Education
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: The Role of HBCUs in the United States
    Play
    Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, leads a conversation on the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I am Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Tony Allen with us today to talk about the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. Dr. Allen is president of Delaware State University. Previously, he served as the university’s executive vice president and provost. In 2021, Dr. Allen was appointed by President Biden to chair the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. And he also served as CEO of Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee. Prior to his time at Delaware State University, he worked at the Bank of America for thirteen years, where he developed and led the Corporate Reputation Group. And he is the founding president of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, co-founder of Public Allies Delaware, and chair emeritus of the National Urban Fellows. So, Tony, thank you very much for being with us today. I want to just turn it over to you to talk about the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in higher education in the United States historically and today. ALLEN: Thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be with all of you, certainly with the Council on Foreign Relations. I just want to start—personally, I am a first-generation college student, and my mother was a teenage mom and my father never finished the eleventh grade. So being able to be in this role means a lot to me from a proximity standpoint, and really being able to guide one of the nation’s leading HBCUs is really the professional dream of my life. So I take this very personally, in addition to trying to run a great institution. With respect to Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country, we are almost at 175 years in existence. I don’t think I need to tell anybody on the phone that we were started for some very specific reasons as it related to higher education access for African American students, but we have really become a powerhouse, a force not only in the African American community but in the broader citizenry at large. There are only 3 percent of Historically Black—excuse me, there are three thousand colleges and universities in the country; only 3 percent are historically Black colleges. Only 3 percent. But even today, we still produce 20 percent of all Black graduates. So just think about that for a moment, the power of our return on investment across many, many disciplines. You may have heard these numbers, but 80 percent of Black judges and lawyers start out in an HBCU. More than 50 percent of all Black doctors started at an HBCU. Forty percent of Black congressmen today started at an HBCU. And the number-one driver for lower-income African American people to get into the American middle class today is still their attendance at a Historically Black College or University. So the real power and frame of our institutions are significant, but our voices over the years have been quieter. We don’t have the same kinds of profile. A lot of it has to do with the fact that many of us are still low-resource institutions, even though we’re providing great value to the students that come here. Since the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many others during that summer of 2020, we’ve actually seen our profile grow significantly. We’ve tried to take advantage of that to tell the HBCU story in a much richer way than we had been able to do in the past, and we think that’s had some significant merit. I can tell you when we think about COVID-19 we say that one pandemic—COVID-19 itself—exposed another, which is continuing: race relations in America. And when I thought about it this time around—we’ve had these kinds of experiences as it relates to public safety, interaction with police for a long, long time here—but this felt like the first time that so many folks were watching the same thing. So regardless of where you come from or what you look like, you could not turn your eyes away from some of the tragic incidents we saw in that summer. And I think that has people thinking in a much more deliberate and different way. Couple that with what we’ve seen with respect to the elections that ensued, the political unrest that came after that, we find ourselves in a place where Historically Black Colleges and Universities are becoming a real sign—true sign of opportunity for folks, again regardless of what you look like or where you come from, that are otherwise underserved or locked out of the education system. There are 101 of them. Some of you will know what I’d say are the usual suspects: the Howard Universities of the world, the Morehouse, the Spelman, North Carolina A&T, FAMU. But there are 101 across the country. We spend our time not only providing the type of quality education that our students deserve, but also being engines of social justice and change, and research for that matter. So our ability to look through a lens with respect to research, regardless of discipline, is unique in the space because we’re able to come from a place where we are trying to understand the forces and phenomena of the world, and often how those forces and phenomena disproportionately affect people who don’t have as much as others. We take great pride in that as well. I also would like to talk a little bit about the communities we find ourselves in. You usually find an HBCU adjacent to or very much in a low-resource community. What that means for that community is that they are an economic engine for that community. The 101 HBCUs at last look contributed more than $14 billion collectively to the gross domestic product in the country. So we’re not just educational institutions, but real forces of economic opportunity and growth as well. I like to say I think we are the best return on value in the higher-education landscape because of who we prepare. So many of our students are first-generation college students like me. More than three-quarters of them are Pell Grant-eligible, which I think you know is a low-income standard. And we are changing the trajectory of their lives and their family’s lives. So being able to spend time thinking through what that means not only as it relates to opening economic doors of opportunity for them, but also giving them this notion that it’s not simply enough to graduate, get a great job; you also have to give back as you’ve been given, too, which is a theme I’d say across the HBCU landscape. I think it’s why you find so many African American leaders in this country across disciplines, as I mentioned, having gotten their start at an HBCU, because there is this ethic of service that really threads the needle across the HBCU landscape. Having said that, you heard my role as chair of the Board of Advisors for the president on HBCUs. That board has been around since 1976, really started under President Carter. And there has been an executive order issued each year to make sure that the White House initiative on HBCUs gets its attention and the board helps serve a role of guidance and oversight. Let me give you a sense of the four priorities we are just beginning to outline in that role. As you know, we just named the full council about two weeks ago, and we are thinking about four things that we really want to focus on. First is infrastructure. At HBCUs there’s a systemic disparity between HBCUs and other similarly situated universities who are predominantly white. That has a lot to do with the fact that we were not always able to, and in some cases still don’t, get equitable funding for our living and learning spaces. So while we’re able to provide the quality education, we want the environment to look like the quality education that our students are receiving. That’s particularly important for any number of reasons, most notably our ability to attract and retain our students over the long term as well as some faculty and staff when you think about the learning spaces as it relates to laboratory and research. Being able to have first-class operations there really sends a message about our—how serious we are about creating the right environment. Second is the opportunity for us to access more partnerships and, quite frankly, dollars from the federal government by really being able to engage in a thoughtful way with those institutions. Many of those institutions, as you know, provide research grants and other support to many institutions—higher-education institutions throughout the country. We want to make sure that we’re getting our fair share of that as well. Some of you probably know that there are three research classifications put out by Carnegie: research 1, research 2, and research 3. Research 1 is the highest, and there are no HBCUs that have cracked that threshold of research 1. That’s important, as well. As I said, lots of the research we do crosses any number of disciplines, but when you’re thinking about building capacity for the longer term you do want to have a few, I would say, comprehensive research 1 HBCUs. That’s a bit priority, I know, for the president, and certainly has been and will be for the council. And it’s a growing movement that folks are just beginning to talk about in a real thoughtful and focused way. The third is more support for low-resource students. We’ve had some progress, actually, on that score. There have been some increases in Pell. In the president’s budget, in fact, there’s a $2,100 increase. That has a lot of significance for continuing to retain our students. I can tell you on any number of occasions the number-one factor, particularly for low-resource students, is their ability to continue to pay. And some of that is significantly reduced from a burden perspective by scholarships and the like, but oftentimes even those small dollars—things we might think of as small dollars—are really significant dollars not only to their students, but to their families. So having more opportunities for tuition support in particular is critical. And then the last one is focusing on the smaller HBCUs in our space. So, like I said, you have historically heard of the more notable HBCUs—as I said, Howard University, Morehouse, Spelman, et cetera—but there are a subset of smaller HBCUs that are delivering first-class quality education that need our attention and support. I say that to my HBCU colleagues as much as I do to anybody else. When one of us is uplifted, we all need to figure out a way to uplift everyone else. And that’s important now more than ever because there’s been such an attention on the HBCU community. So I’ve probably talked too much, but—(laughs)—just as an opening salvo just wanted to give you a sense of the scale, the importance, and the ongoing impact of the HBCU community. