A weekly digest of important initiatives and trends occurring at AICUM member campuses
Daily Hampshire Gazette: Amherst College Drive Raises $502 Million Despite Downturn
By Scott Merzbach
A five-year fundraising campaign by Amherst College that emphasized goals of continuing a need-blind admission policy and having a diverse student body has easily surpassed its goal.
The college last week announced that the “Lives of Consequence” campaign raised $502 million, outpacing the $425 million goal set when it was launched in October 2008.
More than $138 million was made in anonymous donations, with separate donations of $100 million and $25 million, and 47 percent of the total brought in is unrestricted, meaning there are no strings attached to how it is used.
Amherst College President Biddy Martin said in a statement that this runs counter to a trend in higher education philanthropy, where donations often have specific purposes, such as for buildings or programs.
“The difference here is that many of our alumni and donors are hewing to an older tradition, which is generosity without the recognition that many people seek,” Martin said. “It’s a form of commitment, trust and modesty that is really worth some attention.”
Besides the college’s no-loan financial aid program and ensuring racial and ethnic diversity, money from the campaign will support faculty and student research and enhanced alumni and parent engagement.
“The campaign was not only launched during a challenging time, but it succeeded during the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” Martin said.
College spokesman Peter Rooney said the campaign succeeded in spite of beginning during the economic downturn, when global markets plunged and the college’s endowment, which was valued at around $1.7 billion at the start of the campaign, lost about one-quarter of its value.
The college will celebrate the drive Friday and Saturday with a “You Did It!” event. All 22,000 alumni, as well as current students, parents, faculty and staff have been invited.
The celebration will include a keynote address titled “Education in the Liberal Arts and Sciences: Glancing Backward, Imagining Forward,” by Howard Gardner, a trustee and professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Johnson Chapel.
There will also be a conversation on affirmative action presented by Amherst alumni Saturday from 10:45 a.m. to noon in Johnson Chapel and a reading and portrait dedication featuring Richard Wilbur, former U.S. poet laureate and college lecturer, Saturday from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. in Johnson Chapel.
The campaign was led by chief advancement officer Megan Morey, her staff and the Campaign Executive Committee chaired by alumni and trustees Brian J. Conway, Hope E. Pascucci and Jide J. Zeitlin.
Morey said the campaign allowed the college to broaden access to Amherst, enhance the curriculum and physical campus and foster greater engagement between the college and the community in western Massachusetts.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Becker Receives $1.4M Grant for Digital Games Industry
By Lisa Eckelbecker
Becker College has been awarded a $1.4 million federal grant to help fund renovations of a building that will house a center for entrepreneurs in the digital games industry.
Becker said Thursday it will match the grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and use the combined $2.8 million to build the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute New Ventures Center by renovating 80 William St. to hold meeting space, computer labs and space to develop new businesses.
The center will be a business assistance center for undergraduate and graduate students who live in or attend college in the “gateway cities,” communities such as Lawrence, Lowell, Worcester and Springfield, Becker reported.
“Hopefully when it’s done, some of those students will graduate, set up studios in Worcester or other gateway cities in the commonwealth and grow the economy,” said Timothy M. Loew, executive director of the institute.
The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute, also known as Mass DiGi, was launched in 2011 at Becker to promote the video gaming industry in Massachusetts. It has two full-time employees plus a number of part-time workers and student interns.
The New Ventures Center will aim to provide a layer of training upon what students get at their home institutions, Mr. Loew said. About 100 to 120 people a year could go through the center learning how to pitch ideas, interact with potential investors, position their products and tackle other issues, he said.
Brandeis Now: Brandeis’ Youngest Generation Gets New Center
By Debra Filcman
Yesterday’s ceremonial groundbreaking for a $2.5 million Gersh and Sarah Lemberg Children’s Center added new meaning to Brandeis’ commitment to educating young people.
“This is just about the most important thing we can be talking about,” said President Fred Lawrence at the ceremony, which was also attended by Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, Mass. Sen. Mike Barrett and Mass. Rep. John Lawn. “We talk about educating young people, and this is about as young as they get.”
The Brandeis children’s center, currently located next to the Brown and Schwartz buildings on the main campus, will move across South Street to Old South Street, into a new building expected to open next February. The Crown Center for Middle East Studies will move into Lemberg’s former space after planned renovations are completed.
