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:
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.
The National Forum is proud to announce that legendary musician, Lori Hendricks, has been named the new Athletic Director at Mount Holyoke. Best of luck to Lori in her new position. See more about this announcement here.
Our Nabih Haddad to present today at @penn_state on Int’l Governance and Human Rights. 3-27 1:15 at 430 Burrowes. http://ow.ly/1TPFTV
On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, Maryland voters passed Maryland’s own state based version the DREAM Act, an in state tuition referendum by 58 to 42 percent. The Maryland Dream Act grants an in state tuition discount for undocumented students, who have grown up and graduated from high schools in the United States, to attend community colleges and public state universities at county and in-state costs. The DREAM Act offers equal opportunities to undocumented students in higher education, which warrants new social and economic benefits for this population. The DREAM Act currently stands in 12 states: Texas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, Washington, Wisconsin and Maryland. As of November 6, 2012, Maryland became the only state to have passed the DREAM Act by ballot, a huge stepping-stone for undocumented students in the United States!
For a closer look at Maryland’s Dream Act, check out this article by Alexandra Tilsley: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/11/07/maryland-passes-dream-act#ixzz2BZlQjWGJ
Recently, this article in the Charlotte Observer regarding a new scholarship program for undocumented students came to our attention. The news article discusses the inability of undocumented students to receive any federal financial aid because they are not American citizens. Because most of these students come from low income backgrounds, it is almost impossible for them to afford to continue their education. This kind of donation, as mentioned in the article, opens the opportunity for talented undocumented students to reach their full potential. At the National Forum, we place great emphasis on access to higher education for all capable students. Scholarships such as these are one of the many ways in which higher education can become more attainable for a greater number of students.
To read the complete article about the newly established scholarship program, visit this link: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/10/10/3587704/area-ceo-gives-1-million-to-help.html#storylink=cpy
For the last year, Raquel Welch-Johnson has been the National Forum’s Americorps member working in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit. Raquel has been working on numerous projects to build a college-going culture. As Raquel completes her Americorps service, she says that leaving is bitter-sweet. “It’s hard to believe that the year is already over.”
At Youthquake, a neighborhood block-party and her last event, Raquel could see the change that had occurred in just a short period of time. “I saw the students from Marygrove College I had trained and knew that they were going out and doing good. It made me proud.” She can now see the impact her work has had in the community. “This year has affirmed how important giving back to the community is,” Raquel says, and even though her year with the National Forum is over, she is still dedicated to helping youth. “I still connect and mentor the students. I can see the whole picture and how necessary that is.”
Even though most of her work was in Detroit, Raquel says that she still felt like the University of Michigan was her home. “The Forum team I was on made it easy for someone like me to be apart but still feel connected.” Anytime Raquel faced a problem or needed to brainstorm her National Forum team was always available. “There are great ideas coming out of the Forum, bringing any problem to the team always helped; nothing is insurmountable.”
Even though Raquel has wrapped up her year with Americorp and the National Forum, she will continue to work in the community. “My MMCCC position was life changing for me, so I would love to continue this work as a community activist.” Raquel has already started her new role as a Community Engagement Specialist at Marygrove College working on their BOLD (Building Our Leadership in Detroit) initiative. We wish her all the best!
It is with great honor and enthusiasm that the National Forum welcomes its new Associate Director, Betty Overton-Adkins, Ph.D. Dr. Overton-Adkins comes to us from Spring Arbor University, where she served as Provost of all academic affairs for a decade. According to the National Forum Director, Dr. John Burkhardt, “Over two years ago I asked Betty if she would allow me to put her name forward for a position at the University of Michigan. Her commitment to Spring Arbor University and to her current position as provost was too important to her to even consider leaving then, but after much persuasion and giving Betty a chance to become increasingly familiar with our UM students and the work of the National Forum, she finally opened the door to a discussion of a new role on the CSHPE faculty. We could not be more thrilled that she will join us. Her knowledge of higher education and her relationships across the country are remarkable and her ability to draw out the best in everyone around her has been demonstrated in countless settings.”
Prior to her position at the National Forum, Dr. Overton-Adkins earned her doctorate in educational leadership from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. She began her career as a public school teacher and has held positions as a professor, department chair, and Graduate Dean of credible public and private universities throughout the country. Dr. Overton-Adkins is truly an activist for higher education, which is demonstrated through her participation in many credible organizations including the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities (NCA), the board of the American Association of Higher Education & Accreditation (AAHEA), and the editorial board of Liberal Education, published by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). She has been a member of the Board of the Council of Graduate Schools, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), and the Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University. Upon her arrival at the University of Michigan, CHSPE director, Dr. Michael Bastedo said, “Dr. Overton-Adkins has had an amazing career in higher education, and is a leading expert on many topics, including accreditation and academic leadership. We are thrilled to welcome her to our community.”
Along with managing all community engagement initiatives at the National Forum, Dr. Overton-Adkins has brought two of her own projects. The first is a FIPSE funded program through the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, titled Ph. D. Pipeline Opportunity Program. The program focuses on helping to increase the number of persons of color in Ph. D. programs and prepare them to become faculty in business. Dr. Overton-Adkins is the project evaluator in this initiative, which began two years ago. The second is a Kellogg Foundation funded program entitled BOLD (Building our Leadership in Detroit). BOLD is a curriculum development program at Marygrove College focusing on integrating urban leadership concepts and activities throughout the curriculum and connecting the institution and its students to the urban issues within the Detroit community, especially those surrounding the college. Dr. Overton-Adkins has been involved in this project for many years and will be assisted by Lara Kovacheff-Badke to further develop it here at the National Forum.
