Latinos and Agriculture: A Changing Demographic

February 20, 2020

Report prepared by Maria Gorgo and Elsa Sanchez and presented at the Latinx Strategic Planning Retreat, September, 2019. This report provides extensive information about Latinos in the country, in Pennsylvania, and their role in Agriculture.

How Diversity makes Us Smarter

February 4, 2020

Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups. It seems obvious that a group of people with diverse individual expertise would be better than a homogeneous group at solving complex, nonroutine problems. It is less obvious that social diversity should work in the same way—yet the science shows that it does. This is not only because people with different backgrounds bring new information. Simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints and to expect that reaching consensus will take effort.

Growing Up Amid the Rise of Racism: Spark Series

December 16, 2019

Researchers highlight how this emergent sociopolitical environment can be a significant source of stress for children and young adults, challenging their well-being as well as their developing understandings of who they are. Many youth of color are able to develop proud, healthy identities as members of the very communities targeted by renewed and aggressive racist discourse and acts, while others may experience identity struggles within such environments. In many non-people of color communities, families, often for the first time, grapple with discomfort in naming and engaging race and racism with their children and overcoming “colorblind” ideologies, while others from their communities resent and reject their association with and privileges from racist histories and policies. Parents, families, educators, and communities all play key roles in supporting children and youth in understanding the meaning of race and their racial identities in society. Such support includes preparing youth to recognize and adaptively respond to racialized experiences.

New Resource - Addressing Bias: Rights, Responsibilities and Responses

November 25, 2019

A new Penn State website offers important background information and resources for students on bias and free expression on campus, as well as the critical issues surrounding the rights and responsibilities of exercising free speech. The new website, “Addressing Bias: Rights, Responsibilities and Responses” relied on the expertise of the Office of Educational Equity, Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Student Affairs, the Office of General Counsel, Faculty Senate, and WPSU, and is designed to be a resource for students as they exercise their own free expression thoughtfully, responsibly, and respectfully. The website is divided into five sections: • How does the First Amendment apply to me? • How should I interact with authorities? • What is bias and why should I care? • How does academic freedom apply to me? • What it’s like. (from a student’s perspective) While the website was designed with content identified by students and with students in mind, it can be a helpful resource for faculty and staff as well. The website can be accessed at

Penn State Extension deliverers Bilingual Produce Safety Educational Programs for Latino Fresh Produce Growers in Pennsylvania

November 20, 2019

November 14, 2019 West Chester, PA --With funding from USDA NIFA award number 2017-70020-27236, Penn State Extension educators from the Food Safety and Horticulture teams developed bilingual Produce Safety educational materials and delivered trainings to Latino Fresh Produce Growers and Farmworkers in Pennsylvania. “In this pilot project, Penn State Extension educators worked closely with Latino farmers and farmworkers to identify training needs within the community, and developed high-impact bilingual food safety training programming. The goal was to develop a suite of educational materials in English and Spanish and deliver bilingual trainings to address the language barrier for successful implementation of farm food safety practices including some of the concepts covered by the FSMA Food Safety Rule and to help food safety managers who attended the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule training to communicate the knowledge to others on the farm”, said Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch, the principal investigator of this grant. Other members of the team were Megan Chawner, Tara Baugher, Jeffrey Stoltzfus, Don Seifrit, Christi Graver, Professor of Food Science Dr. Luke LaBorde and now retired extension educator Lee Stivers. While the U.S. has one of the safest food supplies in the world, Congress entrusted the FDA to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This new law changed the food safety system from one that responds to contamination to one that prevents it in the first place. Among the suite of new regulations issued under the law is “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption” (USFDA, 2013) commonly known as the “Produce Safety Rule.” The Produce Safety Rule poses new regulatory challenges to the fresh produce industry in Pennsylvania and across the country. Latino growers and farmworkers had an unmet need for accessible Food Safety and Good Agricultural Practices information, education and resources. In order to provide short, easy-to-understand information, Extension focused their educational materials and trainings on topics such as personal hygiene, microorganisms and sources of contamination during, before and after harvest. The Extension team began by collecting, assessing, and archiving pre-existing educational materials related to FSMA and Farm Food Safety education available at the Penn State website. They identified gaps in programming in regards to content and methodology. As a result 10 articles and 2 fact sheets were translated. The team reviewed and updated the Food Safety Training Kit and the GAP posters to match new PSA curricula and created a catalogue of available information in English and Spanish. With support from stakeholders, Extension determined where the greatest needs in programming were and then developed new educational materials and workshops specific to various industry groups. The team created a number of innovative, new food safety (GAPs) outreach, education, and training programs in English and Spanish, including 11 trainings and professional development with a total of 24 presentations. To find all the newly available resources, please visit Penn State Extension website at

Are You Serious About Diversifying Your Faculty and Staff?

