Creating a Community Asset Map: My Experience with Brightmoor

Deonte Howell

Portfolio photoWhile working at the National Forum, I have had the opportunity to engage in the Brightmoor project, which works to create resources and dialogue within the Brightmoor community in Detroit.  My specific assignment was to assist with the completion of the Brightmoor Community Asset Map.  The idea behind the Community Asset Map is to create a booklet that allows community members to locate various services that might assist them in reaching their educational or professional goals.

While working on this project, I had the chance to contact various nonprofits in the Brightmoor neighborhood so that I could learn about their programs.  Then I worked on compiling the data from each nonprofit about their programs into a spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet is meant to be a guide to the Communications Team as they work on developing an actual map.

Overall, this was a very rewarding project for many reasons.  The primary reasons are that I enjoy doing work that will better the community, and because I previously have had multiple opportunities to work directly in the Brightmoor neighborhood.  This project, once completed, will allow for the residents of Brightmoor to be more aware of the resources available to them.

Top 10 Things I Hope to Gain at the National Forum

By Carly Wegner 

My decision to pursue the Philanthropy, Advancement, and Development concentration as part of the Higher Education masters program eventually led me to the National Forum. I have already begun to learn a great deal since joining the National Forum, but I am hoping to gain many more skills throughout my time here.

10. Greater awareness of policy issues affecting higher education

9. More insight into institutional politics

8. Greater understanding of charitable foundations

7. Event planning experience

6. Greater understanding of budgets and budgeting projects

5. Grant seeking experience

4. Grant writing experience

3. More skills associated with the stewardship aspect of the Finance and Stewardship team

2. Gain and/or better relationships with others who are passionate about higher education

1. Professional growth to increase the probability of a career in institutional development

Blogpost: Community Colleges: Access Points to the American Dream

By Jon McNaughtan

Earlier this month, the National Forum hosted a two-day event in conjunction with the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education (CCCIE).  Focusing on the importance of integrating immigrant students into American community colleges, multiple discussion sessions addressed critical areas of concern for many of the nation’s community colleges: developing supportive networks for integrating immigrant students in community colleges; promising institutional practices; and current policy relevant to immigrant students.

The initial session led by Teresita Wisell, Associate Dean at Westchester Community College (New York) and Executive Director of CCCIE, and Jill Casner-Lotto, Director of CCCIE, laid the groundwork for the convening.  Stating that there was no natural voice outlining the community college’s role in immigrant education, Dean Wisell discussed the importance of CCCIE in creating coalitions of community colleges across the country that are developing programs to support immigrant students.  The network created by CCCIE includes colleges with supportive policies, successful programs, and diverse demographics.  This consortium of institutions is designed to provide the missing voice that Dean Wisell identified.  In addition, the consortium facilitates sharing promising practices that other community colleges can adopt.

Following Wisell and Casner-Lotto, Erin Howard, Hispanic Outreach Coordinator at Bluegrass Community & Technical College (Kentucky), provided context on the front lines of immigrant education and how a member of the network created by CCCIE has engaged this issue in a promising way.  Howard shared a few of the programs and initiatives she created while at Bluegrass.  Selected practices from Bluegrass included:

  • Training frontline staff on current state and federal policies related to immigrants and undocumented students
  • Organizing community meetings to inform new Americans about current relevant policy and how it impacts their children’s opportunities to attend college
  • Partnering with local universities to create seamless transitions for immigrant students from community colleges into four-year programs
  • Understanding that there is a difference between policy and practice, and working to create positive policies that can mirror good practice

In her role at Bluegrass, Howard supports all students, regardless of race or immigration status.  She is an example of how just one person situated in a college with supportive leadership that is willing to engage and build trust in the community can have a significant impact on immigrant students through education.  She asserted that all of the work she has done has been possible thanks to progressive institutional leaders and active student support organizations.

The final session focused on the current policy environment of immigration reform and was led by Julieta Garibay, Coordinator of United We Dream’s DREAM Educational Empowerment Program and James Hermes, associate Vice President for Government Relation for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).  Julieta began this session by sharing her experience as an undocumented student growing up in Texas.  Her struggle to work through college and graduate with a nursing degree only to face further challenges resulting from her immigration status provided a powerful illustration of the need for reform.  She articulated the issue well when she stated, “Many students grow up not knowing they are undocumented, and when they find out, they are discouraged and lose hope for their future.”  Julieta’s remarks and the discussion led by Hermes ended with the understanding that we cannot let someone’s immigration status become their identity.