Upon her arrival at the University of Michigan and the National Forum, Dr. Overton-Adkins said, “I am delighted to be joining the National Forum and the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education. I could not think of a better place to be — a powerhouse for research by talented scholars, a place that honors good teaching and the preparation of future academic leaders, and people that care deeply about higher education’s impact in society. What an opportunity!” The National Forum team is thrilled about the opportunity to work with Dr. Overton-Adkins and welcomes her as a new colleague and leader.
Drew Murray, a National Forum legendary musician, has quickly found success since graduating from the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education in 2011. He currently works as a strategic operations manager at the Michigan Health Council. In this role, Drew is responsible for helping the group’s president understand the future direction of the health care industry, identify new opportunities to advance the organization’s programs, and create strategies to pursue those opportunities. Working at the Michigan Health Council might not be the most obvious career choice for someone who graduated with degrees in public policy and higher education administration. As Drew explains, though, the CSHPE prepares students to lead in many types of institutions, not just colleges and universities, and his internship at the National Forum, working on the Finance and Stewardship team, helped him to understand the complexities of pursuing new opportunities.
While earning his dual degree, Drew concentrated in Philanthropy, Advancement, and Development (PAD). He describes that the concentration was great at outlining the “attitude and aptitude” necessary to work in the advancement field. He says that this environment is “dynamic because people, politics, and power are always involved when individuals, or groups or grantees, are vying for a limit set of resources.” Drew feels that he PAD concentration gave him the formal training he needed in order to be successful in managing those dynamics.
According to Drew, another major benefit of the CSHPE is that its faculty and staff instill in students a sense that the University of Michigan is a place that can help solve society’s problems, and he enjoyed working at a high level at Michigan. “The experts, resources, and peers required to participate at this level surround and support incoming students. I also believe that the CSHPE remains humble enough to learn from experts in other departments and universities, which helps conduct better research and positively impact people’s lives.”
For students entering the CSHPE or another graduate program, Drew offers some advice. “Students must not be intimidated, use each day as a learning opportunity, and have fun. Graduate school is a unique opportunity to expand your skill-set under the guidance of faculty members that can help ease the difficulties inherent in such growth. Graduation comes quickly, so work hard to find what your unique contribution to society is and make it happen!”
Posted by: Akemi Leung
Declining state aid, hobbled endowments, and rising debt are hurting the balance sheets of colleges across America. Unfortunately the economies of their surrounding towns, which rely on schools for jobs, customers, and more, are far from immune.
The recession meant budget cuts, tuition hikes, and job cuts at colleges across the United States, but the effects go beyond the campus gates and into the local communities, reports Douglas Belkin.
He cites the example of Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. In addition to cutting 581 jobs over the past four years, state aid fell by $240 million and undergraduate tuition bumped up from $6,290 to $10,874.
As a result, “Housing prices declined and housing starts fell to a 20-year low, in part because laid-off workers moved away. Students spent less and the city’s sales-tax revenue fell by 15%. In response, the city this year slashed its budget by 6%.”
To overcome the financial hurdles, Bain & Co. advised: “consolidate, outsource and focus on core strengths.” John Burkhardt, director of the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good, suggested bringing in more foreign students. With this in mind, tuition hikes might be reigned in and jobs could be saved.
Kimberly Reyes came to the University of Michigan and the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE) as a master’s student in 2010, and has recently chosen to pursue her doctorate here as well, largely because of the experiences she had working as a research assistant at the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good.
In a recent interview, Kim said that one reason she chose to continue her education at Michigan is the relationship that professors and students have in the School of Education’s CSHPE. “I loved the atmosphere here. Professors push you out of your comfort zone intellectually,” she explained. “I was also able to take classes with PhD students and saw how they work hard to think more deeply about the issues we are studying to really understand them.”
At the National Forum, Kim learned how much research informs policy and practice, or at least should, in the application of higher education and administration. She says that the “actionable research” that the National Forum does on higher education is, “hugely important, especially for marginal populations and undocumented students. I think that what we learn here and our focus on research can help students become better practitioners.”
One reason that Kim loves studying higher education issues so much is the impact that it can have on changing someone’s life, but she understands that it takes hard work for that kind of change to happen. “Coming from the Latino community, it is unacceptable to me that so many people in my own community are uneducated. While studying at Michigan, I’ve learned that aspects of higher education in this country are deeply flawed but also highly complex,” she says. “That is why research matters. It needs to be utilized, disseminated and made consumable to different positions within the field – policy makers, institutional presidents, admissions counselors, and financial aid officers.”
Kim and another recent CSHPE graduate and National Forum Legendary Musician, Omar Hussain, were recently part of a new National Forum research dissemination strategy, as they presented a report completed by the National Forum at the College Board’s Prepàrate conference on May 31 in Miami. The conference focused on educational issues affecting the Latino community by “bringing together professionals from higher education, secondary schools, middle schools and community-based organizations.”
Kim and Omar presented findings from the National Forum’s report, Reconciling Federal, State, and Institutional Policies Determining Educational Access for Undocumented Students:Implications for Professional Practice. To receive a complete digital copy of this report, sign up here.
Check back soon to hear our report on the conference!