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Tony. That was really terrific. We’re going to go now to all of you for questions and comments. (Gives queuing instructions.) So I’m going to go first to Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome. Q: Thank you very much. HBCUs are very important. I’m from Brooklyn College. I teach political science. But you know, and I think they punch way above their weight, but there’s a persistent underfunding of HBCUs. So what will it take for these institutions to be funded well enough so that they can do the good job that they are doing with less stress and more excellence? ALLEN: Great question. Two responses. First, under the Biden administration, since he took office, HBCUs have received about $5.8 billion in additional incremental support. A lot has to do with COVID for sure. And we, like most colleges and universities, were significantly impacted from a revenue standpoint with respect to COVID. But that historic funding is an important first step. I always say it’s a first step, it’s not the only step, because I think to your question relative to sustainability of our institutions it is critical that we have deeper, more significant, and sustained partnerships, I’d say particularly with the federal government. As I said, there are lots of opportunities for us to do good work there. We’ve made some good progress at Delaware State with the USDA, who has increased their funding significantly this year and in years prior. We just completed a memorandum of understanding with USAID last fall and we expect that to have some meritorious results too. We all have relationships with the likes of NIH and NSF, but not—certainly not enough. So really having a sustained effort that folks can goal against. So if you are in a specific department relative to your engagement with HBCUs, we are making that a priority. The president has already done that himself; just our responsibility to make sure that folks are following through. So that’s first order of business. Second, there are some unique partnerships that have emerged, again, in the wake of summer 2020. So there have been a significant onslaught of support for HBCUs. But what I have tried to do, at least from a Delaware State perspective, is create unique opportunities for that funding to not be one time. Case in point, we’ve gotten a couple million dollars from two major banks in the country. And instead of simply being able to use that for ongoing scholarship support or other needs that we have at the university, we built a career pathways program that is really allowing us to access a number of employers who want to engage with HBCUs but just don’t know how. And that is creating a new pipeline. Not only is it going to help us with respect to placing our students, we actually think it’s a significant benefit to the companies themselves in both the cases. And one was Bank of America and one was JPMorgan Chase. Their funding has actually been catalytic in encouraging more corporate partners to take a look at HBCUs. And we think that is really, really important. FASKIANOS: Great. Next, written question from Robert Ford, who’s retired from Southern University, Dillard, FVSU and Texas Southern University. And he went to Southern University Baton Rouge. He didn’t hear anything about international development, especially Africa. Does your university have an international footprint? And does the HBCU White House initiative have an international program initiative? What progress can be cited? ALLEN: Yeah, before I answer that question, I just want to shoutout every HBCU you mentioned. They’re all terrific—Southern, Dillard, I think you said Fort Valley State, and Texas Southern University. Incredible HBCUs in their own way. With respect to my institution here at Delaware State, we actually have a Center for Global Africa. We started that Center four years ago now, run by a professor named Ezrah Aharone. And the idea is for us to push much of our curriculum and study to not only the African continent, but the African diaspora. So we see there are lots of opportunities for that to emerge. We’ve created some significant partnerships with the African Union and the like on that score. And I can tell you there are—I’m just mentioning the institutions that we’re more close to, but there are a number of HBCUs that are doing similar situations on the continent and in the diaspora. Most notably is Morgan State University led by President David Wilson. And I think, as we continue to gain profile and momentum, I think you’ll see us internationally across the world in a much more clear and concerted effort. At Delaware State we actually have been on mainland China for seven years, having exported three programs there. One in accounting, one in physics, and one in sports management. And the interesting thing about that, in each of those programs, three different universities, 98 percent of those students are first-generation college students. So we have stayed true to our mission as we’ve gone international. We have some similar programs in Jamaica and Costa Rica as well. So we’re building capacity to make sure that we can take the HBCU experience across the continent. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Susan King, who has raised her hand. Q: Let me just ask you—I’m at UNC, so I have a great interest in Howard and the new center at Howard that Nikole Hannah-Jones is doing, partly because she’s not coming with us. How will that benefit all the HBCUs, do you think? ALLEN: That’s so funny. Her team has reached out to me, I think it was just last week, to talk about the Center for Journalism and how she wants to extend opportunities for aspiring Black journalists in particular at HBCUs, but also wants to help tell the HBCU story in a much more comprehensive way. So I can’t wait to spend time with her, and hopefully leverage her tremendous talent in doing that. I have said on many occasions, HBCUs have a great story, but we do not have enough storytellers. So being able to demystify what it has been that has really built a leadership talent pipeline, and the economic opportunity pipeline, for so many low-resource folks who are now leaders in our country, is a story that deserves its time in the sun. And we as presidents, my colleagues and I, have to be much more deliberate about that in our ongoing work. I’m hoping that the board of advisors and things like Professor Jones’ Center, gives us the kind of elevation we need so we can have other partners, like the Council on Foreign Relations, help us sustain that moment where we find ourselves. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. And I’m going to take the prerogative of the moderator. I mean, we here at CFR are very much committed to diversity and looking at the pipeline for—into the foreign policy track. So what are the things that you’re doing, that HBCUs are doing? And what could we be doing at CFR to help the next generation of leaders, graduates from HBCUs, get into diplomacy and State Department and just into this field? ALLEN: So, great, thank you for making that point. Here’s what I would say—and this is not to you, but just to the broader community. First job is to show up. I have been—particularly in the corporate side, I find myself in a lot of corporate circles where CEOs are always saying, hey, we wish we could find more Black talent. We just can’t find them. And normally what I say is, you’re not looking hard enough. As I said, we’re producing over three hundred thousand Black graduates every year. And that’s just HBCUs. I haven’t talked about historically Black Greek letter fraternities and sororities. I have not talked about special associations that find themselves in respective disciplines. We are out here. And in the case of the Council in particular, and my students don’t often think first about international development or diplomacy. And the way to get to have that sense is to be in conversation, regular conversations, with organizations like yours. A great example is we were able to bring the director of USAID, as I said to sign the MOU last fall. She talked about, first of all the largess of that institution, the number of critical opportunities that she would have across the organization. And you could see, our students just lit up because they didn’t know. That wasn’t their—weren’t their first thoughts. The other thing I’d say is the more we’ve been doing this more and more, particularly at Delaware State but at HBCUs across the country, are creating more international opportunities. Remember, because we have so many first-generation college students, oftentimes that means those students are first-generation in many things. So they might not have gotten on a plane, might not have had the same dinner conversations that more well-suited families had when they were sitting down for dinner, and that sort of thing. So it behooves us to make sure that we come to them, and we come to them early. The pipeline program that I talked about with you effectively says: If you want to be with Delaware State over the long term, don’t show up in our—in a student’s rising junior or rising senior year, looking for the best in class in our institution. Show up for the moment they come to the institution. So we’re creating a new kind of mentor network and opportunity so those students can learn what’s available to them, the institutions themselves can get a sense of the quality of our students, and they can have the kind of conversations they might not have their first day on the internship or their first day on the job, having not been in that environment or not been connected to that environment previously. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And there’s a nice note from Laurette Foster at Prairie View A&M University. So she’s at the HBCU Faculty Network. Thank you for your institution coming on board with the HBCU Faculty Development Network. And she says, we’re one of their great supporters. And that’s because of Laurette. So we usually go out to their annual conference in October to—in the fall, to present on CFR resources. And, we are looking for more opportunities like that with different networks to sort of connect, and talk, and sort of make connections so that we can start feeding that pipeline. I’m going to go next to Jill Humphries, who’s raised her hand. You can unmute yourself. Thank you. Q: Hello. Thank you. First of all, I want to say, both of my questions—primary questions were asked—(laughs)—about the institutional pipeline for diplomacy and then also the way in which HBCUs are particularly going to be involved in national development. But so I’ll ask this question. I’ve been an education exchange professor several times in several African countries. And when I’ve interfaced with the embassies there, and they talk about opportunities for, in this particular context, African students coming to study in the U.S., and they give their presentations, they’ve always left off HBCUs. And I’ve had to, in fact, remind them—even though I’m teaching at University of Toledo in the African Studies Department. So I am actually interesting in the way in which you’ve, at an institutional level, addressed this issue of whether it’s just benign oversight of when the public affairs officers at our embassies, wherever they are in the world, talk about exchange—educational exchange opportunities—there are so many under the ECA, Department of State’s ECA Bureau—that they include HBCUs. And then the other part of that is, how do you see the particular way in which HBCUs or, more specifically Black thought—Black political thought—may in fact influence our foreign affairs and diplomacy approach, particularly in Africa. Is there a unique, particular perspective that we bring, as African American or Black diaspora, in these arenas? ALLEN: Well, the short answer is, yes. (Laughs.) To your last question. And I don’t limit that to products of HBCUs, necessarily, but I do think Black political thought generally speaking across the globe is important contextually for a couple of reason. One, the way in which Black Americans, in particular, have had to navigate the landscape here now for hundreds of years is an important lesson in perseverance, context, the framework of what I’d say classism, certainly sometimes racism is systemic in its effort, as well as sexism, which I think shows up particularly for Black women regularly as well. The second part about that is as these things are happening across the world, I think our position relative to being able to influence is critical. This is an American point I’m going to make, but just remember—and this is no commercial for the president—but at the time that President Biden was running and the campaign was suffering mightily, there was a Black man in South Carolina, proud HBCU grad, Congressman Jim Clyburn who said: I know Joe Biden, and Joe Biden knows us. And it changed the state of his election. Talks significantly about our power bloc when we operationalize that. We don’t always do that in the American context, but when we do it’s clear and compelling. And I think I won’t go over the events that happened as a result of that. The other point, I think your first question was just about how folks engage with HBCUs more clearly in the international space. It does really come down to two things. One, we think HBCU leaders like myself have to be much more concerted and thoughtful about where we see the opportunities. When you’re in a low-resource institution, a number of things come up that can take you away from building capacity for your institution. So you have to be deliberate about it. It’s one of the reasons I think the advisory board has had many iterations but this, in particular because of the moment, I think will put us in some positions that we have not seen before. You may know that—I believe it’s in every federal department now—but the president is making it a point to have racial equity as a priority, and a person that’s in charge of that. So I think you’re going to see more opportunities there. I have not talked to as many federal government officials ever in my career as I have during this administration, because there’s a clear priority on it. But that is our job, to make sure that we’re telling that story, as I’ve said before. Then I think the unique programs, particularly as it relates to international exchange, we talk a lot about students. I would make sure that we spend equal time trying to export our intellectual capital in our faculty too. They need the opportunities themselves. Many times have the expertise and more often than not, in my case, have unique partnerships in country because they’re—sometimes they’re from a set country. So being able to give them that support I think will have significant long-term results. But we have to be concerted in how we position all of it. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Ambassador June Carter Perry, formerly of the State Department, retired, and former diplomat in residence at Howard University, and currently a board member at American Diplomacy Publishers in Chapel Hill. What is your relationship with national universities’ African American programs, such as the one at Princeton directed by Dr. Eddie Glaude? ALLEN: I don’t have direct contact with Dr. Glaude. I’m aware of his work, but I don’t have direct contact there. I can tell you, and this could be a conversation for us, we have not been as concerted in developing those partnerships with national universities that have African American programs. Some of it has just to do with making sure that we’re elevating our voice in the conversation. And a lot of it is just historic stuff, I’d say. (Laughs.) And I know that’s not an academic word, but I’d say historic stuff between larger predominantly white institutions (PWIs) and HBCUs, particularly those who are in near proximity one to another. Sometimes limits our ability to be more thoughtful about those kinds of partnerships and collaboration. That’s no excuse. I just think that’s the reality. What we do—how we do partner, particularly in the STEM disciplines, I think is more—is becoming more and more significant. For the first time, we got a—I think it’s a $10 million grant several years ago in partnership with the PWI up the street from us, University of Delaware, and it was the first time we were the lead partner in the grant. And that sends a lot of messages to my faculty and the importance of what they can do, and how they can lead really big grants. I think you’re beginning to see some of those partnerships emerge too across the landscape. So doing more on that score in disciplines that are not specific to African American programs I think is important. And certainly, really engaging thoughtfully with those institutions who are serious about the African American studies discipline is certainly important to us, but not near what we should be doing in this space. FASKIANOS: Thanks, Tony. You referenced this a bit in your remarks, but can you talk about how the pandemic affected HBCUs, and how you’re coming out of it? ALLEN: Yeah. I was reluctant to tell this story because I feel like I’ve told it a hundred times, but like other universities we sent our kids home in the March timeframe—all but about two hundred, because those two hundred were otherwise homeless without Delaware State University, literally. We knew that was, one, a proxy for some of the students we actually had sent home who were from very vulnerable situations, but we knew we had to keep at least those two hundred. That was significant for a couple of reasons. And this before any funding came our way—CARES Act, American Rescue Plan. We just used our own coffers to make sure that they were fed, that they were not getting anything, with respect to academic continuity that that was progressing nicely. In some cases we were sending money to them for them to send home. What it was, was an opportunity for us to say—and we knew it deep down, but it was clear—that our students are coming to these institutions not just for the quote/unquote “college experience.” They’re trying to change their—largely, the economic trajectory for themselves, their families, and their communities. And it’s not easy. So our ability to get our students back on campus was the first order of business, and to do that quickly. We were able to develop a program with a place called Testing for America, which helped us develop our protocol, paid for all our tests for about two years, and allowed us to bring our students back right at the fall of 2020, and keep them safe throughout that time. So we’re testing faculty, staff, and students three times a week, at that time. We were doing—aggressively, had really strong protocols, and had a less than 1 percent positivity rate on our campus, which we take great pride—took great pride in then, and take great pride in now. What I’d say for the broader HBCU community, we were fortunate. Some of my other colleagues weren’t as fortunate relative to being able to bring their students back quickly. A lot hangs on the fact that we don’t have major endowments. The resources, let’s say, like I said before, are often low as compared to our predominantly white peers. So it is significant. And the problem is that if you’re not able to keep the academic continuity for many of my students, they will not come back. And we just couldn’t accept that. What I can say though is many in the HBCU community did pretty well based on these notions—that they knew who their students were, that they knew they were going to have to deliver something extra that was not foreign to them—sort of classic wraparound services that we already are known for, but to up that game wherever they found themselves, I think, was important for our own students’ survival. And I think what you’ve seen, you’ve seen this generally at HBCU communities, certainly in Delaware State, our retention rates increased. Our graduation rates were up. And equally important, because of the summer of 2020, in many cases in the world HBCU’s enrollment has gone up, and students have taken a look at HBCUs, what that means for sort of their own cultural identity, and how they want to contribute to the world. And they’re choosing us in a much different way than they had been even five, ten years ago. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go to Jennifer Brinkerhoff. She doesn’t really have a question, but you might want to—if you want to just talk a little bit about your book. Q: Yes. I’m not sure, can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. ALLEN: Yes. Q: Awesome. Thank you so much. So we would be very pleased to engage with folks from HBCUs around a new book that I had the privilege of working on with Aaron Williams and Taylor Jack. Aaron Williams is retired USAID and was a sector leader in international affairs in the nonprofit sector of government and the private sector. And this was his legacy upon retirement, was to engage his peers, his colleagues, all of the giants who went before, to be able to collect advice and guideposts to the next generation of young Black leaders who were interested in international affairs. So we would love to share that material with you, and with support from the Hewlett Foundation we are able to engage in some related events and provide copies of the book. So I can put my email address in the chat, but we’re very much interested in the intergenerational dialogue that this book represents, because we really believe that this is what the next generation needs, is to learn from those of you who went before and have succeeded, and know better than anybody else what the challenges are and how best to navigate them. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this important work, and I hope that we can partner together. Thank you. ALLEN: Hey, Jen, let me—let me just say quickly, I saw this question earlier. I already taped it—I mean, copied it and emailed it to myself before you—(laughs)—before you talked. So I do want to talk to you, one. And then there is our chair of political science, economic development and international affairs, Dr. Donna Patterson, who will be a great point of contact for you. So please put your email in the chat and I’ll send you a note. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And if we could be sure we send it—and Jennifer you’re at George Washington University, correct? Q: Yes, I am at GW, yeah. FASKIANOS: Great. And Pearl Robinson of Tufts has put in the chat, what’s the title of the book? And the title of the book is The Young Black Leader’s Guide to a Successful Career in International Affairs. It’s in the Q&A, so you can get the link there. All right. So if others have questions, please raise your hand. I’m going to call upon President Verret to ask a question. I’m putting him on the spot, but. Q: Thanks for putting me on the spot. I guess the question that I would ask is also about the Americans—the nation's talent needed—from a national security perspective, also from an economic perspective, the talent that is needed to actually drive the American economy, drive America’s leadership position. And as the United States is becoming essentially majority-minority, can the United States—how important is it that we develop the talent that is in our underrepresented populations in order to sustain America’s leadership? ALLEN: Yeah. Well, Mr. President, I’m sure you know the answer to that question. (Laughs.) It’s critical. It’s absolutely critical. And like I said—as you all know, we find ourselves looking at work and the future of work in a much different way than I imagine any of us thought possible at this pace that we’re moving. Effectively, it’s to say that we are training students for jobs that have not yet been invented. So how we do that relative to their ability to analyze critically, write in a way that not only is clear but is compelling with respect to how they tell stories, be creative in the ways in which they want to engage in the world, and how they think about themselves as citizens. It couldn’t be more important. And I’d say, particularly in the African American communities and other communities of color, it’s critical relative to the future of those communities. As I said—and you know this—that the contributions of HBCUs, just as one example from an economic development standpoint, are substantive, but they represent a proxy for much broader contribution from communities of color throughout this country. And, we’ve seen some symbols just recently. If you look at the president’s Cabinet, the most diverse cabinet in the history of the United States. Obviously, I know many of you probably saw the hearings for soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson—and you saw the good and bad of that and what that might portend for our own civility in this country. So I get up every day thinking about the fact that I have a lot of students whose life circumstances are changing because of Delaware State, and in so doing—at least in part—in so doing they have to be a part of the solution for really salvaging our democracy. So that is not just your new engineer or your new political scientist or your new accountant or banker, you have to be really apart of this process if we want to get it right. So I appreciate the question, and I know you all know just how important it is not only in the American context, but around the globe. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m just going to take another question from Xavier University of Louisiana. We just heard from the president, but now from Pamela Waldron-Moore, who’s on the political science and international relations faculty. Q: I’ve taken my role of internationalizing our students very seriously. Many of my department’s graduates have gone on to be Foreign Service Officers thanks to the Rangel and Pickering Fellowships made available to them. Today many have lost interest in international service seeing their service and diplomacy more as tokens than as valued for their intellectual capital. Fewer are interested in pursuing international diplomacy. What encouragement can you give international faculty who recognize the importance of Black students representing the Black story? ALLEN: Well, first of all, it’s a great question, and international development is not the only space where folks check a box on the number of students of color they might have in a program. And that’s problematic for all the reasons you outlined. Some of the things we’re doing, again with our Career Pathways programming, is suggesting that the institutions that we’re working with think of doing business with us in cohorts. So it’s not just the one person that got the one opportunity, and then nothing else happens. But you build capacity for four or five, eight or ten students to get a similar situated opportunity, where they can lean on each other but also see faces that look like them and can be encouraging in that way. That’s one. Second is the institutions themselves have to really look at their own pipelines for senior leadership, which is really challenging. So it’s not just that you can find the young Black or brown—the new young Black or brown talent out there, but does your organization look like the community you serve up and down that organization? And that’s a little bit of—has been my struggle in trying to provide some advice and counsel to institutional leaders who are really serious about this business because it does take some bold leadership—looking in places you had not looked before, opening doors you might not have otherwise seen, and then recognizing that if you do that, your pipeline will grow as a result because those students will see the institution as serious about the issue. So I would say don’t give up. I would say press harder. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So next question from Dr. Todd Barry, professor at Hudson County Community College. How far north geographically do HBCUs go? And he hails from Connecticut. ALLEN: (Laughs.) I’m only laughing because I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that question before. But I’m pretty North, actually. Most of the HBCUs are in the Southeast—not all of them, but most of them. The northern most, I guess, would be Cheyney University, the first one. There are two in Pennsylvania—Cheyney University and Lincoln. Lincoln is basically the second—though they will fight over that reputation. (Laughs.) And they are about 20 minutes from each other, and then I am about an hour and ten (minutes) from them, so the northern most are really Cheyney and Lincoln. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next? Any other questions? I want to just say that next week we are hosting an in-person workshop in New York for college and university professors on the 28th and 29th of April, and we have several professors from HBCUs, which we’re really excited about. But if you want to send any more our way—(laughs)—we would welcome it. The other thing that we do every year is we host a Conference on Diversity in International Affairs. So it’s a collaboration that CFR does with the Global Access Pipeline and International Career Advancement Program, and the dates of that are May 20—let’s see, I think 24 and 25. And we have students come for that, and it’s great professional development. So hopefully if those of you on the call want your students to come—sorry, May 25 and 26—I was off by a day—if any of you want your students to come, we would love to have them. That takes place in D.C. OK. So I’m just looking for any other questions? The other thing I would love for you to talk a little bit—you mentioned your emphasis now on partnerships with government and getting more support from the federal government, but your background, you also had a corporate background. ALLEN: Mm-hmm. FASKIANOS: So how have you in your position—how have HBCUs traditionally leveraged corporate and industry partnerships to build awareness and foster engagement? And what are you specifically doing given your background in that space, thirteen years that you’ve spent? ALLEN: That’s actually—I shouldn’t say it this way, but that has not been as challenging. I think the corporate community, and recently in particular, they’ve showed up in a pretty thoughtful way on balance, on balance, d I don’t just mean in Delaware State, but I think at institutions across the country. The one caveat to that is that fourth priority I mentioned, which is sometimes our smaller HBCUs are left out of that equation because folks don’t know the whole story—that there are 101 of them, that they cut across any number of disciplines, that they’re all doing really high-quality work. So being able to, as I said, build the profile of HBCUs is important. With respect to what we’ve been able to do, we’ve had some significant really record-breaking fundraising over the last two years with the corporate community, and the idea has cut across a number of opportunities for us. One is that catalytic engine I just mentioned, without JPMorgan Chase or Bank of America we wouldn’t have forty other corporate partners who really want to be doing business with us in a much different way than they have in the past. And then the emerging opportunities, there’s an organization called Propel [Center] out of Atlanta. If you don’t know that one, you should. It’s largely funded by a Southern Company and Apple, and it’s all a part of their racial, equity and inclusion efforts. And the idea is that you would create a virtual HBCU space for all HBCUs to have their students engage across a number of core disciplines. For us, we’re spending a lot of time being at Beacon School for Agricultural Technology. For others, it’s the arts, et cetera, et cetera. And it’s a way for the HBCU students to connect with each other across these emerging disciplines and older disciplines; and also, for the companies to connect with these students as well and give them some practical experience relative to what’s happening in the new workspace, what the expectation is in those workspaces, what’s coming down the pike that many of us hadn’t seen before. So it is a unique opportunity because more businesses are coming into that space. They’re finding out about HBCUs in a much different way, and that is creating obviously new opportunities for the students themselves, but, as I said, equally important for the companies who are serious about their business of diversity, equity, and inclusion. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. I’ll just note Ambassador Perry has a comment in the Q&A box about—as a co-drafter of the Rangel program and enabling students to enter the Pickering program, there are opportunities at the State Department that offer paid internships so that’s important to mention. So now I’m going to go to Harold Schmitz, a senior scholar at the University of California Davis, who has raised his hand. Q: Hi. Yeah, it’s Harold Schmitz. And thanks for this. So I’m actually serving on a Blue Ribbon Panel at the National Academy of Sciences, and so we’re looking at it from a land grants perspective, you know, across 1862-1890 and 1990s—thinking specifically about food and agriculture research and how to enhance collaboration between the whole land-grant enterprise as opposed to the traditional sort of 1862s. And so I’d really appreciate hearing your views on how would you see the land-grant enterprise from your perspective operating at a much higher and more collaborative sort of speed and nature than it currently is? ALLEN: It’s an interesting question, Harold. I’m glad you asked it. And a couple of observations. For one, I serve on the Council of 1890s, and for the room, there are about eighteen HBCUs that are 1890 land-grant institutions. And the idea is that we would spend and build deeper relationships with some of our 1860 PWI counterparts, but also among each other. I think the one thing that we as HBCUs, generally in 1890s in particular, can do a bit more clearly is find those unique opportunities in our own space and build capacity together. I did mention Cheyney and Lincoln, and I saw that one of our colleagues corrected me. There absolutely are two great HBCUs in Ohio in Central and Wilberforce as well. But what—we do it from time to time, but what we don’t do often enough is find a way to really build collaborative, comprehensive research projects across our spaces, and proposals, and then present them as unique opportunities. We usually—this is unfortunate, but it is a fact—go to the larger PWIs who have bigger capacity, more staff, more opportunity, and then when we do that, we become a sub to that project, which nothing wrong with being a sub but if you’re always a sub then you’re not going to get the kind of capacity to really build your own research protocol and framework. So we’re trying to do a better job of that as we move forward. And then, as I said, because of the profile that we have received here recently, many more opportunities are coming our way, and what I mean by that is many more conversations. We’ll see if those conversations turn into substantive research dollars and the like, but we are having many more conversations with the right people around how we are able—how we can build support and capacity for our own research interests. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. Any other questions? We’re coming to the end of our time, so. There are a lot of, sort of, compliments in the Q&A box saying that this has been a very inspiring discussion. Thank you for your important work. And so just noting that. In our final minutes, Tony, it would be great if you could talk about, what are—you mentioned the four areas that you’re going to focus on with President Biden, but what do you want to—what would you say to all of us to be doing in our communities to help with these efforts? ALLEN: Well, just put HBCUs aside for a second. The story of the country is a story of struggle, right? And that’s certainly true in the African American context, but I think that’s true overall. And our ability to be a more thoughtful, civil society that really lifts all boats is the final—in my view, is the final frontier for the country and I think an opportunity for the world if we get it right. So, oftentimes I say it’s a little less difficult for you to find diverse talent pipelines if your proximity is one that has diverse pipelines in it, which is to say, who do you go to church with, who do you eat dinner with? Who do your friends talk to? Those are the opportunities that I’ve had in my life kind of in the reverse, right, that has helped me—helped open doors for me, helped me get connected in the right ways, helped me open doors for other people. But if we are living largely separate, distinct, homogenous lives based on our race, ethnicity, or gender, it’s going to be a much difficult and really more—you’d have to have a much more concerted effort to break the barriers that are largely artificial in our context. They really are largely artificial when you think about them. They have been cemented by, sort of, these systemic concerns, but they are largely artificial. And this—having an opportunity like this in front of the Council I think is actually a pretty important part of the process because you’re going to expose yourself in a way that you might not have thought of. Quite frankly, it’s one of the reasons I said yes to doing this because I’m exposing myself to something I might not have—just might not have crossed my mind in my business. Now I know just why important it is. So I would just have you think about proximity in your own lives, as I certainly do, and where you see the opportunity to make a real difference, do it and do it boldly. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you, and well—this has been really terrific opportunity for us, too, to have this exchange with you. Thank you for your leadership. If nobody else has a question, we will close a couple minutes early because I know that everybody is busy, and we really appreciate you taking the time from your busy schedule to do this. So thank you for that. And thanks to everybody for their comments. We can circulate links after this to the transcript of video as well as some of the resources that have been mentioned. Again, I’m just going to say, if you have a professor that you want to send next week to our College and University Educators Workshop, reach out to me—(laughs)—and of course, we will be sending out information about our diversity conference because this is extremely important to us. We also have paid internships at CFR, which is extremely helpful and important as we look to diversify. So thank you, again, Dr. Allen. Appreciate it. ALLEN: Thank you. FASKIANOS: And to all of you, please continue follow us at @CFR_academic on Twitter, visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com and ThinkGlobalHealth.org. I know this is a busy time for all of you with finals, graduation, and everything else. So good luck with the rest of the semester, and we look forward to your continued participation. ALLEN: Take care. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: The Role of Joint Venture Universities in China
    Play