D.W. Arthur Associates Architecture designed the new 7,056-square-foot two-story building, which will double the Lemberg’s capacity from approximately 35 to 75 children, and will include an infant center.
A group of Lemberg children provided delightful musical interludes at the groundbreaking when not sitting quietly with their parents and teachers on a tarp as speakers described their future. Then came their big moment: They each picked up a miniature shovel and ran toward a mound of dirt, ready to take a ceremonial scoop.
The new center has been decades in the making. “I first proposed an infant center in 1979 or 1980,” said Lemberg’s Executive Director Howard Baker, who began teaching at the center in 1972, two years after it opened. President Lawrence and Provost Steve A.N. Goldstein ’78, MA’78, supported his vision for an expanded facility, Baker said, as did the Waltham community and scores of grateful parents.
The groundswell of community support for Lemberg was heartening, Goldstein added, and showed the center’s importance to Brandeis and Waltham, a sentiment echoed by Lawrence, who said that Lemberg exemplifies Brandeis’ “being not only in but of Waltham.”
In addition to serving the children of Brandeis’ diverse faculty, staff and student community, the center serves the children of MetroWest residents as well.
After reading a letter from a grateful student who is now beginning her professional career, Baker said, “I’ve had a blessed life, being with this community that shows such support for what a good children’s center does, and helping people grow into happy and healthy lives.
“To me, this is saying we’re going to be here for another 50 years.”
Brandeis Now: All Work and No Play? Not Anymore
By David Nathan
A special guest joined the party to celebrate Brandeis’ newly renamed Myra (Hiatt) Kraft ’64 Transitional Year Program.
New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady, who grew close to the beloved Brandeis alumna during his long tenure with the National Football League team, made a surprise appearance at team owner Robert Kraft’s home on Tuesday to meet the TYP students and alumni.
“I wish you the best of luck,” Brady, who was accompanied by his 3-year-old son, Benjamin, said in addressing the TYP students. “You guys are the leaders of tomorrow. You are going to be leading little boys like this and little girls like my little girl (Vivian).”
Kraft, a prominent Boston businessman, and his family made a $5 million gift earlier this year to rename the pioneering college-access program for his wife Myra, a dedicated Brandeis trustee and supporter who died in 2011.
“She loved the school as a student. She loved the school as an alumna. She loved the school as a trustee,” Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence said. “We talked about the right way to memorialize her and remember her at Brandeis.” Lawrence also unveiled a portrait of Myra that will hang in the Irving Enclave at Brandeis.
Through her work with the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation and as president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, Myra sought to improve the lives of people at Brandeis, in Boston, Israel and around the world. She had a particular interest in helping children.
“She was a wonderful woman,” Brady told the TYP students. “You guys didn’t get to know her like I did. She was an incredible woman, and you should be really proud to be associated with her name.”
Kraft spoke lovingly of his wife and offered words of encouragement to the students.
“All of you are embarking on a very special program,” he said. “You’re in a great environment and you will have a great opportunity to succeed. I’m so proud that all of you will bear my sweetheart’s name as Myra Kraft Scholars. You couldn’t find a better brand to be associated with.”
Since its founding at Brandeis 45 years ago, TYP has helped more than 1,000 young people earn college diplomas. The one-year academic program prepares students who have not had access to the necessary resources either at home or in school to handle a rigorous four-year undergraduate experience.
By the time Myra arrived at Brandeis as a freshman, in the fall of 1960, she was already familiar with the university. Her father, Worcester, Mass., businessman Jacob Hiatt, was a visionary early Brandeis leader and she often accompanied him on visits to campus.
She became a Brandeis trustee in 1986 and served as vice chair of the board for 10 years. Myra also served on the presidential search committee that brought Lawrence to Brandeis.
Over the years, the Krafts have supported a number of initiatives at Brandeis, including student scholarships and a chair in Arab politics. Consistent with their commitment to fostering interreligious dialogue, the family also established the Myra and Robert Kraft and Jacob Hiatt Professor of Christian Studies at Brandeis, and a similar chair in Judaic studies at Holy Cross, a Jesuit institution in Worcester.
Emmanuel College’s Class of 2017 Begins the Year with Service Day
After a busy (and rainy) weekend of moving into the residence halls and settling into new routines, members of the Class of 2017 joined other members of the Emmanuel College community for a longstanding Emmanuel tradition-the annual New Student Day of Service.
Deirdre Bradley-Turner, Director of Community Service and Service Learning, emphasized the importance of introducing students to service opportunities early in their Emmanuel careers.
