leaders strengthen America's cities by concentrating on three areas—building strong communities, improving the health of a diverse population, and fostering student achievement.

21st Century Workforce Development
Michael Amiridis, Chancellor, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chair

Working together, USU institutions are digging deeply into the questions of what makes students more workforce ready, what relationships with employers should look like in the 21st century, and how the university must transform to meet needs of 21st workforce learners and employers. 

Improving the Health of a Diverse Population
Ron Berkman, President, Cleveland State University, Chair

USU’s health initiative aims to expand and enhance a diverse, culturally sensitive, and prepared health and scientific workforce that improves health and health equity.  Member institutions engage in national, collaborative efforts to increase the use of data and scientific evidence for university interventions, and to scale solutions across our network.  Current priority areas include: 
• Broadening participation and success of diverse individuals in STEM and health fields; 
• Improving institutional climate where all students, staff, and faculty thrive; 
• Developing graduates who meet the needs of communities and employers; 
• Partnering with communities to address social determinants of health and improve health equity. 

Fostering Student Achievement
Sukhwant, Jhaj, Vice Provost, Academic Affairs, Portland State University, Chair

USU institutions are working together to identify, assess with appropriate metrics, and disseminate substantive, scalable best practices along the continuum of efforts that support student success and degree completion. USU engages in collective learning to enable urban serving universities to advance efficient, effective, and innovative models to foster student achievement and exceed state and national goals. Three questions structure the strand’s work:
• What does it take to prepare students for college?
• What does it take to keep them in college?
• What does success look like and how do we measure it?
 

Building Smart Resilient Cities
Crist Khachikian, Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies, California State University, Northridge, Chair

With many cities still working their way back after Harvey, Irma and Maria, fires in the west, and the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, we are reminded that smart, resilient community must be our priorities—for our campuses and as key stakeholders in our cities. This strand explores what that means, strategically and tactically.