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It’s On Us to Help Low-Income Students Succeed in College

Last year, in a New York Times op-ed, college student Brooke Evans shared a story that quickly became a wake-up call for university leaders.

“Without a home and without meals, I felt like an impostor. I was shamefully worrying about food, and shamefully staring at the clock to make it out of class in time to get in line for the local shelter when I should have been giving my undivided attention to the lecturer.”

Now take a step back, and think about how you’d feel if you were Ms. Evans. Everyone who’s been to college has experienced stress at one point or another. Being unable to afford food and housing, however, is hardship on a completely different level.

Unfortunately, Ms. Evans is not an outlier. Survey data show that about 13 percent of college students are homeless, and one in five experience food insecurity. Only 58 percent of students at four-year public institutions graduate within six years. Students are literally dropping out of school for want of food, and many cannot access federal benefits like SNAP because they have difficulty meeting the work requirements while leaving sufficient time to study. In the words of a student at George Mason University: “I spend more time thinking ‘How am I going to make some money so I can go eat?’ and I focus on that when I should be doing homework or studying for a test.”

The Pell grant, intended to help low-income students afford college, is hardly a panacea. According to research from the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, a student’s Pell grant would cover nearly three-quarters of the cost of attending a public four-year university in 1980. Today, it only covers about a third. Consequently, 90 percent of Pell grant recipients end up taking on debt. Many of them never complete a degree or certificate, making their student debt even more difficult to pay off.

If government-backed loans and social programs are failing to keep our students out of poverty, what will? Fortunately, there are some steps that university leaders can take in the short term to mitigate the challenges low-income students face on their campuses.

In my book Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream, I offer a range of solutions that university leaders can pursue, including:

  • Start by listening to students. Behaviors that we often dismiss as character flaws, such as skipping class or failing to read the textbook, can be symptoms of a larger problem like financial stress. Understanding the reasons why students are struggling is a necessary first step to helping them overcome these barriers.
  • Assess students’ basic needs and target those at risk. In addition to academic preparation, meeting basic needs such as food, housing, and sleep are key determinants of students’ readiness to learn.
  • Leverage local and national partners to fill in gaps in services. For example, participating in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will help address food insecurity by allowing students to use their benefits to purchase food on campus. A small number of colleges and universities have taken this step, for example Oregon State University. Other local entities, such as food banks, housing authorities, and community-based clinics can help the university meet students’ basic needs.

We cannot ignore the challenges low-income students face on our campuses. These students need us to take the lead – and soon.  By listening to students, understanding their struggles, and taking short-term actions to address gaps in support services, we can move forward toward a higher education system where intellect and hard work – not ability to pay – is what matters most.


Sara Goldrick-Rab is a professor of higher-­education policy and sociology at Temple University, and founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. Her new book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream, is available for Kindle and in hardcover from, and from the University of Chicago Press Books.


3 Wins for Students, Communities, and Public Health

One of the first things students ask when they walk into my office is: “What can I do with a kinesiology major?” When I flip the question around and ask them what they’d like to do with it, the answer isn’t always definitive. Students need to develop an understanding of what is possible, and engage in experiences that will help them identify what they want to do – and how to get there.

That’s one of the reasons why we started 100 Citizens. Established in 2011 in the City of San Fernando’s Recreation Park, 100 Citizens is an exercise program that is free (accessible), sustainable (no external funding), and replicable. Kinesiology students who are educated and skilled in human movement lead community members in group exercise. Many of our students are bilingual and all are capable of teaching a diverse group of participants. The program is also a social experience where members of the community can meet each other and give each other support. We changed our name to 3 Wins Fitness to reflect the program’s outcomes: student benefit, participant fitness, and community health.3wins-action-shot-1

Since then, our impact has grown exponentially. The program has been extended from California State University (CSU), Northridge to three of our sister CSU institutions. We are in the process this academic year of expanding the program throughout the CSU system, with the ultimate goal of developing a business model for replicating the program across the country.

In 2012, we were recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, which challenged community organizations to share their programs in an international video competition. We believe that a public health solution to end childhood obesity must begin with the family, and we reach children by helping adults to become healthier role models. Our video submission for 100 Citizens won the popular choice vote and we visited the White House in 2013.