“New Student Day of Service invites students to be part of our community; a community that has a long tradition of serving others,” Bradley-Turner said. “New students have the opportunity to meet classmates, volunteer at a local agency and learn about a new area of Boston. The day demonstrates to our new students Emmanuel’s commitment to community service. By participating in this tradition their first week of college, new students learn quickly that at Emmanuel we expect everyone to contribute and be generous with their time, gifts and talents.”
The first-year students, along with current students and staff, met in the Jean Yawkey Center Gymnasium on the morning of Tuesday, September 3rd, to learn about service opportunities in the Boston area through a presentation given by Mission and Ministry. After the presentation, students loaded onto buses that took them to various volunteer sites.
Using the hashtag #EC17Service, volunteers live-tweeted about their experiences, which included sorting clothes at St. Ambrose Family Shelter, organizing bread at the Greater Boston Food Bank, cleaning up fallen branches at the Franklin Park Zoo, harvesting vegetables at the ReVision Urban Farm and registering people to vote with MassVOTE. A collection of the morning’s tweets can be found here.
Hank Morgan ’16 was one of 53 students to volunteer with MASSVote, an organization that works to register, educate and mobilize voters with a focus on historically underrepresented communities in Massachusetts. Morgan led a group of students to the Fenway MBTA stop and spoke with them about the importance of reregistering to vote at their college in order to take part in local politics while in school.
“Students not only got the experience of working in a grassroots organization,” Morgan said, “but also saw the importance of participating in local democracy. I often feel that many people, both young and old, forget the importance of participating in local elections.”
While Morgan noted that some people were in a rush to get to their destinations, some gladly registered to vote. For others, the group served as a reminder to vote in the September 24th elections.
In all, 481 students volunteered for a total of 1,443 hours of service at 10 organizations throughout the city: Zoo New England – 49 students; St. Ambrose Family Shelter – 39 students; OLPH Mission Grammar School – 95 students; St. Mary of the Angels Parish – 22 students; Cradles to Crayons – 50 students; Nazareth Residence – 10 students; St. Anthony Shrine – 100 students; ReVision Urban Farm – 14 students; Greater Boston Food Bank – 49 students; and MassVOTE – 53 students.
Huffington Post: Opinion: Who’s Afraid of the Liberal Arts?
By D. Michael Lindsay
Reading last month’s USA Today article, “Picking College, Major, Comes Down to Money,” I felt a touch of déjà vu. As the president of a New England liberal arts college, I field questions regarding college affordability and practicality about as often as I sit at my desk (if such questions can even wait until I’m seated). My colleagues in higher education administration have indeed been faced with the challenge to prove our worth in preparing the next generation of leaders and innovators. These are important, productive conversations and, frankly, I welcome the dialogue. It opens the door to articulating the benefits of an education I believe still stands as the model for the world.
That is why I would encourage parents and students who are nervous about the practical applications of an English degree, or career prospects for a history major, to reconsider the straight, causal line they’ve drawn between college major and professional success. I’ve spent the past eight years of my sociological research studying the lives of 550 senior leaders–top CEOs, people in senior positions in government — the Who’s Who of the American elite; and the fact is, many earned a liberal arts degree. Part of my research included a close examination of the prestigious White House Fellowship — and 73 percent of those young leaders had a liberal arts degree. You can draw a connection between senior leadership potential and a broad, liberal arts education.
More anecdotally: I myself was an English major; I went on to earn advanced degrees in theology and sociology; now I work in college administration. Along the way, I’ve worked as a pollster and held a position with a computer training company. And I couldn’t overemphasize how important each previous, seemingly detached endeavor has been to the one that followed.
The notion that success depends on a student plugging him — or herself into one of a discreet set of traditionally promising majors rests on an outmoded understanding of vocational preparation. Certainly, the twentieth century was an era of specialization, with a number of highly specific majors ballooning to match the highly specific requirements of a specialized job market. But our 21st century has already demonstrated that it will be an era of integration, not specialization. Those most likely to make an impact in this new generation will have a broad, holistic knowledge base and a drive to connect disparate interests through innovative problem solving. As I’ve noted before, the liberal arts approach prepares students to think holistically, drawing together many schools of thought and disciplinary approaches.
