Students from underrepresented populations face mounting barriers in obtaining access and completing postsecondary education. While myriad factors such as class and geographical environment certainly affect educational opportunities, the study of race and ethnicity remains vital to combating racial inequalities in higher education.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) are institutional lifelines for underserved students seeking higher education. The creation of these institutions emerged at a time when majority institutions refused admission or failed to provide inclusive policies to such students.
Today, these institutions serve as a tool to strengthen minority student voices, in conjunction with producing college graduates, professionals, uplifting minority serving communities, and inspiring others to continue in their traditions. These institutions continue to play a vital role, enrolling approximately 3.6 million (20%) of the undergraduate population.
Today, January 21, 2014, marks an important milestone as the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education opens the Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSIs). Under the direction of Dr. Marybeth Gasman, CMSI strengthens the voice of underrepresented students at these institutions through research and student engagement. It seeks to serve students, faculty, administrators, and scholars in optimizing the uniqueness and resources of this diverse population. More important, CMSI provides implications for teaching, fostering community, and increasing racial diversity for any institution of higher education.
We invite you to take a look at CMSI’s website (https://www2.gse.upenn.edu/cmsi/), and take part in this community. You may become an instrument to broadcast these students’ voices.