3wins-action-shot-2There were certainly some lessons learned along the way. Initially, we tried to give the idea to universities via a two-day workshop, but found that they had difficulty creating the infrastructure – or, they didn’t build their program to be sustainable. Now, we go directly to the universities and guide the development of the infrastructure to ensure sustainability. As part of our Clinton Global Initiative University Commitment to Action, we are raising funds to build this infrastructure at 20 CSU institutions for just $7,000 each. Once it’s built, there is no external funding required. We have had ours running and growing for 6 years without any external funding, serving over 250 participants each week

Once we establish scalability within the CSU system, it is our intent to create a business to facilitate successful expansion. This will create jobs for our students who have developed leadership and management skills. Hear more from our students and participants…

3 Wins Fitness is affordable, accessible, and sustainable, and has the capacity to improve public health, strengthen communities, and provide students with experiences that will help them succeed. But it’s also backed by scientific evidence. In a co-authored work with colleagues at the RAND Corporation, we concluded that creating a partnership between parks and kinesiology programs is a promising health promotion model. Replicating this type of program could yield important health dividends for communities across the country.  Since this article, we have expanded to 5 additional parks in Northridge and 4 additional universities without external funding – and we plan to keep up the pace. Learn more about the expansion…

Tell your contacts in public health about 3 Wins Fitness. With no state below 20% obesity, it’s a solution that can and must happen now.  The expansion of the program throughout the CSU system is being conducted by our CSU Northridge kinesiology students, who are empowering other students to make a difference in their communities. By taking something small and reproducing it on a larger scale, we can improve public health and well being across the country.

sloySteven Loy, Ph.D. is an exercise physiologist with current emphasis on creating more visibility for the field of Kinesiology in the Public Health arena. He has developed 3 Wins Fitness, a student delivered FREE exercise program for the community, which has been recognized at the White House as an example of what the profession of Kinesiology can do to improve the public’s health, particularly in underserved communities. You can learn more about this program at



The HIGH Program provides the basics to Wayne State students in need

No student should have to choose between going to class and life’s most basic needs of food and shelter. Since we founded the HIGH Program in 2013, this has become our simple mantra that motivates us each day. Unfortunately, it remains a reality for some Wayne State University students.

I discovered this when I first arrived at the university in the summer of 2013, when my husband, M. Roy Wilson, M.D., accepted the honor to be the 12th president of Wayne State. It was brought to my attention at an event, that a graduate student was homeless and living out of her car.    

She knew that soon she’d earn her degree and benefit from a higher education, but she didn’t want to choose between housing and tuition. And she just didn’t have enough for both.

Three years later, the HIGH Program alleviates some of that pressure for students in need. The program provides assistance to students needing help with tuition, housing, text books, transportation and other items that may seem incidental to most of us, but can make the difference between reaching a goal, or not.

We are excited about the momentum the HIGH Program has today. Since our inception in 2013, we’ve received over 300 applications for assistance and more than 130 students have been helped with financial aid support or direct referrals to an alternative funding source.

It’s important to understand who these students are, so let me paint a quick picture. These are individuals who are tenacious, ambitious and driven to succeed. The number one request we receive is for housing assistance. Usually, it’s temporary, just to get a student through a rough financial time.  Like this Wayne State Warrior:

I don’t even know where to begin. Where would I be now if it weren’t for the HIGH Program? Probably crashing on different people’s couches. I was literally on the brink of being evicted with only a couple months left in the semester. The HIGH Program saved me. They covered the two months so that I wouldn’t have to suffer or worry while in school. This also allowed me time to find a job for the summer and the ability to focus on school in the meantime. This program basically changed the course of things for me. I honestly don’t even know where the other road may have taken me, and I’m glad I don’t have to find out. This program is a very beneficial entity to students at Wayne State University. Thank you for everything!

Most Wayne State students seeking assistance from the HIGH Program come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have overcome almost insurmountable obstacles to be at our university. They persevere, knowing that an education is the key that unlocks a lifetime of doors. These students just need a temporary boost to keep them on track to graduate.

And graduate is exactly what they do. In 2014, 94 percent of the students who were provided assistance from the HIGH Program graduated on time. And in 2015, 100 percent of our participating students were on target to graduate.

The HIGH Program is funded by the generosity of individuals and by philanthropic organizations. We recently received a generous grant from the McGregor Fund and thanks to Phillip W. Fisher, Robert L. Ryan, The Baxt Family and the Sean Anderson Foundation, founded by rapper Big Sean, the HIGH Program now has a modest endowment.

But we must do more. Because the need is strong, we are setting our goals “high.”  While continuing to assist students with immediate needs, we intend to aggressively develop a consistent revenue stream and build an endowment of $5 million in order to assist at least 50 students annually.