There are many students like Julieta who are struggling today to create a better future for themselves and making indispensible contributions to society.  Too many of these young people are impeded by slow political reform and institutional indifference.  There is so much more community colleges can do, and the CCCIE seeks to provide the support and voice for that important work.

Blogpost: A Visit from Baldwin High School

By Kelly Finzer

On Wednesday, April 10th, Gina Gallagher, Dr. Burkhardt, and I joined with some outstanding high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Baldwin High School for dinner at Ann Arbor favorite, Pizza House.  These students were on a tour of nine colleges in Southeastern Michigan, gathering information and ideas about the different types of colleges that they may one day decide to attend.  The students had visited Schoolcraft College, Oakland Community College, and Oakland University, alma mater of our own John Burkhardt, earlier that day and had plans to visit the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College the following day.

Our invitation to this dinner came from Miss Ayana Richardson, representative of the Baldwin Promise Zone.  The Baldwin Promise Zone received one of the two grants that Dr. Burkhardt’s EDUC 769 course awarded as part of its Fall 2012 curriculum.  Since Gina and I were both students in the class and have continued to support the grant process, we were also invited to join the Baldwin Panthers for some of their time in Ann Arbor.

In this picture, from left: Ann Desiderio, UM Master's Student, Jacob Burton, Baldwin Sophomore, Alice Howard, Baldwin Junior, Kamaria Taylor, Baldwin Junior

In this picture, from left: Ann Desiderio, UM Master’s Student, Jacob Burton, Baldwin Sophomore, Alice Howard, Baldwin Junior, Kamaria Taylor, Baldwin Junior

Unfortunately, the evening began with rain as the drizzly afternoon turned into evening showers. However, bright and cheerful students scampered off of the bus and into a warmly lit Pizza House for an evening of food and fun.  We started off our time together with introductions as each student shared their name, year in school, and an early favorite for postsecondary study.  I found the students’ excitement over their options for college inspiring and really enjoyed learning which schools in Michigan they found appealing.  As a native Ohioan, I know very little about most of Michigan’s colleges beyond the Big Ten so I learned about many other schools in Michigan as well.

Over delicious pizza, Gina and I listened to the students’ descriptions of the first part of their trip.  After visiting three schools, they were beginning to wonder more about what resources were available on campus.  One student mentioned that she occasionally needs help with chemistry homework.  Gina and I assured her that she would be able to find it on a college campus and shared stories about our own struggles with college chemistry.

We finished out the night with a rousing round of The Victors.  Since the Baldwin students did not know the University of Michigan’s fight song yet, Dr. Burkhardt recruited as many volunteers as he could to help us teach it.  We were joined by both managers and patrons of Pizza House as we launched into “Hail! to the Victors valiant!”  As the song concluded, we posed for a picture, and the students set off on the next leg of their tour.



By Margaret Brower

I have only worked at the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good for two semesters now, and yet I have learned so much.  Last week’s webinar, “Broadening Access for Undocumented Students: Federal Policy Implications for Higher Education Professionals,” has become one of many benchmarks undergirding my personal growth, our team’s progression and a new opportunity for the National Forum to broaden its network.

In regards to my personal growth, this webinar was the first project I was assigned to at the National Forum.  Our organization has been very successful in the past at hosting large convenings to disseminate information and engage institutional leaders in much needed dialogues.  Our organization had never, however, launched a webinar.  Thus, watching webinars became my new hobby.  Whether the webinar was on international relations or information similar to our own research, I watched it, took notes and brought these notes back to the team.  I was terrified that my team was depending on me to help lead this initiative.

However, one of the most unique and endearing qualities of the National Forum is our teamwork.  As I fearfully put together potential agendas and proposals for webinars, my team always came to my rescue.  Together, we crowded around our conference table brainstorming different directions, goals and ideas for our new webinar.  Everyday our webinar evolved as we confirmed our agenda, partnered with the National Association of Financial Aid Directors (NASFAA), secured experts as panelists and learned more about the technology to launch our vision.

What were the results of over six months of planning, designing and collaborating?

What began as a raw, personal vision of administrators coming together resulted in a focused, political and informative webinar to support undocumented students.  On over 400 computer screens, Deans of universities, directors of financial aid and admission offices, faculty, students and numerous other institutional leaders came together to engage in our webinar.  In between presentations by executive directors on different components of the Deferred Action for Childhood Adults (DACA) and the Dream Act, audience members were able to ask questions and engage with the information presented.  Afterwards, our webinar was posted on our uLEAD website with additional useful documents regarding these policies for our institutional leaders to access and share.

The National Forum could not be more proud of the direction we are headed and we look forward to planning future events that will continue to broaden our network and by extension our support to undocumented students across the country.