Indeed, the pendulum of popular opinion may have already begun its swing back toward a healthy respect for the humanities and social sciences. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences — a large cohort of public and private sector leaders and educators including presidents of major corporations and universities — recently released a report, The Heart of the Matter, which stresses the indispensability of the disciplines. What’s more, it does so chiefly by considering who is fit to lead in the 21st century: “Who will lead America into a bright future?” the report asks. Their answer? “Citizens who are educated in the broadest possible sense, so that they can participate in their own governance and engage with the world. An adaptable and creative workforce…” The Commission understands the vital importance of holistic thinking in the century to come.
None of this, of course, means to imply that a student’s specific major is insignificant. On the contrary, one’s major can influence the very core of one’s worldview, interests and aspirations. A student who studies linguistics is not likely to move directly into a Ph.D. program in cellular biology. Yet a student’s chosen major will not, in most cases, determine the financial viability of his or her long-term career. Students from any major can use their time at college to explore practical ways to turn their academic passion into a good investment. At my institution, we point frequently to the catalytic effect of close personal mentoring relationships with accomplished faculty, to perspective-broadening study-abroad programs, and to the skill- and network-building advantages of professional internships — all of which are key in giving our graduates an edge in the highly competitive job market of the past decade.
The success of the next generation of college graduates will come down to commitment, creativity, resourcefulness, and a bit of wise planning. Today, an average college student switches his or her major approximately four times before graduating — and this is not a bad thing. The last thing the job market needs right now is a surplus of disaffected pre-professional majors with no real interest in contributing anything extraordinary to the community they are preparing to work within. Our economy — and our culture as a whole — needs young people with passion and ingenuity, and I’ve found no better institutions to cultivate these strengths than liberal arts colleges. We are still the gold standard for the world.
D. Michael Lindsay is President of Gordon College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
MIT News: MIT Team Receives $10.4 Million Biomanufacturing Grant from DARPA
Investigators from MIT’s Biomanufacturing Research Program (BioMAN) have received a $10.4 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop new technologies for DARPA’s Biologically-derived Medicines On Demand (BioMOD) program.
Through BioMOD, DARPA seeks to develop devices and techniques to produce biologics in response to specific battlefield threats and medical needs. To that end, BioMAN plans to develop innovative methodologies for engineering robust, flexible microbial strains capable of synthesizing multiple protein-based therapeutics – as well as portable device platforms – for the rapid manufacturing of multiple biologics with high purity, efficacy and potency.
“This DARPA program aims to manufacture biologic drugs on demand in a forward-operations setting, where resources are often limited. Making drugs available within 24 hours could save lives,” says J. Christopher Love, an associate professor of chemical engineering, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and lead investigator on the program.
“This timing is unheard of, as such drugs now take six to 12 months to manufacture,” he adds. “To make and release such medications on fast timescales will require orders-of-magnitude improvements on today’s manufacturing practices. The goal for BioMAN is to transform biologic drug manufacturing from a time-consuming, stepwise process to a tightly integrated one for small-scale production.”
Love suggests that the implications are tremendous: “Imagine how having rapid access to drugs in remote settings could change lives, or how such new capabilities might promote better global access to these costly drugs through distributed production.”
BioMAN is part of MIT’s Center for Biomedical Innovation (CBI), whose mission is to improve global health through the development and implementation of biomedical innovations. BioMAN focuses on developing new knowledge, science, technologies and strategies that advance the manufacture and global delivery of high-quality biopharmaceuticals.
“In BioMAN, we have created a unique ecosystem where MIT and other affiliated faculty work closely with the biomanufacturing industry, as well as government and regulatory communities, to examine key issues in biomanufacturing and see new manufacturing innovations implemented,” says Stacy Springs, BioMAN’s executive director.
Additional academic collaborators on the BioMOD program include MIT professors Richard Braatz, Jongyoon “Jay” Han, Tim Lu, Rajeev Ram, Anthony Sinskey and Michael Strano; Northeastern University professor William Hancock; and professors Steve Cramer and Pankaj Karande of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. GK Raju of LightPharma and CBI’s James C. Leung are both consultants on the project. Industrial collaborators include Pall Corporation and PerkinElmer. Latham BioPharm Group and the CBI will provide system integration.
“Within a two-year timeframe, we aim to have a prototype system composed of all of the individual components to make at least two different drugs at doses and qualities comparable to those that are currently on the market. We have an all-star team to meet our objectives,” says Sinskey, a professor of microbiology and faculty director of the CBI.
