Tim’s Reflection on Holistic Support for Undocumented Students Webinar

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Months of planning came together this past Tuesday with the National Forum’s webinar on the subject of Holistic Support for Undocumented Students in a Rapidly Changing Policy Environment. The webinar was a collaboration between the National Forum and several cosponsor organizations: the National Center for Institutional Diversity, the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education (CCCIE), and UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program (USP). We were fortunate to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Teresita Wisell from CCCIE, Maureen Fitzpatrick from City Colleges of Chicago, Ruben Canedo from USP, and current Berkeley senior Jesus Mendoza.


The presentations were fantastic, but I’m not going to spend much time talking about them because soon you’ll be able to watch them for yourself on the uLEAD Network website—and if you want to learn about strategies for providing undocumented college students with the best support possible (as an individual, office, or institution), I highly recommend you do so.


Instead, I want to talk about the conversation that emerged among our listeners. When we started planning our webinars this fall, we debated whether to include a chat box our listeners could use. Would people use it? Would it distract from the presenters? Was there a better way to gather questions to ask our presenters during the Q&A?

Despite our concerns, it proved to be a perfect complement to the information provided by our presenters. The webinar drew listeners from diverse institutions across the country—the most common locations included California, Illinois, Texas, Minnesota, New York, Washington, and Michigan. Having a way to communicate with other listeners allowed for a true conversation as people answered each other’s questions, shared resources, and commented on how they’ve experienced the topics being discussed by the presenters. At many colleges, there may not be a formal support system for undocumented students, and staff at such colleges were able to compare notes with those working in different institutional environments. People could draw new ideas from work being done across the country, and they could connect with colleagues close to home—listeners from North Carolina even exchanged contact information to start a working group.

When we plan events, we pay attention to the big questions, and rightly so. But last week’s webinar was a reminder that small changes in structure can have a significant effect. Including a chat box seemed like a very minor question. We wondered if it would be superfluous or distracting; in the end, it served to supplement and reinforce our presenters’ knowledge and create a deeper experience. As we think about future events, we can look for ways to support similar connection, collaboration, and conversation.


Kamaria’s Reflections on Minority Serving Institution Symposium

IMG_3912Seeing my older sister attend Clark Atlanta University gave me an early impression of Minority Serving Institutions as higher education institutions dedicated to holistic formation for students of color. At CAU my stepsister developed as an athlete, experimented with different majors, grew as a leader, and explored other aspects of her identity, particularly gender. The strong foundation she built at CAU reverberates through her life now as a collegiate tennis coach and mentor for students. Her experiences at a Historically Black University expanded my early conceptions of what college meant, including academic, personal, and spiritual growth.

Those themes flowed through the presentations at the Minority Serving Institutions Symposium. Our opening presenters, Jeremiah Thompson and Dr. Jaime Chahin, highlighted how MSIs have a distinctive approach to the personal formation of students. Sharing his experiences attending predominantly White institutions, Mr. Thompson reminded us of the unwelcoming and racist messages Native American students still encounter. At Tribal Colleges, Native American students can engage a course of study in an environment dedicated to enriching their cultural knowledge and identity. The educational environments at MSIs, steeped in a cultural heritage and curiosity, encourage students of color to grew in their various identities. Faculty and campus administrators of color, uniquely positioned and motivated to promote student success, foster this process.

Dr. Chahin provided a fascinating case study of how intentional leadership transformed Texas Status University into a thriving Hispanic Serving Institution. Through incentives for faculty to create culturally aligned courses and promoting student voice to suggest new activities, Texas State grew into a culturally defined institution. I resonated with Dr. Chahin’s description of the mission of HIS, particularly Texas State, to facilitate and encourage students in building a solid foundation to go forth to the workforce or graduate school with a firm sense of their identity.

Transforming institutions to truly serve students of color requires leadership to motivate actors at different levels to change curriculum, mission, and the environment. Many of the research papers highlighted the challenges of creating and maintaining MSIs. Access to resources, accreditation guidelines, and changes in enrollment at MSIs complicate the ability of institutional actors to enrich and maintain the mission of serving students of color. Our closing session with Dr. JoAnn Canales demonstrated how an intentional focus on holistic development and cultural heritage promoted student growth and success. The symposium provided an opportunity to build a community of research and practice around Minority Serving Institutions. These conversations should continue to investigate the ways MSIs foster cultural wealth at the organizational level and envision strategies to enrich and support these institutions.

Hannah Poulson

HannahHannah Poulson hails from the small town of DeWitt, MI, just north of Lansing.  Living so close to the capitol instilled an appreciation for the importance of government and policy in Hannah at a very young age.  As a recent graduate of the Ford School of Public Policy, she focused her studies on issues related to higher education access.  She joined the Forum as a research assistant in Fall 2012 working with the Immigration team.  With her degree and experiences at the Forum, Hannah hopes to continue working on issues of access. In addition to her time at the Forum, she enjoys traveling, playing water polo, and attempting to learn how to cook.