    Denis F. Simon, senior adviser to the president for China affairs and professor of the practice at Duke University, leads a conversation on the role of joint venture universities in China.   FASKIANOS: Thank you and welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I am Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic, if you would like to share it with your colleagues. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Denis Simon with us to talk about the role of joint venture universities in China. Dr. Simon is senior advisor to the president for China affairs and professor of the practice at Duke University. From 2015 to 2020, he served as executive vice chancellor at Duke Kunshan University in China. He has more than four decades of experience studying business, competition, innovation, and technology strategy in China, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He served as senior advisor on China and global affairs at Arizona State University, vice provost for international affairs at the University of Oregon, and professor of international affairs at Penn State University. He has extensive leadership experience in management consulting and is the author of several books. Dr. Simon, thanks very much for being with us today. I thought we could begin by having you give us an overview of joint venture universities in China. What has the last two years in U.S.-Sino relations and COVID-19 meant for joint venture universities and their long-term goals? SIMON: Great. Well, thank you, Irina. I really am happy your team was able to arrange this. And I can’t think of a more important subject right now. The president of Duke University, Vincent Price, has called our joint venture a beacon of light in the midst of the turbulence in U.S.-China relations. And so, this is a rather appropriate time for us to take stock at where this venture is and where it may be going. So let me just give an overview, talk a little bit about what joint ventures are, how they operate, and some of the challenges of operating them, and some of the effects of the last, as you said, two years, with the tensions growing in U.S.-China relations. Well, I think the first thing to recognize is that while there are over two thousand joint venture projects and initiatives involving foreign schools and universities, there are really only ten joint venture universities. These are campuses authorized to give two degrees—a Chinese degree and a foreign degree. The last one that was approved is Julliard, from the United States. So there are four U.S. joint ventures, two from the U.K., one from Russia, one from Israel involving the Technion, and the rest from Hong Kong. And so they’re not growing by leaps and bounds. Everyone is taking stock of how they are working. The one from Duke is a liberal arts or a research-oriented university, and I think the same can be said for NYU Shanghai also in the same category. Joint venture universities are legal Chinese entities. This is very important. So, for example, our campus at Duke is not a branch campus. It is a legal Chinese entity. The chancellor must be a Chinese citizen, because they represent the legal authority of the university within the Chinese law, and also the Chinese education system. We are liberal arts oriented. The one involving Russia and Israel are polytechnic. They’re more for engineering. Kean University, which is the State University of New York, has a very big business-oriented program. The U.K. programs also have very big programs. So some are liberal arts, like Duke, but others are also polytechnic. So they span the gamut. And finally, these are in many cases engines for economic development. In the cities in which they occur, these universities are sort of like Stanford in Silicon Valley. They’re designed to act as a magnet to attract talent, and also to train young people, some of whom hopefully will stay in the region and act as a kind of entrepreneurial vanguard in the future as they go forward.   Now, the reality is that they’ve been driven by a number of factors common to both the Chinese side and the foreign side. One is just the whole process of campus internationalization. U.S. universities, for example, over the last five to ten years have wanted to expand their global footprint. And setting up a campus in X country, whether it’s been in the Middle East or been in China in this case, has been an important part of the statement about how they build out a global university. A second driver has been government regulation. So in China in 2003, the government set in place a series of regulations that allowed joint venture universities to be established. And I think we need to give kudos to the Ministry of Education in China because they had the vision to allow these kinds of universities to be set up. And I think the impact so far has been very positive. And then finally, they’re a vehicle for building out what I would call transnational collaborative research. And that is that they’re a vehicle for helping to promote collaboration between, let’s say, the United States and China in areas involving science and technology, and their very, very important role in that. That’s why I said we’re not just a liberal arts university, but we are a research-oriented liberal arts university. And I think that NYU Shanghai, Nigbo and Nottingham, et cetera, they all would claim the same space in that regard. Now, why would a city like Kunshan want to have a joint venture university? After all, Kunshan is rather unique. It’s one of the wealthiest cities in China, the largest site of Taiwan foreign investment, but it never has had its own university. So somebody in the leadership did, in fact, read the book about Silicon Valley and Stanford. And they decided, I think it was a McKinsey study that helped them make that decision, that they needed to have a university. And the opportunity to work with Duke was there. And it’s a little bit a long, complicated story, but we’ve ended up where we are today with a university which now will embark on the second phase of having a new campus. But this clearly, for Kunshan, has been a magnet for talent, and an effort to help Kunshan transition from a factory to the world economy to a new knowledge economy, consistent where—with where Xi Jinping and the Chinese leadership wants to take China during the current period, and into the future. It also provides a great bridge for connectivity between the high-tech knowledge communities in North Carolina, and particularly around Research Triangle, and the companies in the Kunshan area. And that bridge at some times or others can be very vibrant, and there are people and activity moving across it. And it’s also a place where internationalization of Kunshan gets promoted through the visibility of Duke. Every year during my five years, we had 2,000-plus visitors come to our university, both from abroad and from within China, to understand: What do these universities mean and what’s going to happen to them? Now, for Duke, a lot of people think it’s about the money. They think that these joint venture campuses make a lot of money. And I can tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. This is not about money. This is about, as I mentioned before, internationalization. But it’s also about the opportunity for pedagogical innovation. You can imagine that in existing universities there’s a lot of baggage, lots of legacy systems. You don’t get virgin territory to do curricular reform and to introduce a lot of edgy ideas. Too many vested interests. But within an opportunity like DKU or NYU Shanghai, you get a white piece of paper and you can develop a very innovative, cutting-edge kind of curriculum. And that’s exactly what has been done. And so you get a kind of two-way technology transfer, obviously from Duke to DKU, but also interestingly from DKU back to Duke. And the same thing again happens with these other universities as well. And I think that’s important. So there’s a great deal of benefit that can accrue to Duke simply by having this campus and watching it go through this kind of evolving development of a new curriculum. Now, we must not forget, these ten joint ventures, and particularly in the context of Sino-U.S. relations, are not all that’s there. Starting with Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and its relationship with Nanjing University, the United States has had projects like this going on in China. There are joint colleges. So, for example, the University of Pittsburgh and Sichuan University have one in engineering. And similarly, Michigan and Jiao Tong University also have similar kinds of ventures. And these all seem to be working very nicely. And then there’s a whole array of two-plus-two programs, three-plus-two programs. All of these are part of a broad landscape of educational engagement that exists between the two countries. It is much more extensive than anyone could have imagined in the late 1970s, when the two countries signed the bilateral agreement. Now, what are some of the things that happen when you manage these joint venture universities? First, let me mention the operational issues that come across. So you probably, you know, ask: How do you find your partner? Well, in a joint venture university, you must have an educational partner. So for Duke, it’s Wuhan University. For NYU Shanghai, it’s East China Normal University. And for Kean University it’s Wenzhou University. And you go through these—finding these partners, and the partners hopefully form a collaborative relationship. But I can tell you one of the problems, just like in all joint ventures in China, is the sleeping in the same bed but with two different dreams phenomenon. Duke came to China to bring a liberal arts education and to serve as a platform for knowledge transfer across the Chinese higher education landscape. Kunshan wanted a Stanford that can provide commercializable knowledge that can turn into new products, new services, and hopefully new businesses. And so they kind of exist in parallel with one another, with the hope that somewhere along the future they will—they will come together. Another issue area is the issue of student recruitment. Student recruitment is very complex in China because of the reliance on the gaokao system. And the gaokao system introduces an element of rigidity. And the idea of crafting a class, which is very common in liberal arts colleges, is almost impossible to do because of the rather rigid and almost inflexible approach one must take to evaluating students, scoring them, and dealing with a whole array of provincial quotas that make X numbers of students available to attend your university versus other universities. And don’t forget, these joint venture universities exist in the context of over 2,000 Chinese universities, all of whom are trying to recruit the students. So you get intense involvement not only from the officials in the