By Marisol Ramos

Several members of the immigration research team at the National Forum attended the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Conference in San Antonio, TX on March 28-30th, 2013.  This year’s AAHHE was special, as the National Forum had the opportunity to unveil for the first time: the uLEAD Network.  While we were happy to share the website with committed practitioners and researchers, we were overjoyed by the great feedback and response we received at AAHHE.

According to the mission of AAHHE, the association views itself as an agent of change for improving education, thus enabling Hispanic students to fully participate in a diverse society, given the shifting demographic changes affecting American society.  Similarly, the uLEAD Network grows out of our tradition of work on access to higher education and our commitment to providing tools that enhance leaders’ ability to create positive change in their institutions.  Our missions, while slightly different, seek to further create and open channels of access to higher education for underrepresented populations.  When the National Forum was invited to present on the uLEAD Network at the AAHHE conference, we were confident that members of AAHHE would provide great feedback to our work.

Days before the presentation, the entire National Forum Team worked diligently to make sure the uLEAD network was ready to be launched at the AAHHE conference.  Members of the Communications Team, for example, worked on editing and uploading videos to the site, while others worked on preparing templates for materials on the site including our training modules and outreach materials.  Other members of the team edited and contributed content to the site including adding additional dates to our immigration history timeline and conducting voiceovers for presentations, while others looked up state admission and registration policies and made sure the website content was up-to-date.  Meanwhile, our website developer was available at all hours to make sure the website was accessible to users and had no missing links. In other words, team members at the National Forum went above and beyond to make sure the uLEAD site was ready for launch date.

It was all worth it.  During our presentation, we walked through the website and discussed the features and functionality of the site to attendees of the uLEAD workshop.  At first there was a dead silence in the room as attendees looked at the presenter click through the pages.  But if you looked closely, the room was actually filled with awe and wonder, as if the attendees knew the possibilities that a site like the uLEAD site could have in their work.  When we concluded the presentation, there was no standing room for spontaneous conversation that took place across the room.  Emails and business cards were exchanged and commitments were made by both presenters and attendees to contribute in some way to site whether by taping a podcast, serving as resource or referring someone to the site.

We are ecstatic about the possibilities the uLEAD website can have in promoting access to higher education.  We invite you to visit our website at

Blogpost: NASPA 2013: Beyond Boundaries

By Kyle Southern

Two weeks ago, my colleague from the National Forum, Kim Reyes, and Dr. Cassie Barnhardt—a graduate of the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education here at Michigan, former National Forum team member, and current assistant professor at the University of Iowa—joined me at the annual conference of NASPA – student affairs administrators in higher education.  The conference’s theme, Bold without Boundaries, served as an inspiration for higher education student affairs professionals to support all of the students on their respective campuses.  Each student on every campus deserves the opportunity to benefit from a full collegiate experience—whatever that happens to mean at his or her institution.

The conference theme complemented the work of the National Forum to broaden opportunities for deserving students nationwide.  Dr. Barnhardt, Kim, and I presented an overview of the National Forum’s prior and emerging work focusing on educational opportunities for undocumented students.  As Congress moves forward with comprehensive immigration reform proposals, the intersection of immigration and higher education policy represents a pressing area of concern for campus leaders.

Regardless of political opinions about issues as complicated as familial ties and citizenship, student affairs professionals who are active in NASPA share a common commitment to the success of each student they encounter.  The presentation we brought from the National Forum sought to broaden understanding of the policy environments within which campuses make decisions about how to encourage and support undocumented students pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities.

In addition to sharing our work on state policies regarding the availability of educational access and in-state tuition benefits for undocumented students, we presented a case study of how one small liberal arts college took up the cause of ensuring an undocumented student could benefit from participating in laboratory research to enrich her experience.

This case study of a dean of students recognizing the responsibility of student affairs professionals to support their students provided one basis for developing the uLEAD Network.  Dr. Barnhardt, Kim, and I previewed uLEAD for session attendees at NASPA, and more information will soon be available on this website.  The uLEAD Network will be a dynamic resource for institutional leaders who are confronting complex issues of campus diversity.  Information for leaders on campuses will help facilitate dialogue and increased understanding, and increased understanding will help encourage action to support deserving students.

By taking this approach, uLEAD represents a new step in the National Forum’s continuing effort to promote higher education’s role in expanding the opportunities of democracy—in other words, to equip campus leaders with the resources they need to take bold action and build bridges across boundaries to students fulfilling their potential.