November 12, 2019

Colleges and universities have long articulated the value of diversity, especially racial and ethnic diversity specifically. While the diversification of the student body of higher education institutions has received considerable attention over the years, diversifying the faculty has received much less and more sporadic attention. According to a 2019 report from the American Council on Education that examined trends in race and ethnicities in higher education, the student population of America’s colleges and universities is more diverse than ever. But faculty members and administrators remain predominantly white, with nearly 73.2 percent of full-time faculty being white. That is deeply problematic.

"It's OK to Be White" Posters Rile Campuses

November 5, 2019

“It’s OK to Be White” is the message that has periodically appeared on campus posters over the past two years, typically placed by people or organizations who haven't taken credit for doing so, and who are believed to be from off-campus groups. Pro-white propaganda of various types has been appearing on campuses in increasing frequency in the last two years. But the last week has seen a surge in such postings. Last weekend leaflets with the "OK to be white" message turned up in Vermont, at the University of Vermont and Champlain College. Since then the posters have appeared at American River College, Duke University, North Carolina State University, Tufts University, the University of Delaware, the University of Denver and the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota.

A Doll For Everyone': Meet Mattel's Gender-Neutral Doll

September 26, 2019

Mattel’s first promotional spot for the $29.99 product features a series of kids who go by various pronouns—him, her, them, xem—and the slogan “A doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in.” With this overt nod to trans and nonbinary identities, the company is betting on where it thinks the country is going, even if it means alienating a substantial portion of the population. A Pew Research survey conducted in 2017 showed that while 76% of the public supports parents’ steering girls to toys and activities traditionally associated with boys, only 64% endorse steering boys toward toys and activities associated with girls.

Report Details High Rates of Suspension for Native Americans in K–12

September 17, 2019

An examination of school district data in the state of California shows the statewide suspension rate for Native American children and youth is more than double the statewide suspension average. A report released this week by the Sacramento Native American Higher Education Collaborative (SNAHEC) and the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) at San Diego State University documents inequities in suspensions and expulsions of Native American students. The California statewide suspension rate for Native Americans in K–12 is 7.2 percent versus the statewide suspension average of 3.5 percent.

School district secessions have deepened racial segregation

September 5, 2019

Since 2000, school district secessions in the South have increasingly sorted white and black students, and white and Hispanic students, into separate school systems, weakening the potential to improve school integration, according to a new study published today (Sept. 4).

OSU Graduate School Dean Discusses ‘Great Strides’ in Diversity

August 29, 2019

The top bullet point in the latest Ohio State University Graduate School summary report tells an important story. “In one year, summer 2019 compared to summer 2018, there was a 37.7 percent increase in African-American graduate student acceptance,” the report states and goes on to describe a host of programs and initiatives that are contributing not only to higher numbers for African-Americans, but to increases among other underrepresented groups, as well. “We really have made great strides in the last year to year-and-a-half on this front, and I’m really excited about the initiatives we have put forward that are making the difference,” says Dr. Alicia L. Bertone, vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the Graduate School.

Virginia Tech’s DePauw Oversees Multifaceted Approach to Grad School Diversity

August 29, 2019

Eschewing one-size-fits-all, the dean of Virginia Tech Graduate School has developed an inclusion/diversity requirement that will enable programming to fit departmental needs.

Slow Going on Faculty Diversity

July 2, 2019

Study finds colleges have made little progress on faculty diversity, particularly at research-intensive universities, despite more conversations about race and inclusion.

"Your Heritage Is Taken Away": The Closing of 3 Historically Black Colleges

July 1, 2019

Since the 1930s, the women of Bennett College, one of the nation’s two historically black colleges for women, have sung their “Preference Song” over an annual breakfast. The tradition may soon be lost, along with the school itself.

