MSI Aspiring Leaders 

Marybeth Gasman and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Penn GSE

(Grant awrd : $745,000)

Supported by $745,000 in grants from ECMC Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, MSI Aspiring Leaders is a program developed by the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) that will bring together prominent Minority Serving Institutions' (MSI) leaders to engage with mid-career aspiring leaders from the education, non-profit, and business sectors in an effort to prepare the next generation of MSI presidents.

MSI Aspiring Leaders includes both a leadership forum and mentorship program and has been designed to help promote diversity among higher education leadership. Alongside the Aspiring Leaders Forum, we have also designed a research component to better understand participants' experiences in the program. Over the course of the two-year program, we will interview participants to develop robust insights into their leadership philosophies and the areas of leadership that they hope to cultivate through their participation.The Aspiring Leaders Forum provides a unique opportunity to further our knowledge of individuals' profiles who feel called to serve MSIs and we aim to use these data to better inform future programming and policies.  

Read the press release here

Project Passport 

Council on International Educational Exchange and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions 

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) have come together for a three-year strategic partnership known as Project Passport to increase study abroad at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The partnership features a series of opportunities geared towards college presidents, faculty, and students who are dedicated to leading change in their college communities as it relates to international education. The goal of Project Passport is to identify exemplary leaders – presidents, faculty and students – at MSIs who are dedicated to expanding international exchange on their college campus, to motivate culture change for the campus community, and to lead by personal example. CMSI and CIEE commit to supporting the partnership and facilitating research on the impact the program has on participating colleges. 

Through this partnership, CMSI and CIEE works with 10-12 MSIs each year and provide them with a complete package to expand their study abroad programs, including a Leadership Workshop on international education, faculty training and development programs on international education, as well as study abroad fellowships and passports for students. 

Project Passport includes: 

  1. President Workshops on International Education  
  2. Faculty Training and Development Programs on International Education
  3. Student Scholarships for Study Abroad 

The goal of this study is to understand the experiences of Frederick Douglass Global Fellows, three cohorts of ten MSI students who participate in a four-week study abroad program, as well as three cohorts of fifteen MSI faculty members who participate in CIEE's International Faculty Development Seminar, a five-day event hosted outside of the United States that prepares faculty members to lead study abroad programs. Specifically, this study seeks to understand the effects of study abroad experiences on students from MSIs, as well as the challenges that faculty from MSIs face when planning study abroad programs for their students, in order to develop strategies to increase study abroad participation at MSIs. 

Read the Project Passport press release here.

Faculty Training and Development Programs on International Education and Student Scholarships for Study Abroad 

Frederick Douglass Global Fellows participate in one pre-program and one post-program interview. The pre-program interview covers their background, interest in study abroad, and anticipation of program participation. The post-program interview seeks to understand the highlights and challenges of their experience, how they feel that it influenced them, and what strategies they believe could increase study abroad participation. The three cohorts of Frederick Douglass Global Fellows each study abroad in different locations: the first cohort in London, England, the second in Cape Town, South Africa, and the third in Seoul, South Korea. The program structure provides opportunities to consider the roles of cohort makeup and location in shaping study abroad experiences, which will expand the scope of knowledge on study abroad as there is a dearth of literature on students of color studying abroad, and most study abroad programs have been hosted in Western countries. 

IFDS faculty participate in one post-program interview, which covers their experiences during the seminar, lessons that they learned about intercultural competency and leading study abroad, and efforts planning and organizing a study abroad program. All three cohorts travel abroad to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Through interviewing these 45 faculty members from a range of disciplines and institutions, this research will provide greater insight into how faculty can overcome barriers to study abroad, and how their colleges and universities can support them in these efforts.

Read the press release for IFDS here.

HSI Pathways to the Professoriate

Marybeth Gasman and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Penn GSE

(Grant award: $5,100,000)

Pathways to the Professoriate, supported by a $5.1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will prepare 90 students from Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) for Ph.D. programs over a five-year period. During the five-year program, the Center for MSIs will partner with three Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) — Florida International University; the University of Texas El Paso; and California State University, Northridge — and five majority research institutions — New York University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Pennsylvania; Northwestern University; and University of California, Davis. Selected HSI undergraduate students will take part in intensive summer research programs and cross-institutional conferences, while also receiving mentoring, and support for applying to and enrolling in graduate school. The program's goal is to increase the number of Latino professors working in the humanities at U.S. colleges and universities.

HBCUs as Leaders and Teachers in STEM Education

Marybeth Gasman and Thai-Huy Nguyen, University of Pennsylvania

(Grant award: $1,500,000)

Sponsored by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the goal of this research project is to elevate the role and approach of HBCUs in STEM education. We will uncover the approaches to learning that put HBCUs out in front with regard to STEM education so that all colleges and universities can use these approaches.  We will also establish HBCUs as leaders in STEM on a national scale. More specifically, our objectives are to:

  1. Identify, document, and communicate efficient, effective, and scalable models of success in STEM education at HBCUs; 
  2. Improve the capacity of HBCUs to strengthen current models of success in STEM education and to develop additional approaches; 
  3. Strategically disseminate the findings not only to HBCUs, but also to all colleges and universities, funders, media outlets, scholars and policymakers; 
  4. Build alliances across HBCUs and majority institutions to improve STEM capacity among African Americans and other under-represented students.

Understanding Teacher Education at Minority Serving Institutions and its Impact on Local Communities

Marybeth Gasman and Andrés Castro Samayoa, University of Pennsylvania

(Grant award: $750,000)

Through the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this project examines teacher education efforts at Minority Serving Institutions. Institutions of higher education play a vital role in K-12 education by inspiring, instructing, and certifying the future teachers and leaders/administrators of the nation's schools and school systems. As the demographic composition of the K-12 public schools continues to reflect the nation's racially diverse population, examining and strengthening the role that MSIs play in producing the future minority teachers of our nation becomes an increasing national imperative. We will answer the following questions through this research project: What is the current landscape of teacher education at MSIs? Where do teachers emerging from MSIs serve? How can MSIs tailor their curricula to prepare future teachers for new state standards?