Professors Struggle With Demands to Tend to Students’ Mental Health

November 7, 2023

Tara Tedrow has seen her share of students in distress. They’ll approach her after class, in tears, saying they’re overwhelmed and need an extension. Or they’ll send an e-mail apologizing for missing class because they’ve got “stuff going on.” Some share intimate details of their troubles; others simply allude to “personal issues.” Tedrow, a doctoral teaching assistant at the University of Iowa, community-college adjunct, and former middle- and high-school teacher, tells each of them to put their mental health first. If a student needs extra time on an assignment, or help catching up, she’ll generally grant it. And if their problems can’t be solved by academic grace alone, she’ll refer them to campus counseling — and even walk them there.

Extension DEI Assessment – Announcement and Progress Chart

October 26, 2023

This page contains information about Extension’s DEI Assessment, including background on the project, information on the status of the project, and frequently asked questions. Updates will occur as this project continues to move forward.

Penn State Student Affairs Launches Center For Social Change & Belonging

October 2, 2023

Penn State Student Affairs announced the new Center for Social Change and Belonging on September 18. The center is part of the university’s effort toward fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging among the community. By connecting already-existing initiatives toward this goal, the center will enable Penn State to further create change.

Behind the lines of Texas A&M’s diversity war

September 7, 2023

The July email to Texas A&M University instructors caught many by surprise. The university would drop a required lesson on “respect & inclusion” from a semester-long program open to all first-year students, according to the email. This was necessary, an official wrote, in light of a new state law that bans, in part, mandatory diversity training. In its place, A&M would add a lesson on mental health. The email from the university’s first-year experience office was met with faculty pushback. Within hours, A&M walked back its directive; a vice provost called it “premature” as officials sought more legal guidance about the law. Weeks later, A&M sent another message, confirming that, after all, the university would nix the lesson as a requirement for the curriculum known as “Hullabaloo U.”

Higher Ed Ponders Diversity Strategies Following Court Ruling

August 24, 2023

After the U.S. Supreme Court ended race-conscious college admissions policies in June, focus turned to searching for alternatives. Seemingly everything from using class-based preferences to ditching legacy admissions to replacing admittance regimes with lottery systems has been suggested. But can these race-neutral means allow colleges and universities to maintain their current levels of diversity? Here is a look at some more common ideas offered up with the latest evidence on whether the measures can maintain enrollment rates among students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Do Hispanic-Serving Institutions Actually Support Latine Students? It Depends

August 10, 2023

Hispanic-serving institutions are defined by federal law as an accredited, degree-granting, public or private nonprofit institution of higher education with 25% or more total undergraduate Hispanic or Latino full-time equivalent student enrollment. Once an HSI is officially accredited by the federal government, that institution is allowed to apply for HSI-specific grants. But the accreditation is only the first step of the work to make an institution to serve Latine students.

Tribe fights to preserve California coastline — and its own culture

July 30, 2023

That coastal California shoreline and the water it touches are at the center of a reclamation movement led by the Indigenous Chumash tribe to revive and restore its heritage, culture and land. There are about 10,200 people with some Chumash ancestry left, according to the Census Bureau.

Affirmative action divided Asian Americans and other people of color. Here's how

July 10, 2023

In 2015 Edward Blum, the conservative activist behind the push to end affirmative action, stood in front of a group of a dozen or so mostly Chinese Americans in a conference room in Houston. He was introduced by the Houston Chinese Alliance's David Cao, who prefaced Blum's presentation with a quote from George Orwell's novella Animal Farm. "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others," Cao said, to a smattering of laughter. "In admission to the American elite universities, it is no secret that Asians are less equal." But Blum was trying to change that, Cao told the group.

Republicans Target Minority Scholarships After Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Ruling

July 6, 2023

It took Republicans no time at all to take the Supreme Court’s affirmative action decision and use it to attack other educational initiatives intended to support people of color. On Thursday — the same day the Court declared race-conscious admissions policies unconstitutional — the state’s attorney general, Andrew Bailey, dispatched a letter to colleges and universities across the state: “Missouri institutions must identify all policies that give preference to individuals on the basis of race and immediately halt the implementation of such policies.” Hours later, the University of Missouri — which enrolls 70,000 students across four campuses — declared, in a statement acknowledging Bailey’s letter, it would end race-based financial aid programs.

Supreme Court rejects race-based affirmative action in college admissions

June 30, 2023

The Supreme Court on Thursday held that race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, a historic ruling that rolls back decades of precedent and will force a dramatic change in how the nation’s private and public universities select their students. The votes split along ideological grounds, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the conservative members in the majority, and the liberals dissenting. While the ruling examined Harvard and UNC, its impact will be felt across the nation.

Gay Rights vs. Free SpeechSupreme Court Backs Web Designer Opposed to Same-Sex Marriage

June 30, 2023

The 6-3 decision, which turned on the court’s interpretation of the First Amendment, appeared to suggest that the rights of L.G.B.T.Q. people are on more vulnerable legal footing, particularly when they are at odds with claims of religious freedom. The Supreme Court sided on Friday with a web designer in Colorado who said she had a First Amendment right to refuse to design wedding websites for same-sex couples despite a state law that forbids discrimination against gay people.

