Being Erased

January 30, 2023

The College Board began piloting an elective Advanced Placement course in African American studies at 60 high schools across the country last fall. Designed to offer students an evidence-based introduction to African American studies, the course explores the “vital contributions and experiences of African Americans” through the multidisciplinary study of history, politics, geography, science, literature, the arts and humanities. Twelve days into the new year, the Florida Department of Education, which oversees the Advanced Placement program in the state, sent a letter to Brian Barnes, senior director of the College Board Florida Partnership, rejecting the proposal to offer the curriculum on the grounds that the course content is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”

Penn State assists Cameroonian refugees with specialty mushroom ventures

January 17, 2023

Penn State Extension webinar covered different mushroom varieties and the supplies and equipment needed to grow at home.

Catching Up With Pennsylvania's Coming Together for Racial Understanding Team

December 9, 2022

The team discussed how they adapted the Coming Together curriculum for Penn State Extension, the reach and impacts of their work thus far, and their plans for taking it to a wider audience. Patreese Ingram, Justine Lindemann, and Cristy Schmidt formed the Pennsylvania team that attended the five-day CTRU training in 2019. Image courtesy of Southern Rural Development Center. Coming Together for Racial Understanding is an award-winning program of the national Cooperative Extension System (CES), designed to grow a community of Extension professionals well prepared to foster meaningful community conversations around race, thus leading to positive change. The program, which launched in 2018 under the leadership of the Southern Rural Development Center, is implemented first by training core state-level teams, who then provide training to a larger cohort within their home state’s CES system. In October 2019, Penn State’s Patreese Ingram, Justine Lindemann, and Cristy Schmidt attended the week-long Coming Together training as Pennsylvania’s core team. We caught up with them to find out more about their experience and plans going forward.

What Happened to Black Enrollment?

December 8, 2022

After more than a century of Black activists’ fight for college access, Black enrollment this past decade tumbled at an alarming rate. For nearly half a century, the story of Black students in the United States was a story of success. Black enrollment grew from 282,000 in 1966 to more than 2.5 million in 2010, the result of, among other things, civil-rights activists’ efforts to dismantle Jim Crow laws, colleges’ adoption of affirmative-action policies, and the federal government’s subsidizing of low-income students’ tuition.

John Sanchez, Associate Professor of News and Media Ethics and American Indians in the Media

November 23, 2022

Professor John Sanchez is an Associate Professor at Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. Sanchez teaches courses including “News and Media Ethics” and “American Indians in the Media.” His research and journalism focus on American Indian identity in the 21st century, and he has published articles for many notable news outlets, such as Communications Quarterly, Journal of American Indian Culture and Research, and Teacher Education Quarterly. He is a Freedom Forum Teaching Fellow and an Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)/Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC) Freedom Forum Journalism Leadership in Diversity Fellow and serves on the executive boards of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) American Indian Studies Consortium and the American Native Press Archives. Sanchez also serves as a consultant to the Board of Directors of the American Indian Policy and Media Initiative.

UNC once barred Black students. Now it’s fighting for affirmative action.

October 9, 2022

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Founded to educate the enslaving elite of this Southern state, allied for generations with the cause of white supremacy, roiled by racial tensions in recent years over the fate of a Confederate monument and treatment of Black faculty, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been thrust into an unlikely role in a legal clash that has reached the Supreme Court. It is making what could be the last stand for affirmative action in public university admissions.

Congress Told Colleges to Return Native Remains. What’s Taking So Long?

September 19, 2022

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The tribal leaders arrived at the University of North Dakota last month for a somber, secret task. For three days, they scoured storage rooms, recited prayers and hauled boxes. The move required closing hallways, pausing construction projects and turning off smoke detectors so that the burning of sage or sweet grass would not trigger an alarm. It was a first step in the long process of returning artifacts and the remains of Native American people from the university to tribes.

Survey: Students Want Colleges to Be Diverse

September 8, 2022

At a time when affirmative action is under legal attack, students like it, according to a survey by Niche. In the survey of 21,866 students from the high school Class of 2022, diversity of the college student body was important to 84 percent of students, and the diversity of the faculty and staff was important to 81 percent. Almost half of the students said that a diverse student body was “a must-have feature” on their campus. On another topic, more students visited a campus prior to enrolling—81 percent but still fewer than the 95 percent pre-pandemic. However, there is a significant disparity; 75 percent of low-income students visited a campus, but 93 percent of highest-income-quintile students did so. See the survey at

Tips for Fighting Impostor Syndrome in Academe

August 31, 2022

If you have experienced such fears once, you’ll probably confront them again as your career advances, writes Angela Fowler, who recommends having a set of tools that will assist you in overcoming them.

Supreme Court Will Hear Admissions Cases, Suggesting Conservatives May Target Affirmative Action

August 31, 2022

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to wade back into the nation’s decades-long debate over the consideration of race in college admissions by agreeing to hear two cases brought by an anti-affirmative-action group against Harvard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The group, Students for Fair Admissions, alleges both institutions discriminated against Asian American applicants in their admissions processes.