Finding Victory: Speaking out for intersex girl after attack

June 11, 2019

When doctors said her youngest child would be a girl, Amie Schofield chose the name Victoria. Then doctors said the child would be a boy, so she switched to Victor. It turned out neither was exactly right.

What Two Students Want You to Know About Inclusive Teaching

June 10, 2019

Inclusive teaching involves creating equitable and welcoming educational environments for the diverse learners in our classrooms.

Governor Mills Signs Bill to Prohibit Native American Mascots in Maine

May 31, 2019

Flanked by Maine tribal leaders and ambassadors, lawmakers, and education officials, Governor Janet Mills signed into law a bill passed unanimously by the Legislature to prohibit Native American mascots in all Maine public schools Thursday.

New research details increasing segregation in a transformed school population

May 20, 2019

As the nation prepares to mark the 65th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional, the UCLA Civil Rights Project and the Penn State Center for Education and Civil Rights published new research detailing school enrollment patterns and segregation in the nation’s schools.

Georgetown Study Explores Privilege and Race in Educational Outcomes

May 15, 2019

Recent headlines have revealed that money matters more than brains in getting some privileged teens into top universities, but a new report from researchers at Georgetown University found that socioeconomic disparity has long-term effects, far beyond the college years.

Experts Testify at House Hearing on STEM Diversity

May 10, 2019

Women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields need not just greater access to education and careers in STEM fields, but more support finishing the credentials and remaining in their jobs if gender and racial disparities are to be eliminated and if the United States is to maximize its potential as a just society and global leader.

NBC News: Up to 5 percent of rural residents identify as LGBTQ

April 18, 2019

Millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people live in rural areas of the United States — largely by choice, according to a report released earlier this month by the LGBTQ think tank Movement Advancement Project.

Native, Black, Latino Students Most Likely to Pay for College Themselves

March 21, 2019

Nearly three in 10 college students in America are solely responsible for paying for all of their higher education costs, and that number is highest by far among Native American, Black and Hispanic/Latino college students, according to a study by LendEDU.

The Myth of Meritocracy

March 21, 2019

To my high school guidance counselor, I wasn’t college material. I remember flipping through the dusty pages of the massive dictionary in the school library to find the definition of the word meritocracy: “the holding of power by people selected based on their ability.”

Most Americans Say Colleges Shouldn't Consider Race

February 26, 2019

Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed by Pew oppose consideration of race in admissions. Only 7 percent say it should be a major factor -- and 8 percent each say legacy status or athletic ability should be a major factor. Seven percent of Americans believe that race or ethnicity should be a major factor in admissions decisions, and 19 percent believe it should be a minor factor.

Closing Arguments in the Harvard Case

February 18, 2019

Lawyers defending and opposing affirmative action make their final pitches to judge in case that could have major impact on higher education. The debate on personal ratings of Asian American applicants could be crucial.

The GRE Fails to Identify Students that will Graduate and Hurts Diversity, New Study Finds

January 30, 2019

Researchers are urging universities across the United States to find a new way to identify the next generation of scientists. A new study discovered that traditional admissions metrics for physics Ph.D. programs such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) do not predict completion and hurt the growth of diversity in physics, which is already the least diverse of the sciences.

Children’s race, not disability status, may predict more frequent suspension

January 28, 2019

Suspension is one way schools discipline students, but the high number of and disparities in suspensions in the U.S. has sparked controversy and policy debate.

UNC Admissions Lawsuit Likely Headed to Supreme Court

January 25, 2019

The federal lawsuit challenging race-conscious admissions practices at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – like a similar case involving Harvard in another federal courtroom – is likely to end up in the high court in a similarly prolonged legal battle, according to some observers.

‘I Feel Invisible’: Native Students Languish in Public Schools

January 9, 2019

At Wolf Point High School in rural Montana, Native American students face the same neglect Native students across the U.S. do as they navigate a school system that has failed American Indians.

Contemporary Classroom Advice from a Transgender Student

December 3, 2018

Identity is so firmly rooted in gender stereotypes that we can hardly free ourselves from invisible habits. That was until Generation Z made those of us simply going through the motions look up from our college-ruled notebooks and take note.