The two-year contract includes options that, if exercised, would bring its potential value to $21.8 million.
MGH Institute of Health Professionals:
First-Year Students Make an IMPACT in Charlestown, Other Boston Neighborhoods
As her mother, Jean Mabstedt, looked on, three-year-old Rachel happily played with some MGH Institute of Health Professions students in the Charlestown Public Library’s children’s room.
“Rachel can be a bit shy when she doesn’t know someone, but she perked right up with the students,” said Mabstedt, a Medford resident who returns to her native Charlestown regularly. “I’m glad we came.”
More than 320 faculty, staff, and graduate students from the Charlestown Navy Yard graduate school visited almost 30 non-profits and other organizations during its 2nd Community Day on September 20. It was almost triple the number of locations from last year.
Each team of 10 was composed of students in nursing, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology who are beginning a semester-long class called Interprofessional Model for Patient and Client-centered Teams, or IMPACT, where they will learn to work collaboratively and lay the groundwork to provide interprofessional patient care during and after their MGH Institute education.
“It’s extremely valuable to know what students in other disciplines do,” said first-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student Sasha Kossak, who was paired up with Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology student Daniel Kahn, to play with youngsters at the library.
A Variety of Tasks
Students performed a variety of tasks throughout Charlestown, as well as in Beacon Hill, the South End, the North End, and South Boston. These included providing seniors with health tips, cleaning up city parks and housing development yards, doing arts and crafts, running an adaptive soccer clinic for kids with disabilities, and leading a yoga class for high schoolers.
At Zelma Lacey House, speech-language pathology student Dolph Paulsen and resident Warren Spaulding were chatting in the assisted living facility’s den. “I like having all these young people come in and see us,” said Spaulding.
“It’s definitely a chance to get ready to work with a diverse population,” noted Paulsen. “You meet people you wouldn’t normally meet in day-to-day activities.”
Added Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Peter S. Cahn, PhD, “We feel that it is important for future health professionals to understand the communities where their patients come from.”
The list of Charlestown locations visited were: Access Sports, Amy Lowell House, Boston National Historic Park – Navy Yard, Captain’s Quarters, Charlestown High School, Charlestown Nursery School, Charlestown Public Library, Children’s Quarters, Courageous Sailing, Doherty Park, Edwards Middle School, Ferrin Street Senior Housing, Golden Age Center, Harvard Mall Park, Kennedy Center, Mishawum Housing Development, Newtowne Housing Development, Smart from the Start, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish, and Zelma Lacey House.
Other sites in Boston were: Boston Children’s School, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, Center Club, Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, North End Nursing Home, Room to Grow @ 142 Berkeley Street, and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.
News @Northeastern: Broad-Based Knowledge, Experience Among Key Outcomes, Higher Ed Experts Agree
By Greg St. Martin
Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun said on Tuesday that the landscape of higher education is moving from a teacher-centered approach to a learner-centered approach, a shift that presents both challenges and tremendous opportunities for innovation and experimentation.
Complementing this shift, Aoun noted, is that 85 percent of today’s higher education students comprise “nontraditional learners,” including part-time students, working professionals, and off-campus residents.
“The role of nontraditional learners is going to force us to think differently,” said Aoun as he spoke at a standing-room only event at the historic National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. He stressed the need for colleges to adapt to their students’ needs as well as rethink how they prepare graduates to succeed in the global workforce.
In an effort to better understand these changing dynamics across industry and academia, Northeastern released the findings of national poll of the American public and hiring decision-makers on where they believe innovation in higher education is headed and what it will take to better prepare graduates for the workforce across a global landscape.
The second annual event in the nation’s capital focused on many of the critical issues facing higher education and revealed by the survey findings. Titled, Innovation Imperative: Enhancing Higher Education Outcomes, the discussion was moderated by Catherine Rampell, economics reporter of The New York Times and included Mitchell Daniels, president of Purdue University and former governor of Indiana, as well as James Kvaal, deputy director for domestic policy at the White House; Jeff Wilcox, corporate vice president for engineering at Lockheed Martin Corporation; and Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness.
The discussion focused on a range of topics, from the importance of both STEM and liberal arts education to the importance of experiential learning programs for students that link classroom education with real-world professional experience. On how to effectively measure the value of higher education, Kvaal pointed to the Obama administration’s new “college scorecard” rating system designed to provide families with more information about college costs and outcomes. He said colleges must be rewarded “for delivering good values for students, enrolling students from all types of backgrounds, and continually improving and innovating.”