Making the Case for Affirmative Action

August 5, 2022

Support for Harvard and UNC’s position floods the Supreme Court. Arguments focus on the Constitution, the impact on Asian Americans and saving lives. It seems like everyone in higher education has something to say about affirmative action. To judge by the dozens of briefs submitted to the Supreme Court Monday, they strongly support it. Of course, there are also those who oppose affirmative action and hope the Supreme Court uses cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to end it. They had an earlier deadline, in May. To learn why, see this article on those 34 briefs. Far more briefs were submitted Monday (although the Supreme Court does not normally consider the volume of briefs in its decisions). But they represented individual colleges, individual scholars and associations arguing for Harvard and UNC.

No, the Boys Are Not Doing Just Fine

July 29, 2022

Men trail women from grade school through college. That’s a real problem. Feyten, chancellor and president of Texas Woman’s University, acknowledges the large disparities between men and women in higher education. The difference in the share of bachelor’s degrees going to women and men is in fact wider today than it was in 1972, when Title IX was passed — but in the opposite direction. Certainly, many people back then saw the gender gap as a crisis big enough to justify new legislation and organizing. As well as Title IX, the 1970s saw the passage of the Women’s Education Equity Act, mostly aimed at elementary and secondary schools, and the founding of the National Coalition for Women & Girls in Education.

14 eye-opening essays from Black writers to read to understand America's problems with race

June 20, 2022

Insider asked Black literary and historical experts to share their favorite works of journalism on race by Black authors. Here are the top pieces they recommended everyone read to better understand the quest for Black liberation in America: This article was originally published in February 2021.

Gender identity lessons, banned in some schools, are rising in others

June 3, 2022

Students are told that dolls aren’t just for girls, and that there are no ‘boy colors’ or ‘girl colors’ . Some lessons are direct: “Who can describe what transgender means?” In other classes, the discussion is more subtle: “Remember, families can come in all shapes and sizes!” Sometimes teachers simply shift their language to reflect gender diversity that may be in the room. Instead of “Good morning, boys and girls!” the teacher might say, “Good morning, scholars!” In Florida and several others states, educators are restricted in teaching about gender identity, but elsewhere, teachers are embracing the topic as the number of transgender and gender nonbinary children rises.

Higher Ed Leaders Prepare for Supreme Court Potentially Overturning Use of Affirmative Action in College Admissions

May 24, 2022

Higher Ed Leaders Prepare For Supreme Court Potentially Overturning Use Of Affirmative Action In College Admissions The Boston Globe (5/22) reported higher education leaders, “alarmed that the US Supreme Court could strike down affirmative action next year,” have started to discuss how they can “continue diversifying elite college campuses without using race as a factor in admissions.” As they fear “such a decision could reverse decades of effort to break down systemic barriers blocking marginalized groups from attending elite institutions, higher education leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to diversity.” National Association for College Admission Counseling CEO Angel Pérez told the Globe, “It’s not that this is going to be in lieu of race, but I think colleges will still have an opportunity to diversify their funnels. A lot of it starts with, how do you get students to even apply and come to the door?” He explained that “using these kinds of strategies have helped public institutions in California, which have not been allowed to consider race since 1996, when voters there passed a ballot measure that effectively outlawed affirmative action."

Black-white disparity in student loan debt more than triples after graduation

May 9, 2022

Executive Summary The moment they earn their bachelor’s degrees, black college graduates owe $7,400 more on average than their white peers ($23,400 versus $16,000, including non-borrowers in the averages. But over the next few years, the black-white debt gap more than triples to a whopping $25,000. Differences in interest accrual and graduate school borrowing lead to black graduates holding nearly $53,000 in student loan debt four years after graduation—almost twice as much as their white counterparts.

Poll Finds the Public Doesn’t Favor Affirmative Action

May 2, 2022

Americans do not favor the consideration of race, ethnicity or gender in college admissions decisions. A new Pew Research Center report found that 74 percent think race and ethnicity should not be considered in admissions decisions. For gender, 82 percent think it shouldn’t be considered. The results extend to every racial group and to Democrats as well as Republicans.

"Blackness Deserves a Seat at the Sedar"

April 11, 2022

At a table in Fredericksburg, Va., surrounded by loved ones, Michael W. Twitty will celebrate Passover this year with a Seder plate that speaks directly to his identity. Mr. Twitty, an African American food historian and author, will make his haroseth, a dish that symbolizes the mortar Israelites used while they were enslaved by Egyptians, with pecans and molasses. The molasses represents the sugar cane that was central to the American slave trade, and the pecans represent African American resilience and celebration in the South.

Redlining means 45 million Americans are breathing dirtier air, 50 years after it ended

March 10, 2022

Decades of federal housing discrimination did not only depress home values, lower job opportunities and spur poverty in communities deemed undesirable because of race. It’s why 45 million Americans are breathing dirtier air today, according to a landmark study released Wednesday. The practice known as redlining was outlawed more than a half-century ago, but it continues to impact people who live in neighborhoods that government mortgage officers shunned for 30 years because people of color and immigrants lived in them.

