Urban University Blog
Collaborating for Change: Changing Higher Education, Transforming Lives
Urban Universities for HEALTH: Collaborating to Advance Health Equity
June 23, 2017
Not all Americans have the same opportunities to live in good health. Evidence shows that individuals identifying as minorities suffer disproportionately from chronic diseases and live shorter, unhealthier lives. They are more likely to be uninsured and live in areas where health care services are limited. These health disparities are tragic – but they are also fixable. Urban universities are well-positioned to step in and train the next wave of doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals who hail from these urban communities and are motivated to provide care in underserved areas.
“Professor, I cannot thank you enough for this. You gave me hope! I’ll do my best!” recently emailed Miguel, an FIU first-year student, adding, “[T]his has relieved a great deal of stress.” His professor had written to those who hadn’t submitted a major assignment to ask what happened and offer an opportunity to complete it. Meanwhile, Faculty Senate leaders devised a “Faculty Innovations for Student Success Showcase,” so they can share teaching innovations and results. And 100% of the 32 surveyed faculty left New Faculty Orientation feeling motivated toward and committed to student success.
How did we get here, the elusive place where faculty at a Carnegie RI, highest research university recognize their role, and specifically, that of effective teaching in student success?
More than 60 million Americans live in areas without enough health care providers to meet demand – primarily in minority and low-income communities, where residents are less likely to be insured and suffer disproportionately from chronic disease. The lack of access to care and resulting health disparities have had a devastating impact on our communities, and have cost our nation billions in unnecessary spending and lost productivity.
This blog was originally published on the EDUCAUSE Review, Transforming Higher Ed blog on April 28, 2017
Last year, as program manager for the Personalized Learning Consortium of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and with a video production crew on hand, I visited five colleges and universities. These institutions, all five of them, successfully increased student success through the implementation of campus-wide, proactive advising systems, supported by the strategic use of technology. I made these trips to see first-hand how each institution had transformed their advising policies and practices and capture it on video. My goal: to identify key lessons that could be broadly shared.
This blog entry features Portland State University’s Collaborating for Change project efforts. PSU is one of three USU institutions participating in what is known as the Frontier Set, a group of colleges, universities, state higher education systems and partner organizations collaborating to identify and implement effective practices to increase college access and degree completion.
As such, PSU is pursuing a range of innovations including advising reform, gateway courses, and digital learning.
What Can Leaders Do to Improve Campus Climate?
May 15, 2017
In late 2015, the University of Missouri system president Tim Wolfe resigned after weeks of student protests. What were the students’ demands? To end structural and systemic racism on campus, and to ensure a learning environment that was safe, inclusive, and valued diversity. The students had called for President Wolfe’s resignation because of a perceived lack of leadership on campus climate issues. Efforts to address discrimination on campus, they felt, were both too little and too late.
A John Williams Experience
April 28, 2017
On a bright Wednesday morning, eighty of my colleagues and I walked into a performance hall warmed up and ready to sing. Not an odd thing for Cal State Fullerton choirs to do but this time was different. This time, it wasn’t our conductor up at the podium but John Williams himself along with some of the finest musicians in Los Angeles. It was a humbling and honoring feeling to realize that we had been invited to this session too.
In Canoga Park, a community in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, many students at Canoga Park High School aren’t planning to attend for college. Most are low-income, many are first-generation immigrants, and some come from families whose members have less than a high school education. Even if college were on their radar, the social, cultural and economic facts of their lives pose substantial barriers. Additionally, they don’t always have the support they need to navigate the bureaucracy of a college application and financial aid process.
Georgia State University (GSU) has demonstrated that students from all backgrounds can succeed. Situated in downtown Atlanta, GSU graduates more low-income, Latino and Asian American students than any university in Georgia and more African American students than any university in the country.
Supporting Minority Postdocs
April 7, 2017
Nearly 50 years ago, the National Academies described postdocs as the “invisible university,” because their contributions to cutting-edge research often went unrecognized. Or, as Adam Ruben bluntly describes it in Science: the postdoc is “a time-honored tradition of academics, research, and stagnant purgatorial nonprogression.”