Acknowledging that institutions are often penalized by third-party rankings for taking bold actions, Kvaal argued that we have to find new ways to evaluate the mission of colleges and universities and reward those who provide a better quality education at a lower cost.
The survey findings also provide a wake-up call for leaders of colleges and universities on the important issue of higher education outcomes. According to the findings, almost two-thirds (62 percent) of Americans say that the higher education system is doing a “fair” or “poor” job of preparing recent college graduates for the workforce. Consistent with last year’s findings, a majority of Americans also believe that higher education remains critical to the nation’s competitiveness and must innovate in order for the U.S. to maintain its global leadership.
“Too many Americans do not have the level of education and skill needed to thrive in this economy and drive the next generation of entrepreneurship on which we as a nation have built so much value,” Wince-Smith said. “So this is a real reflection point for all Americans. We need to out-innovate if we’re going to out-compete.”
One key to increasing global competitiveness, the panelists agreed, is educating more students in science, technology, engineering, and math-known as the STEM fields. Daniels said demand for engineering graduates is growing, noting that, “The market is starting to respond. … We don’t think it’s a short-term phenomenon.”
Echoing the survey findings, the group also vouched for the value of a well-rounded knowledge base as a prerequisite for career success. Noting that “engineers are not great storytellers,” Wilcox, an engineer himself, acknowledged that while STEM graduates are critical to strengthening the economy there are skills such as writing, communication, and public speaking that are just as important for a well-rounded professional as industry-specific expertise.
The panel discussion often pivoted back to the results of the survey, which found that the majority of Americans believe a college degree is more important today than for their parents’ generation. The survey also showed that Americans resolutely believe in the importance of experiential education for long-term career success. This finding aligns with Northeastern’s commitment to experiential learning, as students pursue co-op, research, study abroad, and other opportunities in 93 countries worldwide.
There was also a consensus in the survey among Americans and business leaders that massive online open courses, also known as MOOCs, will fundamentally transform the way students are educated, but less than one-third believes MOOCs provide the same quality of education as traditional, in-person courses. Meanwhile, Americans and business leaders see a shared responsibility across higher education, industry, and the individuals themselves in preparing graduates for success.
Springfield College Celebrates 16th Annual Humanics in Action Day
Springfield College celebrated its 16th annual Humanics in Action Day Thursday, Sept. 26, with students, faculty, staff, and alumni performing a day of concentrated community service throughout the city of Springfield.
Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper welcomed campus volunteers before they embarked on approximately 100 projects throughout Springfield. Also speaking at the opening ceremonies were Springfield College Student Trustee Ariel Zaleski, Director of Springfield School Volunteers Denise Cogman, Old Hill Neighborhood Council President Emmanuel Adero, and Upper Hill Neighborhood Council President Adrienne Osborne.
College work groups performed services for schools, churches, senior citizen facilities, childcare centers, community organizations, city agencies, and neighborhoods. They conducted educational projects for school children, did indoor and outdoor painting projects, performed clean-up/fix-up projects, planted landscaping, and completed a host of other indoor and outdoor services.
Humanics in Action Day highlights the commitment by Springfield College to year-round community-based service programs. Springfield College students contribute more than 120,000 hours of service annually to programs in schools, neighborhood organizations, and city programs.
Springfield College initiated Humanics in Action Day in September 1998. It was the idea of Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics Peter Polito and leaders of the New Student Orientation program to revive and expand an event described in the 1918 Springfield College yearbook. In the early years at the College, student work groups volunteered to improve the developing campus. Since 1998, Humanics in Action Day has been a day of service to the local community.
Boston Globe: New Forum at Tufts Tackles Race, Democracy
By Akiliah Johnson
The issue of race has been a much discussed topic as of late. It has been parsed in the halls of the Supreme Court. It has been discussed at the Lincoln Memorial and in the aftermath of a Central Florida jury’s decision. And it is the subtext in the campaign for Boston mayor, with forums dedicated to the diversity needs of the community and forums dedicated to the diverse field itself.
Yet there are political and social observers who say that few substantive conversations about race and ethnicity have risen above the chatter, with exchanges about diverse communities often stumbling into stereotypes, hyperbole, or simply brushed aside. But last week, a multiracial, multigenerational crowd of about 300 packed a Tufts University auditorium to discuss – and, at times, debate -issues of race and democracy.