Poll Suggests Public Is Skeptical of Affirmative Action

June 9, 2023

A new poll from the Pew Research Center found that more Americans disapprove than approve of colleges considering race in admissions. The poll found that half of U.S. adults say they disapprove of selective colleges and universities taking prospective students’ racial and ethnic backgrounds into account when making admissions decisions. Fewer (33 percent) approve of colleges considering race and ethnicity to increase diversity, while 16 percent are not sure.

Diversity Spending Is Banned in Florida’s Public Colleges

May 30, 2023

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida announces the signing of SB 266 and other legislation on Monday. Public colleges in Florida will soon be prohibited from spending money on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs after Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed a much-discussed piece of legislation into law on Monday. The new law also bans colleges from offering general-education courses that “distort significant historical events,” teach “identity politics,” or are “based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, or privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States.”

Tenure Survives in Texas; DEI Offices Do Not

May 30, 2023

The bill, in its new form, would bar universities from having diversity offices, creating diversity offices, hiring employees to conduct DEI work or requiring any DEI training as a condition for being hired by or admitted to the university. All hiring practices must be “color-blind and sex-neutral.” The bill would also bar universities from asking job candidates to provide written answers about how they consider diversity in their work. If the bill becomes law, which is expected, Texas will join Florida in banning DEI activities at the state’s public universities.

Alabama governor ousts a top education official over a book's 'woke concepts' on race

May 5, 2023

MONTGOMERY, Ala. —Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday announced she replaced her director of early childhood education over the use of a teacher training book, written by a nationally recognized education group, that the Republican governor denounced as teaching "woke concepts" because of language about inclusion and structural racism.

First-gen students explore Costa Rica through College of Ag Sciences course

April 3, 2023

Studying abroad can be a transformative experience. However, first-generation college students may face additional challenges and feel that international experiences are out of their reach. A course in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences was created to help first-gen students achieve their travel goals. The one-week embedded course — ERM 499: Costa Rica Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources — allows students to spend spring break exploring the ecosystems and culture of Costa Rica and learn how conservation and community are intertwined.

New Report: Selective Schools Likely Can’t Maintain Diversity if Affirmative Action Ends

March 29, 2023

As the world of higher education awaits a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected to strike down race-conscious admissions policies, a new report from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University is offering more evidence of what a post-affirmative action landscape might look like. Its findings are unambiguous: selective colleges and universities are likely to become less ethnically and racially diverse. And although certain admissions models using socioeconomic status (SES) allowed colleges to match or even slightly exceed current levels of diversity, they require systemic changes to admissions practices that are not considered realistic.

DEI Legislation Tracker

March 24, 2023

Explore where college diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are under attack. By Adrienne Lu, Jacquelyn Elias, Audrey Williams June, Kate Marijolovic, Julian Roberts-Grmela, and Eva Surovell The Chronicle is tracking legislation that would prohibit colleges from having diversity, equity, and inclusion offices or staff; ban mandatory diversity training; prohibit institutions from using diversity statements in hiring and promotion; or prohibit colleges from using race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in admissions or employment. All four proscriptions were identified in model state legislation proposed this year by the Goldwater and Manhattan Institutes.

Lawmakers Expand Their Assault on Colleges’ DEI Efforts

March 17, 2023

State lawmakers in 13 states have introduced at least 21 bills since December that aim to restrict colleges’ efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion, a Chronicle analysis has found. While supporters argue that the measures are needed to push back against a “bureaucracy” that impedes intellectual diversity, critics warn that the measures could drastically curtail colleges’ efforts to recruit and retain students of color and place the institutions afoul of accreditation standards.

Single women take an outsize role in the workforce — and the economy

March 10, 2023

More women than ever are single, a new report says — and that has significant implications for the U.S. economy. Single women — who are postponing marriage or forgoing it altogether — are a growing economic force, accounting for a larger share of growth in the job market, homeownership and college degrees, according to an analysis of federal data.

This sacred Indigenous site could be Georgia’s first national park

March 6, 2023

If approved by Congress, the park at Ocmulgee Mounds would be co-managed by the Muscogee Nation—the tribe forcibly removed from their ancestral lands more than 180 years ago. Now, the Muscogee—one of the largest tribes in the United States—and local partners are leading an initiative to declare Ocmulgee Mounds the first national park in Georgia. If successful, Ocmulgee will also be the first national park co-managed by a removed tribe, one of the five forced from their lands in the summer of 1836 in a tragedy that history recalls as the Trail of Tears.

‘Dilbert’ dropped by The Post, other papers, after cartoonist’s racist rant

March 1, 2023

Newspapers across the United States have pulled Scott Adams’s long-running “Dilbert” comic strip after the cartoonist called Black Americans a “hate group” and said White people should “get the hell away from” them. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the USA Today network of hundreds of newspapers were among publications that announced they would stop publishing “Dilbert” after Adams’s racist rant on YouTube on Wednesday. Asked on Saturday how many newspapers still carried the strip — a workplace satire he created in 1989 — Adams told The Post: “By Monday, around zero.”

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