Greenleaf Research Scholars Application



Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership is proud to sponsor the Greenleaf Scholars Program. The purpose of the program is to select and support promising early career scholars and professionals who wish to study the impact of servant leadership in a wide range of organizational or social contexts. The program is administered through The National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good at the University of Michigan.

The goals of the program are (1) to inspire a new generation of critical scholarship based on the concepts of servant leadership that were articulated by Robert K. Greenleaf; (2) to support rigorous empirical studies that offer evidence of the impact of servant leadership on the health and effectiveness of organizations and communities; and (3) to build a nurturing community of academic researchers, practitioners, and students who study and teach servant leadership.


The Greenleaf Center will sponsor up to five awards each year for pre-tenured faculty, early career practitioners, and advanced graduate students who engage in research that explores servant leadership. Greenleaf Scholars will be selected by an international review committee comprised of faculty members from the following public and private universities in the United States and overseas, including:

  • University of Michigan
  • University of Detroit Mercy
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • VU University Amsterdam
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of Notre Dame

Each Greenleaf Scholar will receive an award of U.S. $2,500 to support outstanding research. Additionally, award recipients will receive support for the following:
•  Conference registration fees waived for attendance at the Greenleaf Center’s Annual International Conferences both while the Scholar is conducting his or her sponsored research and when the Scholar’s research is presented.
•  Inclusion of the Scholar’s manuscript in an annual National Forum edited monograph and encouragement to publish the research in peer reviewed journals.


All recipients should hold a doctorate (no more than 5 years post-degree) or be at the dissertation stage of their doctoral studies.


The deadline for the 2015 program application is Monday, March 16, 2015.   Attached is the application for the Greanleaf Scholars Program

Additional program questions may be sent to:


February 5: MSI Symposium



Historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, and emerging minority-serving institutions (MSIs) provide access to and support through higher education for many minoritized students nationwide. Research on MSIs, however, offers sometimes conflicting views on the prospects for sustaining MSIs’ missions of servingstudents from these populations. Join scholars of and institutional leaders from MSIs for this symposium examining current research, identifying needed areas for further investigation, and exploring potential collaborative efforts in this vital sector of higher education in the United States.

Topics for the Symposium will include institutional financial resilience, holistic models of student services support, placing minority-serving institutions in a global context, and enhancing pathways from community colleges to four-year institutions, as well as preparation for graduate education.


Please register here  

February 5, 2015

School of Education

12:00 – 1:00

 Opening Luncheon & Keynote

Tribute Room

1:10 – 2:30

Concurrent Sessions

Brownlee and Tribute

2:45 – 3:45

Panel : The Future of MSIs and Serving Students at the Margins

Whitney Room

Free Webinar on Holistic Support for Undocumented Students

If you missed the webinar, you can check it out in a couple of weeks at Thank you to all our participants, presenters, and partners!

A New Partnership in Diversity

“At the core of our work is a desire to make a difference in our society through impacting the way higher education responds to its role to serve the public good.” - Betty Overton, Director for the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good 

The National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good and the National Center for Institutional Diversity—both located at the University of Michigan—have agreed to a new level of partnership to include strategic collaboration, joint sponsorship of events and programs, and the development of funding proposals to support  work shared between the two organizations. This partnership will largely focus on the areas of higher education access and success for immigrant and undocumented students, and leadership for diversity in higher education.

Since its founding in 2000, the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good has worked to demonstrate the ways in which higher education serves a greater public role. It has recently focused some of its work on higher education’s responds to supporting underserved and minority groups, and the institutions that serve them. Led by its Director, Professor Betty Overton, the National Forum works to encourage people to frame college education as not only an access point for a career, but as a resource for the greater good of society.

Historically, the University of Michigan has distinguished itself as a pioneer in diversity. This commitment by the University to affirm the central value and undeniable importance of institutional diversity to the mission of all colleges and universities was the seed in creating the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID). Since its establishment in 2006, NCID has centered its priorities on offering empirical context for diversity efforts, linking diversity to measures of meaningful participation, and acknowledging the discourse that surrounds higher education and using it as a principal means through which diversity can be understood, interpreted, and advanced.

With the 2013 appointment of NCID’s current Director, Professor John Burkhardt, the center has been successful in building partnerships across the UM campus and has  started to establish a network of scholars in other institutions who are studying diversity issues. They have begun to decentralize the diversity agenda by engaging  other schools and colleges, and promoting innovation across the university. The NCID strategic plan emphasizes  leadership development, national partnerships, and communications, and acts as a mechanism used to reassert the importance of diversity in the mission of higher education. As such, the recent partnership with the National Forum is an essential stride in the journey to further the diversity narrative.

