Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Chapter 9: Seeing All People More Clearly

April 02, 2024

While I don’t consider myself profound, I believe my lived experiences are worthy of examination. In fact, I believe it is our lived experiences that truly represent our greatest life lessons. Mine, like yours, have shaped me into the person I am today and have prepared me, to the extent such preparation is possible, to be a university president

Chapter 7: Talent Management as a Tool for Institutional Sustainability

February 06, 2024

“The species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” – Charles Darwin

Chapter 9: University Stewardship of a Healing Community

February 23, 2023

Students, faculty, and staff at our institutions bring with them a variety of experiences; some experiences add to their potential for success, others create potential barriers. It is incumbent upon all higher education leaders to do everything in their power to understand, and when possible, provide solutions that help students overcome those barriers, enhancing the potential for increased educational attainment. While many of the barriers to student retention and graduation are well documented, easily studied, and have implementable solutions, there are others that are subtler and require broad systemic solutions. One such set of barriers, created long before students arrive to our campus, are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). In the mid-to-late 1990s, Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study that demonstrated the likely impact of ACEs through adulthood. East Tennessee State University (ETSU) has taken a community-based, trauma-informed care (TIC) approach to addressing the impact of ACEs not just within our student population, but within the broader community as well.

Chapter 8: Unprecedented

February 23, 2023

Throughout the pandemic, all of us frequently invoked a single word to describe our experiences: “unprecedented.” How frequently? In 2020, The New York Times “Dealbook” called it one of the words of the year1, and this year, a quick Google search I did in writing this piece turned up 117 million hits and counting that paired “unprecedented” with COVID.

Chapter 7: We Are in This Together

February 02, 2023

A healthy campus is one link in the chain that connects communities and helps build a healthier world. Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU’s) vision for a healthy campus is one that recognizes how we are all connected and seeks to improve those connections by focusing on eight areas of impact. These eight areas represent an all-encompassing approach that supports the health of a community in every aspect.

Chapter 6: Respectfulness and Community: Preserving Legacy in a Modern Era

January 06, 2023

Moravian University’s 1742 founding places it as the sixth-oldest college in our nation. The Moravian Bishop John Amos Comenius, the Father of Modern Education, more than a century earlier inspired the school’s establishment: “Not the children of the rich or of the powerful only, but of all alike, boys and girls, both noble and ignoble, rich and poor, in all cities and towns, villages and hamlets, should be sent to school.” The Moravians sought a more equitable and just world. They, therefore, believed that one would never have an educated society without first educating women because the women are the first educators of the children. In April of 1742, Countess Benigna von Zinzendorf, with financial support from her stepmother, Anna Nitschmann, led 24 young girls on an educational journey that became the first residential school for women in North America, a journey that now has nearly a 300- year history. The Moravians then established the men’s school six months later. The two institutions existed separately until 1953, when they merged into Moravian College and became the first coeducational college in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. In 2021, Moravian College became Moravian University.

Chapter 5: Effecting change while respecting the past

December 07, 2022

Some people accuse universities of being old fashioned, of resisting change. Others, mostly alumni, expect the institution to stay frozen in time.

Chapter 4: Higher Educational Relevancy: Aligning Programs, Economic Development, and Outreach to Community Needs and Aspirations

November 14, 2022

Higher education is in crisis with decreasing public opinion on the need for a college education, increased demands for expanded services with immediate and tangible outcomes, and rising costs. Transcendent institutions are those that align academic programs, economic growth and development, and research and outreach with community needs and aspirations. This involves a sea change in the historical higher educational model, with its focus on the institution, to one where the institution adapts to the rapidly changing economic and social environment with accountability to and collaboration with students, prospective employers, and the community (Ambrose and Wankel 2020).

Chapter 3: Liberal Arts Education: A Path Towards a More Thoughtful and Caring World

October 13, 2022

"A liberal education is at the heart of a civil society, and at the heart of a liberal education is the act of teaching." - A. Bartlett Giamatti

Chapter 2: A University’s Commitment to Social Justice

September 22, 2022

For more than 125 years, Southern Connecticut State University’s mission has been defined by access, affordability, and social mobility. As with most regional publics, our student population is drawn from a variety of racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and economic backgrounds and is increasingly diverse.

Chapter 1: Educating for a Civil Society

September 06, 2022

We live in a time of high inflation, a shrinking middle class, and the widest wealth gap since the great depression. The James Webb telescope has been created to find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe. We have more technology, information, digital media, and data than ever. The pandemic has caused food insecurity rates to rise to more than 323 million people worldwide, according to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). The world is more connected via technology, and yet people seem to feel more isolated and depressed than ever. What is the role of colleges and universities in educating the next generation of leaders to ensure we have a civil society? Educating for a civil society must include mastering civil discourse and maintaining mutual respect, which will ultimately create a mindset for citizenry. 

Chapter 10: The Post-Pandemic Student Success Imperative

April 12, 2022

Like many college presidents, commencement is my favorite day on campus. This May, after more than a year of primarily virtual events, the opportunity to present diplomas to students in person reinvigorated my passion for supporting their success. As a first-generation college graduate coming from meager means, my life has been transformed by the power of education. Therefore, when each graduate walks across the stage to receive their diploma, whether on their way to a new career, graduate school, or planned service opportunity, I view their educational experience as a successful outcome.