On what was billed as the first National Dialogue on Race Day, Tufts students, faculty, and staff, along with community leaders, were joined Thursday by universities stretching from the West Coast to the South to engage in a nuanced conversation about race. The interactive dialogue was presented by the new Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts, which hopes to make this an annual event, continuing the conversation far into the future.
For nearly two hours, a panel of activists and academics shared their views on the legacy of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, race and the criminal justice system, and race and democracy in the 21st century.
Then, they took questions from the audience.
“This is how democracy looks,” Peniel Joseph, a Tufts history professor and the center’s founding director, told the crowd in the room. “Dialogue is power. This is a conversation that needs to be happening all across America, and it’s a conversation that we will link to public policy and substantive legislation.”
Bridgette Wallace, 43, a Boston resident, strode to the microphone and said she was not optimistic about the intermingling of race and class, particularly in Roxbury and Dorchester, because people are being priced out of their homes.
“What I see are people being used as place holders for different people in the community,” she said. Gentrification, she said, comes with two messages. One is, “This neighborhood is not good, you need to flee;” while the other is, “You need to come to this neighborhood and we’ll build a bike path for you.”
Wallace wanted to know what could be done to stop the “class-cleansing.”
“Buy a home,” responded panelist Michael Curry, president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP.
The conversation came on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, when Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the country’s most cited speeches.
King’s address was not just about a dream for the country as a place of racial harmony but also a call to action to break down barriers to economic equality.
During the 17-minute speech, King touched on topics that panelists said still ring true: poverty, police brutality, and voting rights infringement.
“America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked insufficient funds,” King told the crowd that day in 1963. “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.”
And though the country has fulfilled much of King’s dream with the abolishment of legalized segregation, with people of color holding some of the most powerful positions in the country, there is still so much work to do, panelists said.
In the standing-room-only auditorium, people, some sitting on the floor, talked about how the pipeline to prison – mandatory minimum sentences and three-strikes rules – disproportionately affects black and Latino communities. A felony conviction can determine where someone lives and lead to disqualification from certain state and federal subsidies. And, panelists said, it can cost men and women their ability to get a job or cast a vote.
“The one war that we did not keep pressing was the war on poverty, and I think that’s where the emphasis needs to be,” panelist Kim McLarin, an Emerson College professor, told the crowd.
Curry said he grew up in the Lenox public housing development in the South End but saw more drugs in college. The war on drugs, he said, created an atmosphere in which young people in urban communities of color find themselves before judges more so than their white peers in suburban neighborhoods.
A criminal justice system more reflective of the community it serves – from police officers to prosecutors to judges – would result in greater sensitivity to the reality of life in different communities, Curry said. For example, he said, what might be regarded as criminal activity in one neighborhood could be regarded in another as a youthful indiscretion best dealt with at the kitchen table.
“The reality is the lack of diversity in the system leads us to prison,” he said. “There’s not enough of us at the table. And if you’re not at the table, you’re on the table.”
Tufts freshman Maeve Moynihan wanted to know more about coalition building between communities of color and gay rights advocates, but there wasn’t time to delve into that topic before the night ended.
So she approached another student, who did have an opportunity to ask a similar question and learned about several campus groups she could join.
But Moynihan said she sees that as the point, to start the conversation here, and continue it out in the world
Huffington Post: Opinion: Can Innovative Partnerships Close America’s Skills Gap
By Jackie Jenkins-Scott
This summer, Wheelock College hosted a planning workshop for a first-of-its-kind partnership that unites Massachusetts students with high-demand fields in the 21st century global economy. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston initiated thepartnership between Roxbury Community College and Madison Park Vocational Technical High School–the Roxbury Massachusetts Advanced Polytech Pathway or RoxMAPP. Creating vital avenues for students to flourish in burgeoning fields including health care, information technology and the life sciences and beyond is the aim of the program. Students at Madison Park will have the opportunity to enroll directly in Roxbury Community College after graduation; thus, equipping them with the tools, direction and connections with business leaders and the greater Boston community. I was greatly inspired by the time, energy and vision of leaders and educators during this day of training. Positioned to help close our skills gap, this partnership aligns with the State’s job growth strategy and has the potential to serve as a model for other vocational schools and community colleges across the state and possibly the country.