There is no gift that’s too small, because collectively they make a big difference in a student’s life. If you’d like to contribute to the HIGH Program or if you’re interested in receiving more information on our program, please email us at or visit our website,

jacqueline-wilsonJacqueline Wilson is Wayne State University’s First Lady and Founding Director of the HIGH Program: Helping Individuals Go Higher — a creative initiative to help motivated, homeless students realize their dreams of earning a college degree. Mrs. Wilson first began the program shortly after arriving on campus in 2013 after learning about a student living in her car because she couldn’t afford to pay for tuition and a place to live. Mrs. Wilson believes that no student should have to choose between higher education and survival. Mrs. Jacqueline Wilson is championing the cause of homelessness at Wayne State and in Detroit. She serves on the Board of Directors for Covenant House, a shelter for homeless youth, and is a member of the City of Detroit Homelessness Task Force Committee. Mrs. Wilson’s work in the Detroit community has already distinguished her as a Comcast Newsmaker and one of the Michigan Chronicle’s 2015 Women of Excellence.

Hear what students have to say about the HIGH Program:

Nursing Schools Now Have One Big Toolkit for Improving Admissions

About a year ago, a dean of nursing contacted us with this question: “Your report on holistic admissions in the health professions was great – but how do I actually implement all this on my campus? Are there resources available for nursing?” At the time we didn’t have a good answer, because no such resources existed.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) have been providing training programs for their member institutions for a number of years, but holistic review is still a relatively new and underutilized practice in nursing – particularly for undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs that have limited ability to select their own students. There simply weren’t any resources available at a national level to assist nursing schools in developing a holistic review process.

Until now.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) just released the first-ever online knowledge base of resources for holistic review in nursing. The knowledge base is populated by multimedia resources developed by AACN, USU/APLU, and the AAMC. These resources were tested and refined during a set of pilot workshops for nursing deans last March, which were supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Picture3The knowledge base is full of useful tools, examples, and communications products customized to the unique needs of nursing schools, including:

The knowledge base is publicly available and provided free of charge. Although the resources were designed with nursing in mind, faculty and administrators from any discipline may benefit from the information. AACN members can also sign up to participate in an Online Collaboration Community, where they can ask questions, get advice, and share their successes with peers at other nursing schools.

These resources are just a taste of what is to come. AACN plans to develop in-person training modules, similar to those provided by AAMC, to educate nursing faculty and administrators on their campuses.

Need a primer on holistic review? Check out our introductory video:


Visit for more tools, data, and resources to help your school improve its admission process.

From Setback to Success: APLU’s “Turning Points”

Imagine this scenario at a hypothetical university: it’s the early 2000s, and online learning is an emerging concept growing in popularity. The university’s president comes up with an innovative idea to get ahead of the e-learning curve, trim the university’s budget, and provide more course flexibility for the institution’s many non-traditional students.  The president instructed colleges and departments to reduce the number of classroom sections for introductory gateway courses, and replace them with online sections taught by the same instructors, with identical content.  He theorized this shift would help working students fit introductory courses into their busy schedules.

One year later, to the president’s chagrin, first-year student retention rates had dropped by 7 percent overall – and by 15 percent for first-generation college students.

This wasn’t the outcome he’d been hoping for. But the results proved critically important.

Because of early experimentation, we now know that the way online courses are implemented determines their efficacy. Pedagogy matters. Instructors accustomed to teaching face-to-face need time and guidance to adapt their courses to a new format. Like many of society’s most valuable innovations, best practices for online education weren’t developed all at once, but through an iterative process of testing, refining, and testing again.

Learning from Failure

Achieving success at scale means taking risks and pushing boundaries, and things don’t always work as planned. University leaders want to learn from those failures, but as public leaders they are often reluctant to share what they’ve learned outside their own campuses. Given the magnitude of challenges facing public higher education, finding ways to learn from setbacks and not repeat others’ missteps is of growing importance.

That’s why we need you.

At the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Annual Meeting on November 13 in Austin, Texas, APLU and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) will host a fun and engaging session in which up to five institutions, chosen through a video application, will share their stories of early setbacks that ultimately led to success – and win cash to keep their efforts going.

What is “Turning Points”?

Based on the Fail Festival concept, established by the international development community, Turning Points is a forum for universities to share how a failure or misstep triggered a later success. The Fail Festival model features short, TED-like talks that are authentic and entertaining in nature, outline key failures, why they happened, lessons learned, and how the organization turned them around.


Why Should My University Participate?

