Our Initiatives

We revised our objectives and repurposed our strands, with the new focus on (1) Improving the Health of a Diverse Population, (2) Fostering Student Achievement, (3) 21st Century Workforce Development, and (4) Building Smart Resilient Cities.The strand relaunch required finding strand leaders and then bringing the committee together to develop missions and corresponding work agendas.

Improving the Health of a Diverse Population

Wayne Riley, President, The SUNY, Downstate Medical University, Chair

USU’s Health initiative aims to expand and enhance a diverse, culturally sensitive, and prepared health and scientific workforce to improve health and health equity. Member institutions engage in national collaborations to increase the use of data and scientific evidence for university interventions, and to scale solutions across our network. Our Health strand is led by Wayne Riley, President of SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

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. Sukhwant Jhaj, Vice President for Academic Innovation, Planning, and Partnerships, Portland State University, chairs the strand.


21st Century Workforce Development

Michael Amiridis, Chancellor, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chair

Through our collective work and dynamic thought leadership, we aim to drive a cultural and conversational shift that (1) reaffirms the value proposition of universities in the future of work through the democratization of access to higher education and (2) prepares learners to successfully navigate their careers through yet unknown technological, economic, and social change. Michael Amiridis, Chancellor of University of Illinois, Chicago, chairs this strand. 


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 communities must be our priorities—for our campuses and for our cities, as we are key stakeholders. This strand explores what achieving smart, resilient communities mean, strategically and tactically. Crist Khachikian, Associate VP of Research and Graduate Studies, California State University, Northridge, chairs this strand, and is supported by David McCarty-Caplan, Assistant Professor of Social Work, California State University, Northridge.