Blogpost: Legendary Musician Update on Nate Mueting

Nathan Mueting

We caught up with Legendary Musician, Nate Mueting, on his National Forum experience and his future plans. Read on to see where he’s off to next!

 What brought you to have an interest in the field of philanthropy in the first place? 

I had always had an interest in the administrative side of higher education, but my first introduction to philanthropy was in the Philanthropy and Higher Education course. I was really interested in the idea that there are some areas where public and private support is not enough and that philanthropy helps to fill in those gaps. Before that class, I did not realize how big a role philanthropy plays in society.

What role did your coursework play in helping you to understand the philosophies that gird the field? Is there a reading or an experience that stands out for you?

The coursework helped me to understand the larger picture of higher education and philanthropy. There are many ways that both sides affect the other. The readings about transformational versus transactional relationships also helped me to understand the relationship foundations and philanthropists can have with universities, especially when dealing with major donations or grants.

What were your internship roles while in the MA program and how did they help you prepare for what you plan to do?

I had three internships while in the program, one at the business school, one in an alumni relations/development position at The Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR) and then at the National Forum on the Finance and Stewardship team. All were great experiences. IGR had not done much alumni relations or fundraising, and I was able to lead the start of those efforts and felt like I contributed a lot. I also learned a lot working on the F&S team at the Forum. I know learning about grant writing and stewardship will be helpful as I start my career, but what might be more important (and what I think is emphasized at the Forum) is learning how to work collaboratively in those processes. Working in advancement and development, or anywhere within higher education, requires collaboration and building relationships with many people and I think my experience at the Forum will really help with that.

Is there something in the National Forum’s work culture you would like to take with you? Any advice for someone that might follow you in what you are leaving behind?

A couple things from the National Forum’s culture that I would like to take with me is the collaborative environment. Each team works closely with each other and the members are also accountable to each other. I think that makes for a really rewarding experience, especially at the conclusion of a project. Everyone at the Forum is also eager to help out, so any advice I give to someone new would be to ask questions. You’ll be able to jump into the work quicker and won’t have to re-invent the wheel.

Tell us about your new job? What will you be doing? How does this relate to your longer career goals?

My new title is Alumni Relations Manager at the Ross School. I will be working on programs to engage alumni as well as to encourage participation and demonstrate stewardship with the annual fund. I would like to continue in university advancement whether that be alumni affairs, development, business engagement, or anther area. With this role, I will be able to see a little bit of all those areas and better determine what I would like to do next.

By Gina Gallagher 

SANY0005Last fall, in EDUC 769, my classmates and I were able to experience a unique and powerful lesson in philanthropy. Thanks to the gift of a generous donor, we were able to give $100,000 worth of grants to two very worthy non-profits. We were so enthused by the project that a few students decided to take things a step further.

We knew that the selected non-profits were very grateful for our one-time gift, but they expressed a common frustration that many grants, although generous, did not have a mechanism for follow-up or for establishing a relationship with donors or a genuine dialogue about how they might use funds to leverage impact consistent with donor intent. We found this to be an intriguing question given the nature of a class that meets together for a semester and then disbands. This setup does not give way to developing an ongoing relationship between the class and its grant recipients, creating what the class identified as an interesting dilemma: how can we use our grants in a way that has the most impact on the funding—both present and future—of our grantees?

In collaboration with our grantees, we came up with a solution: At their request we are putting together a conference in which we engage with them to explore the options for ongoing impact, and will bring in an outside workshop leader in order to help leverage these grants for future funding. We will be hosting our non-profit grant recipients for a day of focused dialogue about “impact philanthropy” involving students from both classes in the planning and all sessions, as well as experts from local foundations. We plan to have an interactive dialogue about what impact philanthropy is and how to achieve it. We also hope to focus on the importance of communications strategy and the ways to leverage impact in achieving future grants.

The conference is open to everyone, so join us for a day of focused dialogue exploring impact philanthropy on April 3, 2013 at the University of Michigan. It takes place at the Henderson Room at the Michigan League. Visitor parking is available at

Palmer Commons Structure and Maynard Parking Structure. For those attending, RSVP to this event by Friday, March 29th. For further information, feel free to contact me (Gina Gallagher) at

Blogpost: Adaptation from an upcoming article, The Convergence of Education and Labor Markets

By Nabih Haddad

The following blog post is an adaptation of a forthcoming article titled “ORDER, DISCIPLINE AND EXIGENCY: The Convergence of U.S. and Cuban Education Policy in the Service of Labor Market,” by Larry Catá Backer and Nabih Haddad, due out in 2013.