Up to five winners will be selected. Each will receive $5,000 and be invited to present their Turning Point at the APLU Annual Meeting on Sunday, November 13, at 1:45 p.m. Travel costs and registration fees will be covered by APLU. In addition, there will be up to 12 honorable mentions selected, each of which will receive $1,000 prizes but will not receive travel support. All of those chosen for the $1,000 or $5,000 prizes will have their videos on display in the annual meeting exhibition hall.

How Can I Apply?

APLU and USU member institutions are eligible to apply. If you are interested in presenting at the APLU Annual Meeting, submit a brief expression of interest to Shari Garmise with the name of the institution, a title, a 1-2 sentence description of the turning point, and the name of the university representative who would present at the APLU Annual Meeting if chosen, along with his/her contact information. Expressions of interest are due by COB, Friday, September 2, 2016. Up to three videos per institution can be accepted with each presenting a separate turning point story, but an expression of interest must be received for each one.

After the letter of intent is submitted, the next step is to develop and submit a 5-15 minute video that will serve as your application. The technical quality of the video is not important, but the quality of the presentation is critical. When the video is final, entrants should provide a link to a Dropbox or similar file sharing site that APLU can use to download the final product. Send the link to Shari Garmise by September 30, 2016.

Are you ready to share your story? If so, jot down a few ideas and send in your expression of interest today. Because failing to learn from each others experiences would be the biggest failure of all. We owe it to our students to keep innovating, learning, and changing to support their success. See you in November!


5 Things Universities Can Do to Engage Faculty in Student Success

As the summer draws to a close, you and your colleagues may be contemplating how you will achieve your goals for the upcoming academic year, and it’s likely that improving student retention, graduation, and success is high on your agenda.

If so, you may want to spend some time thinking about your adjunct faculty.

Here’s why: more than half of faculty at U.S. 4-year colleges and universities are part-time, non-tenure track employees. Furthermore, the percentage of faculty who are part-time is even higher at large, urban-serving institutions. Your students will spend just as much – if not more – time interacting with adjuncts as they will with full professors.  It is therefore essential that your contingent faculty engage with students effectively and provide high-quality teaching that will foster student success.

This is the conclusion of a recent leadership brief produced by a working group of faculty members interested in improving student performance. The working group came together as part of the Collaborating for Change initiative to discuss effective strategies for faculty engagement. They identified three high priority areas:

  • Recognizing and rewarding faculty at all levels;
  • Providing professional development opportunities to all faculty; and
  • Monitoring faculty participation in professional development activities.

Very few institutions extend teaching awards and other incentives to adjunct faculty, even though these instructors reach large numbers of students. Although adjuncts are not excluded from professional development opportunities, the circumstances of their employment present barriers to participation. The most significant are lack of time and scheduling issues, as many adjuncts work at more than one university or have other outside employment. Some university leaders may not be fully aware of these challenges, because they are not collecting data on adjuncts or monitoring their involvement in professional development opportunities.

Data from the Gallup-Purdue Index  show that students are more motivated to pursue their academic goals when they have a caring, supportive professor who gets them excited about learning. Unfortunately, only 14 percent of the 30,000 graduates surveyed said they’d had a professor who personally encouraged them. These findings suggest that ongoing support, recognition, and professional development are essential to engaging all faculty in student success.

Action Steps

The working group of faculty members recommended that universities:

  1. Extend awards structures to include all faculty;
  2. Develop new and creative incentive opportunities;
  3. Invest resources in teaching and learning centers to support all faculty;
  4. Expand professional development opportunities to include all faculty; and
  5. Build capacity to monitor professional development outcomes.

As an example, the University of Central Florida’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning developed a program to increase retention and teaching effectiveness of their part-time faculty. The program was designed around the hectic schedules of adjuncts and included an online program as well as in-person workshops and retreats. The university also invests $500,000 each year to support faculty awards and recognition alone – and it spends far more on professional development activities.

Additional Resources


There are a number of ongoing initiatives devoted to faculty development, and resources from these efforts may help universities move forward with the Collaborating for Change recommendations. Achieving the Dream, a non-profit that advocates institutional change at community colleges, just launched a pilot project to “increase adjunct faculty engagement in their campuses’ completion agendas,” and lessons learned may be applicable to 4-year universities as well. The Delphi Project, a partnership with AAC&U and the USC Rossier School of Education, is also a source of data and evidence-based tools for supporting non-tenure track faculty.


