Blogpost: It’s Really a Forum by Jessica Canas

0912131403I have come to realize that the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good is literally a forum. In the short time I have been here, it has become a physical place where I go to engage in rich conversations with professors, staff and my peers around the higher education issues that concern us the most. Through these dialogues, I have been exposed to many topics in higher education that I had never even thought of before such as challenges foster care youth face in accessing higher education. I have also had opportunities to participate in conversations at the national level.

Through the National Forum. I had the opportunity to attend my first national higher education conference in my hometown Chicago, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). After delving into the histories, challenges and strengths of Minority Serving Institutions through a class I am taking it was beneficial to meet individuals from Hispanic Serving Institutions from across the nation and hear about the great work they are doing. The University of Michigan was recognized for being a strong associate of HACU and for its work with college access for undocumented students. A team from the National Forum presented on uLEAD, an online tool created at the Forum to encourage collaboration and problem solving for university leaders committed to educational access and diversity.

Most recently, I was able to engage in conversation with individuals from UC Berkeley and Texas State University on their efforts to provide support to undocumented and Latino students on their campuses. Being new to the field of higher education, I would have never guessed that so many initiatives are taking place to make higher education accessible to all students. I am excited to be a part of a team that is working towards the same goals.