One of the first steps taken in advancing the shared work will be the expansion of the uLEAD network, a web based utility that provides up-to-date information about issues affecting undocumented students in higher education. The uLEAD network was established in 2012 through a grant from the Ford Foundation. In addition to the expansion of uLead, the National Forum and NCID staff will collaborate  in supporting several leadership for diversity efforts, including programs with the American Council on Education, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, and the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance.

This partnership will advance the realization of goals long held by each of the two groups. The National Forum will  be providing support and technical assistance to NCID’s work in leadership development,  contributing research from its evaluation of related programming in minority serving institutions and building on institutional case studies.  Together, the National Forum and NCID will work to support a communication effort geared toward higher education leaders who are pursuing commitments to diversity and inclusion.

Role of Higher Education in Detroit’s Revitalization

IMG_20130709_194637Detroit and its allies continue to strive for methods to remedy or at the very least mitigate the struggles that the city continues to face. In light of the city’s recent file for bankruptcy and its not-so-recent postindustrial hardships, community members turn to Higher Education as one of the ingredients for a better future for Detroit. Read more about this in The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s article, “Detroit, Bankrupt, Looks to Colleges as Partners in Recovery.” So, what do you think? What is the role of education in developing community or revitalizing Detroit?

Because The National Forum agrees that Higher Education certainly has a role in the restoration of Detroit, it has engaged initiatives such as the Building Our Leadership in Detroit (B.O.L.D.) project which provides consultation and research support for Marygrove College. This project ultimately aims to develop and support future leaders of the city who have potential for pushing social change. In addition, the Forum’s involvement in this feat  includes work with over 25 Local College Access Networks in the state meant to increase the number of students entering and graduating college.

Congratulations to Sean Eagle, Summer 2013 UROP Research Assistant at the Forum, on a successful poster presentation!

Sean Eagle,  the Forum’s Summer 2013 UROP student, presented his project poster recently on his work with uLEAD.  Over the course of the summer, Sean has researched the many problems that undocumented students face in Higher Education and it was this on which he presented on. 

What was your most memorable moment at the University of Michigan or the National Forum?My most memorable moment at the National Forum was John’s final meeting as Director of the Forum. People shared wonderful stories about John and there was a slide show with a very funny picture of him in Las Vegas. It was nice celebrating his legacy and seeing the position of Director being passed on to Betty.

What was your greatest achievement at the National Forum?

My greatest achievement at the National Forum was my presentation for UROP. I had been a part of and worked on many significant things relating to the uLEAD Network; however, this was something that showcased the culmination of all I had learned and worked on here at the Forum. I was able to present this to people who knew very little about the problems that undocumented students faced.

What was your biggest take away from the National Forum?
I have learned that it is best to create short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals to achieve a desired outcome. I have also realized that there are organizations out there like the Forum, where like-minded people can come together to tackle social issues found in our community.
What advice do you have for future students at the National Forum?
For future students, take the time to learn the culture here at the Forum. I have never been a part of an organization working for the better good of society. So, for someone completely new to this type of work environment, make sure to observe how the process works, the language used, and become familiar with things such as policies and practices relevant to whatever subject you are focused on.
What is your favorite part of the National Forum?
The people here are nice, genuine and very well-educated. It is great to work in an environment where everyone cares about the issues but also has a sense of humor.
What are your future plans and how did the National Forum contribute to that? 
My future plans are to transfer to a university, hopefully Michigan, and continue my education. The National Forum has made me consider a career that involves helping people on a larger scale, not so much on a case-by-case basis.
If there is one thing you’d like people to know about the National Forum, what would it be?
The people here are fun but professional. There is a lot of work done here at the National Forum and it is all for a good cause. 

Grading Higher Education Institutions by Their Contribution to the Public Good

grad caps - lineWashington Monthly magazine recently released its annual college rankings.  Now in its eighth year, what makes this ranking system unique from all others, is that the magazine rates colleges and universities on a very different scale than most other publications: they rate colleges and universities by their contribution to the public good.

How do they define the public good? “We give high marks to institutions that enroll low-income students, help them graduate, and don’t charge them an arm and a leg to attend.”

Why do they choose to rank institutions in this way? “We do this because everyone has a stake in the conduct of our colleges and universities.” We couldn’t agree more.

To read more about the magazine’s methodology, check out their introductory article to the rankings system here.

As an organization committed to advancing the role of higher education for the public good, we applaud the Washington Monthly for showcasing the role of higher education institutions in advancing social change and equity in education for all capable students.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the latest rankings!