A Medical Student’s Perspective on Holistic Review

As the healthcare landscape in America continues to change after the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, we are seeing an even more diverse group of patients seeking care across the nation. As rapidly as these demographics are changing, however, there is still progress to be made in diversity of healthcare providers who treat these patients. For instance, although 13 percent of Americans are of African descent, Black physicians only make up about 4% of all physicians in this country.

One way to increase diversity in the health professions is to change how health professional schools are admitting students. A new strategy, holistic review, has emerged as a potential solution to the health care workforce diversity problem. As a current medical student that has had the privilege of attending incredibly diverse public schools while growing up in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, alongside students from various socioeconomic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, I can appreciate the value that health professional schools will gain by increasing their use of holistic review.

Holistic review allows admissions committees to evaluate applicants more broadly than in a traditional admissions process, which focuses primarily on grades and test scores. With holistic review, admissions committees balance their consideration of a candidate’s experiences with the candidate’s grades and test scores, ultimately accepting and enrolling a more diverse class of students. And there is evidence to suggest that holistic review works. In a report published by Urban Universities for HEALTH, it was found that health professional schools practicing holistic review reported increased student body diversity, without any corresponding decline in student academic success.

The opportunity to grow up in such a diverse environment has made me appreciate the benefit of my ability to connect with individuals whose backgrounds are different from my own. Communicating with others who have different experiences and perspectives, withholding judgment, and truly listening to and appreciating our different opinions is a skill I could not have developed without exposure to diversity. In the medical school environment, diversity brings a richness to educational experiences that cannot be quantified. Cultural competency can be taught firsthand through interpersonal experiences with classmates as early as years one and two of medical school – before any significant interactions with patients occur.

Physicians, who are experts in their fields, need to be able to translate their knowledge into patient care in a way that is unbiased, and takes into consideration the patient’s background and personal experiences. What good is it to prescribe a medication to a patient that he or she cannot afford, and therefore will not take? How would you be helping a patient from a different cultural background, who is uncomfortable taking certain medications, if you ignore her and prescribe them anyway? Will you simply deem the patient “not compliant” and terminate her from your care?  The best time to address problems with future patient encounters is at the beginning of training, when knowledge and behaviors are still malleable.

In order for all students to have fruitful discussions on patient care and cultural competency, it is important to allow students with an array of experiences to have “a seat at the table.” Diversifying the physician workforce will reduce health disparities, which in turn will reduce healthcare spending.  In order to create that workforce, medical schools cannot simply continue admitting traditional medical school applicants. Medical schools must begin to actively seek, recruit, and enroll highly-qualified students from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a range of life experiences.

I think it is safe to say that we all want healthcare professionals with good knowledge of science and strong analytical skills overseeing our care, but don’t we also want providers who have a proven track record of dedication, perseverance, worldly experiences, and compassion? If these qualities are valued during the admissions process, we will find students who possess them. After all, in the beginning of our medical training when we take the Hippocratic Oath, we acknowledge, swear to uphold, and “remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”


Valerie Pierre is currently a fourth year medical student at Howard University College of Medicine. She hails from the Washington, D.C. suburbs and is passionate about public health, health policy and advocacy. She is dedicated to leading a career that will allow her to make a significant impact in medical education and reducing health disparities on a global level.



Urban Universities Excel at Improving Student Retention and Degree Completion


Image Credit: John Walker

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) named four urban-serving institutions as finalists last week for the APLU 2016 Project Degree Completion Award: California State University, Fresno, Cleveland State University, the University of California, Riverside and Wayne State University. The competition identifies institutions that have made significant progress toward improving degree completion on their campuses, and rewards universities that have developed innovative practices for retaining students.

Although increasing the number of students who attend college is an important goal, degree completion is just as essential. Without a degree, students cannot reap the long-term benefits of their education such as advanced career opportunities and higher incomes. In addition, individuals with student debt but no degree are more likely to default on their loans.

APLU will recognize the finalists at the 2016 APLU Annual Meeting on November 13-15 in Austin, Texas. The winning institution will receive $15,000 to magnify the impact of its degree completion efforts.

So what are these institutions doing? Each has invested in systemic programs to ramp up student success, including:

  • California State University, Fresno’s Graduation Rate Initiative, which uses year-specific interventions such as learning communities to improve degree completion. The university has increased its six-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time students by 10 percent since the program began in 2009.
  • Cleveland State University’s CSU Student Success Plan provides students with detailed degree maps to help them navigate the courses they need to graduate on time. CSU has experienced a 6 percent increase in six-year graduation rates among first-time, full-time students.
  • University of California, Riverside’s Graduation Rate Task Force has reengineered the university’s introductory mathematics courses to help more students succeed, and uses advising tools to target students at risk of stopping out or dropping out. UC Riverside has boosted its five-year graduation rate by 11 percent since the task force was launched in 2013.
  • Wayne State University’s Undergraduate Success Initiatives, a set of 10 reinforcing programs, includes strategies to address advising, financial literacy, and community college transfer issues. The university’s graduation rate has increased 9 percent since the initiatives were launched.

