University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman had a column in Inside Higher Ed on September 16, 2016 on the subject of “the many elements beyond financial aid that are needed to help underrepresented students.”
There is a common expression — “just throw money at the problem” and it will be fixed. But providing adequate financial support plays only a small part in supporting college students from particular sectors — underrepresented minorities, those who are first in their families to attend college and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds — to successfully complete an undergraduate degree.
For such students to succeed, universities need to make a consistent and sustainable institutional commitment toward that goal. They must examine their internal organizational structures and processes to determine those that may need to be rethought or reworked. Senior administrators as well as faculty and staff members should develop what the University of Southern California’s Center for Urban Education calls “equity-mindedness.” That broad institutional approach accepts responsibility and accountability for student success, as opposed to viewing any student challenges through a lens of student deficiency, ill preparedness, or “the student’s fault.” Read more
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