Chapter 9: Toward a Post-Pandemic Preferred Future

March 23, 2022

How is higher education emerging from the pandemic better, stronger, and more equitable? What have we learned during this historic moment? As we emerge from the global pandemic and the intersecting public health crises that it helped to expose, our nation needs its community colleges to shape the near and distant future of our country.

Chapter 7: The Cost of Higher Education’s Pursuit of Status

February 06, 2022

I suffer from panic attacks. They typically happen in the middle of the night and are triggered by a lost sense of control. This past year has been a challenge for worriers like me. The COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and an extraordinary political season that culminated in the January 6, 2021 attack on Capitol Hill caused even the most confident, experienced, and successful among us to wonder if they could effectively lead through the chaos. Everything felt out of control. 

Chapter 4: Race in Higher Education

November 17, 2021

We are in Washington, D.C., in the year 2028. It's the 20th anniversary of the election of Barack Obama. Equality in America has finally been realized some 409 years since enslaved individuals first reached America’s shores. African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are nominated and elected to public office at percentages similar to their respective populations.

Chapter 3: Holistic Approach to Higher Education

October 20, 2021

It’s no secret that the landscape of higher education is changing rapidly. Every day, tuition-dependent private institutions are grappling with issues related to affordability, enrollment, competition, shrinking state and federal funding, student success and retention, and the looming drop in the number of high school graduates. As if this wasn’t enough, a global pandemic swept in, exacerbating existing challenges and creating unforeseen new ones.

Chapter 2: Higher Education’s Responsibility to Generate Social Mobility

September 29, 2021

The magic of social mobility is that it creates a future that students cannot fathom. That was true in my case growing up in a rural suburb of Manila, Philippines, under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. I never imagined I could become the president of not one, but two major American universities. Lived experience—both as an immigrant student and an academic administrator—inspires my recommendations on the most meaningful actions we, as university presidents, can take to set our students on an upward class trajectory. This is undeniably higher education’s most transformative outcome. 

Chapter 5: Innovation in a Time of Transition

December 07, 2020

There have been few moments as filled with transition and innovation as the spring of 2020. With limited warning, all of American higher education pivoted to respond to the global pandemic brought forth by COVID-19. In the face of a global public health and economic crisis, we found that what we value most in higher education was suddenly pathologized: no longer were we allowed to be in proximity to one another as we learned and lived together.

Chapter 7: Leveraging Our Assets: Adult Education as a Tool for Transformation

February 05, 2020

Having been engaged in K-12 and higher education leadership for over 40 years, I have personally experienced the significant changes in the higher education landscape in the past two decades in particular.

Chapter 6: Innovating to Advance Success for Students’ Diverse Needs

January 15, 2020

Alarms sound about the future of American colleges and universities as innovations proliferate to address the dynamics of how we educate, whom we educate, for what purpose, and with what value. Near universal agreement can be reached that business as usual will not serve anyone well; yet, no single solution can address the challenges we face. One size never fits all.

Chapter 8: Increase Your Leadership Impact: Curating a Culture of Belonging

March 07, 2019

Equity, diversity, and inclusive excellence are critical and complex issues facing leaders of colleges and universities.

Chapter 3: Where Have All the “College Kids” Gone? The Changing Face of the Collegiate Student Body

October 31, 2018

“College kids” is a phrase beloved by lawmakers working on higher education policy and reporters covering campus life. 

Chapter 1: Free Speech and Inclusive Learning Communities

September 05, 2018

During my lengthy academic career, the higher education sector has witnessed significant disruption and change—from violent protests over what were believed to be unjust wars, to the desegregation of Southern colleges and universities, to affirmative action challenges decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chapter 5: Staying True to Mission and History: University of Detroit Mercy's Role in the Revitalization of a Historic City and Its Communities

January 10, 2018

Nearly 20 years into the 21st century, university presidents are developing potential solutions to ensure their institutions' sustainability and viability for future decades.

Chapter 7: African American/Black Student Populations: Cutting-Edge Models for Best Practice

February 13, 2018

Hillsborough Community College (HCC), a two-year public institution with five campuses in Hillsborough County, Tampa, is one of 28 community colleges in Florida.

Chapter 4: The StepUP Program at Augsburg: Overcoming the Stigma of Addiction on a University Campus

January 05, 2017

It began nearly 20 years ago with one student, a student who went to one of his professors with a remarkable story. As he recounts it, the student told the faculty member that he was in recovery from addiction and that college was a really tough place for someone in recovery to negotiate. The faculty member responded with humility and compassion: "I don't know anything about recovery, but if I can help you succeed in college, we will go on this path together."

Chapter 5: Lessons in Leadership: How a Silent Student Protest Inculcated University Values

February 13, 2017

It was as if a blanket of snow covered the auditorium floor in the Center for Global Citizenship, where 52 years earlier, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke while visiting Saint Louis University (SLU). Nearly all were dressed in white. Some wore hijabs. They sat quietly in 11 rows of 25 folding chairs, waiting.

Chapter 6: The Inclusive Campus: Leading from Within

March 06, 2017

A salient influence during my time at Drew University has been the crescendo-reaching national conversation on race and inclusion. Campuses are engaging in conversations about race, ethnicity, discrimination, religious intolerance, LGBTQ acceptance and rights, and sanctuary.

Chapter 10: Pathways to Success: Easing the Transition to Four-Year Universities with Comprehensive Guidance and Institutional Support

May 08, 2017

About 80 percent of students entering two-year institutions say they aim to ultimately complete a four-year degree. But only 14 percent of those students attain their goal within six years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.