How is your institution working to increase degree completion? What are some of the lessons learned that you could share with our USU coalition? Contribute to the discussion in the comments section below…

Building a More Diverse Biomedical Research Workforce

“There just aren’t enough minority scholars in the STEM pipeline.”

“Underrepresented students get so many scholarship offers, there’s no way our university can compete.”

“Until we fix our broken K-12 educational system, there’s little universities can do to expand minority student participation in science.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar? They are common refrains among higher education leaders, used to explain why – despite years of effort and millions of dollars in investment – underrepresented student participation in science fields continues to lag. The problem with these assumptions, however, is that they aren’t grounded in evidence.

One look at the numbers illuminates the depth of the diversity dilemma in higher education. According to recent data, only 8.5 percent of doctoral degrees were awarded to underrepresented individuals, and only 4 percent of postdoctoral scholars in STEM fields were from underrepresented groups. The lack of minority representation is concerning, especially since the United States is expected to become a majority-minority nation within the next few decades.

Diversity graphs

This persistent under-representation of minorities, women, people with disabilities, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged is extremely troubling. Diversity in the STEM and biomedical science workforce is critical for conducting quality research that will enhance our nation’s competitiveness. Studies across disciplines have demonstrated that diverse teams are able to solve complex problems more quickly and effectively than homogeneous ones. A diverse health and biomedical workforce aids the production of treatments and cures that are applicable to all patient populations while also enhancing patient satisfaction and trust, leading to more equitable health outcomes.

Although individual universities are making an effort to diversify research talent, promising innovations could benefit from broader testing. A stronger evidence base for successful interventions will enable universities to bring these strategies to scale and magnify their impact.

Yesterday, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU)/Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released a report intended to catalyze the process of improving evidence for successful diversity efforts. This report, the product of collaboration among 70 research experts at 28 universities, proposes actions that, if undertaken, will contribute to the body of knowledge that university leaders need to drive change across their institutions. Ultimately, this evidence base has the potential to alter how universities do business, increasing investment in practices that work and phasing out those that do not.

The proposed research actions will require deep collaboration across universities, academic medical centers, and national stakeholders. But as the opening statements above make clear, the lack of evidence is a significant barrier to change. We can do better – and these research actions are a good first step.

Read the full report

Leaders and entrepreneurs gather to tackle urban challenges at CEOs for Cities National Meeting

As a university leader, how can you be sure that students are getting the skills they need to keep up with the rapidly-changing job market? What role should universities play in reducing inequality in the community? How can universities collaborate with the private sector to create a more inclusive economy in the city?

These are just a few of the questions that will be on the table at the CEOs for Cities annual National Meeting in Columbus, Ohio on September 27-29. CEOs for Cities is a national city-learning network. We curate smart ideas, benchmark city success through our City Vitals, connect cross-sector leaders through our network of City Clusters, catalyze collaborative change through our City Dividends, and accelerate progress through our Prize Challenges.

Columbus is a smart, open city with a resilient spirit and a surging economy. Like most cities, however, Columbus is challenged to align its economic growth with inclusion so that no citizen or neighborhood is left behind. At the National Meeting, CEOs for Cities will explore how urban communities are working to achieve inclusive economic growth and opportunities for widespread economic success.

The National Meeting will feature a number of keynote speakers, including:

  • Mark Kvamme, co-founder and partner of the venture capital investment firm Drive Capital, who will tell us how to find innovation and opportunity in unexpected places.Mark Kvamme
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, President and CEO of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute focused on using public policies to create conditions that benefit everyone, especially low-income communities and communities of color. Her speech will focus on pathways to social equity and economic inclusion.Angela Glover Blackwell
  • Gabriel Metcalf, President and CEO of SPUR (San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association), which works across the political spectrum to develop solutions to key urban challenges. Gabriel will share his ideas for a new urban agenda and strategies for achieving economic prosperity.Gabriel Metcalf

This will be an exciting conference with many opportunities for university leaders to engage with their peers in business and industry around our shared goals for urban communities. To register, visit For more information, contact CEOs for Cities at 216-687-4704 or email

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