Part 1

Post-secondary education has been shifting from a teaching based model to a vocational based model; one that is managed through the development of well-targeted measurable outcomes that meet the requirements of students, employers, and private constituencies (Gumport, 2005; Giroux, 2002).  This suggests a profound effect on the foundational premises of the delivery system which higher education is traditionally based on.  This trend will end the traditional model of higher education – one that was focused on the faculty (academic) and the dissemination of knowledge to both the students and to the public– to one that is grounded on the student as a consumer and the consumption of information for targeted constituencies.  This shift in orientation has transformed the university system to reflect a “made to market” approach to program and course development (Backer, 2012a).  Of course, public universities deviate from the pure corporate structuring, due to the complex interactions between state appropriations, pricing restrictions, and so on.  The focus of this article is on the effects on the development of pedagogy, course content, and programs in higher education.  It touches on the role of labor markets in the construction of educational programs, made more complicated (though not exceptionally so) when public regulators also have a power to intervene in the development of programs of education delivery. (Backer, 2012a)

One of the effects of this dynamic is to encourage a tendency toward “made to market” education (Backer, 2012a).  When an industry captures a department or college, and worse, when it uses its influence within public accrediting body to further its own parochial interests, not only does the university (and its faculty) lose its autonomy (and control over the character and context of the research it produces), it also fails to serve the greater needs of the wage labor markets itself and perhaps, perversely, the public good.  It tends, in the second instance, to relieve faculty (and university administrators eager for the short term benefits of student placements and contented employers) of a substantial responsibility for its curriculum in the macro (programs and degrees) and the micro (courses and course content) sense (Backer, 2012b; Ginsberg,2011).

In a sense, there is a real pressure to reform or even make obsolete the institutional autonomy of the university. There has been a growth in the expectations of higher education, coupled with higher levels of public pressures and scrutiny, at a time when its autonomy and resources are being threatened (Gumport,2005).  The fundamental shift in educational priorities from general education as an important facilitator for social, civic, and public engagement, to one premised substantially on relevant markets- student fees, prestige, status, grant generators, and efficiency (Campbell & Slaughter, 1999; Cohen, Florida, Randazzese, & Walsh, 1998).  This results in the public mission of the university to be reduced by and to become an appendage of a private mission, in addition to producing and transferring a socializing effect to students which favors a culture of market parochialism  grounded on business and cultural socialization (Slaughter, Campbell, Hollernan, & Morgan, 2002).

“Made to market education” (Backer, 2012), when closely tied to the needs of particular markets carries with it the danger of loss of institutional autonomy -the university is no longer capable of developing its own notions of how to produce product and for which market- nonetheless, it may also encourage industry to capture, and thus, lessen the ability of the university to best meet its objectives.  Sensitivity to the needs of the wage labor market is important.  Greater sensitivity to the utility of education for students is perhaps even more important.  But the university’s obligation to meet those needs is not limited by the short term and parochial needs of certain segments of the wage labor markets or by the short term assessments of needs by students.  The problem is one of abdication of the autonomous role of the university and its faculty in the articulation of short and long term goals of education and the autonomous development of programs that may help students attain them and the wage labor markets to profit by them.  That movement from public to private service missions will also have a profound effect on the form of university education and the mechanics of its delivery.


Backer, L. C.  (2012a). Made to Market Education and Professionalization in University Education. Retrieved from

Backer, L. C.  (2012b). Administrative Bloat by Deans and Other Unit Administrators–An Overlooked but Important Source of Direct Attack on Shared Governance. Retrieved from

Campbell, T. I. D. & Slaughter, S. (1999). Faculty and administrators’ attitudes toward potential conflicts of interest, commitment, and equity in university-industry relationships. Journal of Higher Education, 70(3): 309-352.

Cohen, W. M., Florida, R., Randazzese, L. P., & Walsh, J. (1998). Industry and the academy: Uneasy partners in the cause of technological advance. In R. Noll (Ed.), Challenges to research universities. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Gumport, Patricia. J.(2005). The Organization of Knowledge: Imperatives for Continuity and Change in Higher Education. In Ivar Bleiklie and Mary Henkel (eds.) Governing Knowledge: A Study of Continuity and Change in Higher Education. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Giroux, H.A. (2002) Neoliberalism, corporate culture, and the promise of higher education: The university as democratic public sphere. Harvard Educational Review 72 (4), 424-463.

Ginsberg, B. (2011). The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters .New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Slaughter, S., Campbell, T., Hollernan, M., & Morgan, E. (2002). The “traffic” in graduate students: Graduate students as tokens of exchange between academe and industry. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 27(2), 282-313.