Idaho House Passes Discriminatory Bill to Criminalize Gender Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

March 9, 2022

The Idaho House approved legislation today that makes it a felony for a doctor to provide age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best practice gender affirming care for transgender children. H.675 now heads to the Idaho Senate for further consideration. Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley issued the following statement in reaction to today’s vote: “It is so disappointing that some politicians in Boise have decided to follow Texas and Alabama down the path of imposing felony criminal penalties upon doctors who are simply doing their jobs. By making it impossible for doctors to provide care for their patients, transgender youth are denied the age-appropriate, best practice, medically-necessary, gender-affirming care that a new study just found reduces the risk of moderate or severe depression by 60% and suicidality by 73%.”

Afro-Latinidad: The celebration of a multifaceted identity

February 10, 2022

Black History Month is an opportunity to be reminded of the beautiful, complex, multi-layered, and diverse nature of the Black experience in the United States. Afro-Latinos, with their unique voices and perspectives, are an essential and vibrant group in the makeup of the Hispanic and Black American identity. From writers to social innovators, from performers to musicians, from cultural icons to scholars: La Afrolatinidad está presente!

8 Ways for Search Committees to Be Inclusive

February 8, 2022

Inclusive hiring is one of those hot topics that everyone in higher education talks about but rarely with any specifics attached. People on search committees say they aim to be “more inclusive” in the hiring process but don’t quite know what that means in practice, working with one another and interacting with candidates. Here are eight tips for how committees (including those for faculty searches) can work inclusively and achieve the ultimate goal of hiring more diverse candidates:

Rooted in Diversity: Black History Month

February 8, 2022

February is nationally recognized as Black History Month. AgriSafe would like to recognize and celebrate Black history and the contribution Black farmers have made and continue to make to the agricultural industry!

Students of color persist in STEM despite racial stereotypes, my research shows

February 7, 2022

Through my research, I’ve come to see that — for Black and Hispanic STEM students — these instances of being stereotyped are quite common. Consequently, these students experience a sort of racial fatigue. No matter what they do, they cannot shake the perception among certain White colleagues and collaborators that they don’t belong.

How It Feels to Be an Asian Student in an Elite Public School

January 30, 2022

Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech and other schools across the country are under pressure to end entrance exams. Students have complicated feelings about that. Liberal politicians, school leaders and organizers argue such schools are bastions of elitism and, because of low enrollment of Black and Latino students, functionally racist and segregated. Sixty-three percent of the city’s public school students are Black and Latino yet they account for just 15 percent of Brooklyn Tech’s population.

2022 Study - The Women's Power Gap at Elite Universities

January 25, 2022

The Women's Power Gap at Elite Universities: Scaling the Ivory Tower is the second in a series of two reports examining compensation and top leadership among the country’s 130 major research universities (R1 as defined by the Carnegie Classification). For updates on the Initiative and to learn more, visit WomensPowerGap.or

Happy Valley LaunchBox supports company serving underrepresented students

January 12, 2022

When Joel Sakyi first arrived at Penn State, he found himself far from home and in search of organizations and people to connect with. This yearning led him to join BLUEprint, a peer mentoring program focused on offering cultural, social, and academic support to students of color, specifically those who are first-year or change-of-campus students. His experience with BLUEprint inspired him to found Vybrnt, a social networking platform which launched in October 2020.

U.S. Racial Inequality May Be as Deadly as the Coronavirus

January 11, 2022

Black Americans experience a higher mortality rate every year than white Americans are experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic, finds Elizabeth Wrigley-Field of the University of Minnesota.1 Her analysis focuses on death rates and compares the scale of this pandemic to racial inequality, which she calls “another U.S. catastrophe.” Using demographic models, Wrigley-Field estimates how many deaths of white Americans would be needed to raise the white age-adjusted mortality rate to the best-ever (lowest) Black age-adjusted rate. At least 400,000 excess deaths of white Americans—deaths above and beyond the number expected in a non-pandemic year—would be needed to reach the best mortality rate ever recorded for Black Americans, which occurred in 2014, she finds. Black Americans’ age-adjusted, confirmed COVID-19 deaths are more than 2.5 times higher than that of white Americans, she reports.2

W. B. Saul: A Historic Ag School With a Record Of Students’ Success

December 8, 2021

Walter B. Saul High School in Philadelphia is Pennsylvania’s largest high school of agricultural science. It’s located, surprisingly, in an urban and not rural setting, along Henry Avenue in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia. For eight decades, it has attracted and prepared students for agricultural jobs or post-secondary studies. In addition, today’s graduates also enter careers in hi-tech ag-related businesses. Saul students told me it takes a commitment just to attend classes there as many have to take two or three public transit buses daily for up to two hours to and from the 130-acre campus.

A White teacher taught White students about White privilege. It cost him his job.

December 6, 2021

Amid a growing furor over critical race theory, Matthew Hawn told his high school students in rural Kingsport, Tenn., that White privilege is ‘a fact’