Why is this so critical? Because half of today’s jobs didn’t exist 25 years ago. The skills available in the current workforce and those needed for the tech-based economy have created a significant gap in skills. Opportunity is available yet so many people are looking for jobs–almost 12 million Americans are unemployed; however, 3.6 million jobs are unfilled. Many of these openings are “middle skills” positions–jobs that require more advanced training than a high school diploma but may not need a four-year degree and are in the fields related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). We must do more to inspire and educate future generations to prepare students for the jobs of the future. One of the methods is the pioneering of a greater variety of partnerships with institutions of higher education.
Creating pathways for college and career readiness has proven to be an essential element in the foundational stages of student success. At Wheelock College, we are working to address the skills gap with the children and families of Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood through a new initiative, dubbed the “Center for Readiness.” The program consists of a series of age-based college and career readiness programs and services for youth in grades 4-12 to improve the needed support for low-income, first generation and immigrant populations of the Mattapan community and its surroundings. In addition to the youth programs, a number of support programs will also be developed for parents, families, and other adults. The College plays a collaborative leadership, advocacy and facilitative role with partner agencies and organizations in an effort to create a sustainable, place-based, capacity-building model at the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership Community Center (MWPCC) focused on children, youth and families. In just two years, the MWPCC re-opened its doors under Wheelock’s oversight and now serves nearly 200 families a day. The Center’s pool and computer room have become hubs of activity for the community. Approximately $300,000 in funding has been brought to the Center through outside donors and 5,000 hours have been volunteered to the Center through 500 volunteer events organized by Community Center staff. In addition, we have facilitated over 20 unique community partnerships and collaborations while increasing the capacity of existing partners. For example, since becoming a partner two years ago, the Boys and Girls Club was able to double its service population, delivering programs to 100 students.
Another approach is being pursued by New York City–partnerships with private industry. Recently officials from IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., and SAP joined education officials to create three new early-college high schools. Students will graduate with a high school diploma and a City University of New York associate degree in six years. By navigating students toward specific jobs in high-demand fields, these schools provide students with a distinct path into the workforce after graduation. The model for these schools is Brooklyn’s highly publicized Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-Tech partnership with IBM and the City University of New York. In addition to the traditional core subjects, students receive an education in computer science and complete two years of college work. Upon graduation, they are first in line for a job with IBM. Because early college high schools are funded by their school districts, as traditional public high schools, the cost savings to students can be significant. The competition for spots in these schools is fierce and may make or break a student’s dream of higher education and attaining an in-demand job.
Today’s educational system was created to supply jobs for an economy based on manufacturing–an outdated model. In today’s 21st century technology focused economy, we need to take more steps towards modernizing education. I believe there isn’t one right recipe–constant innovation, tough work, and collaboration from a variety of stakeholders such as educators, parents, highly committed students, legislators, community partners, the private sectors and beyond are needed to move on the path to improvement. Wheelock is pleased to be the host for two such partnerships–the Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership and RoxMAPP– and will be closely following the outcomes, challenges and learnings that result.
Jackie Jenkins-Scott is President of Wheelock College
The Advocate: Williams Freshmen Support Local Stores
In an effort to get the Williams College class of 2017 acquainted with their local surroundings, the Office of Student Life and local Spring Street merchants came together to create the Spring Street Food Fair.
As a part of Williams College First Days, nearly three hundred first-year students filled Spring Street last Thursday to take part in sampling foods from participating restaurants and visit shops. Students were given the equivalent of $12 in “Williams Bucks” to spend.
Each participating restaurant created samplings that ranged in cost from $1-3 for the students to purchase. The restaurants were then able to cash in their “Williams Bucks” for real cash. The event generated over $3,300 for the Spring Street restaurants.
Participating restaurants included Sushi Thai Garden, Spice Root, Tony’s Sombrero, Sweets and Beans, Hops and Vines, The Purple Pub, Lickety Split, Papa Charlie’s, Images Cinema Concession, Subway and Tunnel City.
Non-restaurant merchants also took part in the event. The following merchants were open and offering fun flair and discounts for students: Harts’, School for Style, Ruby Sparks, Goff’s, Where’d You Get That!?, Clips and Cutz, Nature’s Closet and Mass MoCA by Design.
The event was deemed a success for getting the freshmen onto the street and familiar with what is available so close to campus and also generating dollars for the local restaurants. It is anticipated that this will be the first of many Spring Street Food Fairs for the First Days program.
Director of Public Policy & Advocacy
Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts
AICUM is the leading voice on public policy matters relating to independent higher education in Massachusetts.
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