province level, but also Chinese parents. And the idea of Chinese parents make helicopter parents in the U.S. look like amateur hour. They are very, very involved and very, very active. A third area are home campus issues that we have to think about. And that is that a lot of people have always said to me: Wow, you know, the Chinese side must give you a big headache. And with all due respect to all my dear colleagues and friends, I can say also sometimes I got a headache from the Duke side as well. And I think anyone who sits in these kind of leadership positions must figure out how to balance the interests and the perspectives of the home country campus and the host country campus, and their ability to work together. And there are a lot of issues that come up along the way that make it very, very complex. And in particular, the idea of attracting faculty. Seventy-five percent of our faculty are hired locally. That is, they are in tenure or tenure-track jobs by Duke-Kunshan University. Twenty-five percent must be supplied by Duke. The reason is very simple: The Chinese authorities want to make sure that the quality of the education is no different than what’s offered at Duke. And because we have to give two degrees, a Chinese degree and a Duke degree, that Duke degree is not a Duke-B degree, or a Duke-lite degree. It is the same degree that you get at Duke University, signed by the head of the board of trustees, the president, the provost, et cetera, et cetera. So this is a real Duke degree. It’s not Duke-lite. The fourth thing I want to mention, which I mentioned before slightly, which is money. These are not inexpensive ventures. And they also are a kind of elite education. And the degree to which they can be replicated over and over again in China is something that remains to be—remains to be seen. We’ve had a lot of people coming from Congress who have looked at these joint venture universities and said, ah, you’re selling out American values and academic freedom or religious freedom, in return for a big payday. And as I said, that’s simply just not the case. These joint venture universities are very difficult to run. You must pay faculty according to the global faculty prices. And plus, there are lots of expat benefits that you have to pay to them. The tuition rates that you can charge to Chinese students are set by the provincial authorities. And therefore, in our case, they’re about 50 percent less than what international students have to pay. And so already you’re in a deficit, technically speaking, because Chinese students are getting a, you know, preferential price. Also, the idea of building up a research capability is not inexpensive, particularly if you’re looking at developing a capability in science and engineering. These are, again, very expensive propositions. Now, I don’t want to make it seem like it’s all hardship. There are lots of rewarding moments. I think, as I said, the pedagogical side is one of those. And also the opportunity to really build true cross-cultural understanding among young people has been very important. Now, let me just make a couple of comments about where we are in terms of the last two years in particular. No one—you know, when our joint venture was formed, and similarly for the other ones which were formed before ours—could have envisioned what was going to happen, particularly in terms of the U.S.-China trade war, the onset of the protests in Hong Kong, and the issues—human rights issues that have to do with Xinjiang, Tibet, et cetera. And also, as everyone knows, COVID also presented some amazing challenges to the campus. We had to, by late January/early February 2020, we evacuated the whole campus when COVID came. And for the last two years, all of the international students have been studying either in their home country or if they’ve been able to come to the United States, they’ve been able to study at Duke during this period. And the big question is, when are these international students going to be able to go back? Which of course, that raises the big question about what is the campus like without international students? Our campus has somewhere between 35 to 40 percent international students. NYU Shanghai has 50 percent international students. Those make for very interesting pedagogical challenges, particularly given the fact that the high school experiences of these young people from China versus all countries—you know, we have forty-one different countries represented at DKU—make for a very challenging learning environment and teaching environment. Now, a couple of the issues that really have been exacerbated over the last two years, first of all are visa issues. Delays in being able to get visas or sometimes denial of visas. Another one are the uncertainties about the campus. Many people think that as Sino-U.S. tensions have risen, OK, the Chinese side is going to shut the campus. No, no, no, the U.S. side is going to shut the campus. And there’s been the lack of clarity. And this also not only hurts student recruitment sometimes, but it also can hurt faculty recruitment as well—who are also wondering, you know, what’s going to happen in the future and what kind of security of their jobs. Most recently we’ve also had—particularly because some of the policies adopted during the Trump administration—national security issues. So we want to build a research capability. Let’s say the city of Kunshan says: We’ll support the building of a semiconductor research capability. Duke University has to say no. That technology now is a more tightly controlled technology and it’s not clear what we can and can’t do. And so some of these kind of initiatives get interrupted, can’t go forward. And everyone is very vigilant to make sure that nobody crosses the line in terms of U.S. law. And, of course, watching out for Chinese law as well. So where is this all going? I think these difficulties are going to continue. The most obvious one that everyone talks about is academic freedom, the ability to deal with these complex, controversial issues. I can say very proudly that up until this point, and at least until when I left in June of 2020, we had not had any kind of explicit intervention that stopped us from doing something, per se. We’ve had the national committee for U.S.-China relations, China town halls for several years. They didn’t have one this past year, but we’ve had it for several years. We have courses on China politics. We have courses on U.S.-China relations, et cetera. So we haven’t had that. But we’ve had to be flexible. Instead of having an open forum about Hong Kong, we created a minicourse to talk about Hong Kong. So those issues are out there. Academic freedom is a real issue that is one of those redline issues. And everyone is a little bit nervous all the time about getting into that. The other thing, of course, is the fluidity in the Chinese environment itself. We know that China continues to witness political changes, further economic reforms. And a lot of the commitments that were made, you know, five years ago, ten years ago, the ability to see them through. DKU is covered by a CEA, a cooperative educational accord, that promises academic freedom in the engagement of the university’s work on campus. Now, if you go out and throw a brick through the mayor’s window, well, all bets are off. But while you’re on campus, you should be able to have, you know, academic freedom. And this is not a political issue. This is an accreditation issue. If the pedagogy and the learning environment were to become distinctly different, the Southern States Accreditation, which accredits the Duke degrees, could not accredit the degree that’s coming out of DKU. And so there must not be any kind of significant gap or significant differentiation in order to preserve that issue of academic integrity. Now, finally, I would say—you know, looking now retrospectively, looking back at all of this, I think there’s no more important kind of initiative than these universities. Getting young people from all around the world to sit in the same classroom, engage with one another, even become uncomfortable. It’s great if they can do that when they’re eighteen to twenty-four so hopefully when they’re forty-five to fifty, they sit down and deal with these real issues, they can have some degree of understanding and some perspective of why the other side is thinking the way it does. This doesn’t happen automatically on these campuses. There’s a lot of orchestration and a lot of fostering of activity. But I would just say that he ability and the opportunity to do this makes this, and makes all of these joint ventures, really exciting opportunities that have larger impact than just the campus on which they sit. And let me stop here. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. That was really a terrific overview. And you really brought your experience to the table. Thank you. So let’s go to all of you now for your questions, comments. You can either raise your hand by clicking on the “raise hand” icon, or you can type your question in the Q&A box. Please include your affiliation so I can read it. And when I call on you, please unmute yourself and also say who you are and your academic affiliation, so to put it in context. I’m going to go first, raised hand, to James Cousins. There we go. Q: Hi. Yeah, this is Morton Holbrook at Kentucky Wesleyan College, along with James Cousins. FASKIANOS: Great. (Laughs.) Q: And thanks very much, Dr. Simon. A great explanation. Happy to hear about academic freedom. Could I hear a little bit more about, for example, textbook choice? Do you have to submit—do professors have to submit textbook choices to the party secretary, for example? I assume there’s a party secretary there. Is there self-censorship by professors who would want to skip over Tiananmen massacre or the Taiwan issue or the South China Sea issue? Thank you. SIMON: OK. Great question. So I’m happy to say that each professor creates their own syllabus, as they would in the United States. We have three big required courses, one of which is China in the world. And it is to look at the impact of the West on China, and China’s impact on the West. And in that course, which every student has to take, we discuss very, very sensitive issues, including the Taiwan issue, including Chinese security policy, including South China Sea, et cetera, et cetera. There are some limitations on books that can be imported through the Chinese customs, because those will be controlled at the customs port. But because we have unlimited access through the internet right directly into the Duke library, any book that any instructor would like to have on their syllabus, that book is available to the students. So we do not have to report any of these teaching intentions to the party secretary. In the case of DKU, the party secretary is the chancellor. That just happened when we got a new chancellor a couple years ago. And we also have a deputy party secretary. But for the most part, they do not intervene at all in the academic affairs of the university. And the main reason for this is that the university must remain accredited for giving out both the Duke degree and the Chinese degree. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to a written question from Michael Raisinghani, who is an associate professor at Texas Women’s University. And two parts. What are some things you would have done differently going forward based on your experience over the last five years? And this is also—camps onto what the prior question was—does China censor the minicourse on Hong Kong? SIMON: So let me take the second one first. The minicourse on Hong Kong was a sort of an in-place innovation. We got a directive from the government indicating that we were to have no public forum to discuss the events in Hong Kong. And we had had two students who were in Hong Kong during the summer, witness to the events that were going on. And they came back to the campus after the summer wanting to basically expose everything that went on in Hong Kong. Now, obviously we wanted this to be a learning opportunity. And so we didn’t mind, you know, talking about the media, the press, you know, who’s vantage point, et cetera. So we felt that that could be best done within a minicourse. And so we literally, in real time, created an eight-hour minicourse. We had four of our faculty put together teaching about the society and the issues in contemporary Hong Kong. And each of those classes, you know, they discussed, you know, ongoing issues. I can tell you that there were lots of PRC students attending at the beginning of the session. There were fewer by the end. And we can, you know, extrapolate why they may have pulled out. But nobody pulled out because somehow someone was holding a gun to their head and said: You ought not to be here. So, you know, there’s a lot of peer pressure about academic freedom issues. And there also is some issues about self-censorship that exist. And we try to deal with them. We try to make the academic environment extremely comfortable for everybody. But I can tell you, look, there’s parental pressure. We don’t know who the parents are of some of these kids. They may be even party officials. And so we basically, you know, let the kids determine. But we let the kids say: Look, in the classroom, all—everything goes. And I instituted a policy which I would not have changed, and that is that no cellphones in the classroom. No cellphones at major events, without explicit permission of the participants. And that means that in the class you cannot record by video or by audio what’s going on in the classroom without special permission of the—of the instructor when that’s happening. During my five years, you know, that worked very well. It raised the level of engagement by all students. And I would say people felt much more comfortable. A hundred percent comfortable? No. That wasn’t the case. There is still some uneasiness. What would I have done differently? That’s kind of a very interesting question. It kind of comes up because I’m writing a book about my experiences. I think maybe, you know, I would have tried to build more bridges with Duke earlier on. I think that Duke’s involvement in this was really what the Chinese side bought. And I think that we needed to get more Duke involvement in terms of trying to sell the DKU opportunity to the faculty. I would have become a little bit more proactive in getting them to understand the benefits of spending a semester or two semesters at DKU. I think we—that would have helped to build more political support for the DKU project back on the DKU—back on the Duke campus in the United States. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to raised hand, to Maryalice Mazzara. Q: Hi. Hello to both of you. And, Dr. Simon, great to see you. I’m here at SUNY Office of Global Affairs at SUNY Global Center. And I must say, disclaimer, I had Dr. Simon as a boss, my first boss at SUNY. And he was wonderful. So and I’ve worked a lot with China, as you know, Denis, from when we started, and continuing on. What would you say you would recommend going forward? So you just had a question about, you know, what would you have done differently in the last five years. For those of us, and all of us on the call, who are interested—very interested in U.S.-China positive relations, what would you recommend that we can do at the academic level? SIMON: So one of the things I think we need to realize is that China’s Ministry of Education is extremely committed to not only these joint venture projects, but to international engagement as a whole. During my five years, I had an extensive opportunity to interact with a number of officials from the ministry, not only at the central government level but also at the provincial government level. And despite some of the noise that we hear about China regarding self-reliance and closing the door, I think that understanding that China is open for business. It wants to see more international students come into the country. There are now about close to 500,000 international students. China wants to grow that number. You know, there are about 700,000-plus Chinese students studying abroad, 370,000 of them, or so, in the United States. The ministry is very interested. And I think that we need to basically build bridges that continue to be sustainable over time, so that we continue to engage in the educational sphere with China. And that means that perhaps it’s time for the two countries to sit down and revise, update, and reconfigure the education cooperation agreement that was signed back when Deng Xiaoping visited the United States in ’78, and then formalized in ’79. I think that we need to think about altering the rules of the road going forward so it takes into account that China is no longer a backward, or a higher-education laggard. China how has world-class universities, offering world-class curriculum. Collaboration and research between faculty in the U.S. and faculty in China is extensive. We need to make sure that initiatives, like the China initiative through the Justice Department, doesn’t take hold and basically lead to the demise or the decoupling of the two countries. Basically, the bottom line is: Keep going forward. Keep being honest with your Chinese partners and your Chinese colleagues. Let them know some of the challenges that you face. And make them feel committed to playing by the rules of the game. And we have to do the same on our side. And if we can do that, I think that the basis for collaboration is not only there, but the basis for expanded collaboration is very real and can help, hopefully, over the long term overcome some of the difficulties and the tensions that we face because of lack of understanding and lack of trust that currently plagues the relationship. FASKIANOS: Great. The next question is from Emily Weinstein, who is a research fellow at Georgetown University. Curious about issues associated with intellectual property. Since JV universities are Chinese legal entities, in the case of DKU does Duke maintain the IP or is it the independent DKU entity? SIMON: Well, right now let’s assume that the faculty member is a permanent member of the DKU faculty. Then that faculty member, in conjunction with the Chinese regulatory environment, would own a piece of that IP. The university doesn’t have a technology transfer office, like you would see at Duke in the United States, or Stanford, or NYU, et cetera. And I think that probably no one really can see that there would be, you know, just a lot of new IP coming out of this. But I think that now, given the momentum that’s been built up in some of these areas, I think that that is an issue. And I think that that’s something that will get decided. But right now, it’s a local issue. The only way that would be different is if a faculty member from Duke came over, participated in a research project, and then laid claim. China has a—(inaudible)—kind of law in place. And of course, we know the United States does. That would tend to be the basis for a sharing of the IP. And I think that was the basic notion going forward, that as a joint venture whatever came out of these collaborative research engagements, they would be on a shared IP basis. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Wenchi Yu, who has raised a raised hand. Q: Hi. Thank you. Hi, Denis, good to see you again. A question about—first of all, just a small comment about China still welcoming collaboration internationally at higher ed. I think that’s been the case for a couple years. The question now is not so much about their will, but more how, right? So in order to collaborate in a way that neither side compromises our own values and principles, I think that’s more of the key question. So I think moving forward if you can just maybe go deeper on this point. How can we really collaborate without, you know, feeling that we’re making too much of a compromise? And the second related is, I think what we’re seeing in terms of the change of attitude is not just at higher ed level. You and I have talked about K-12 as well. It’s also been extremely difficult for international schools as well as online education to even, you know, try to connect students with anything international, whether it’s curriculum or, you know, international foreign tutors, educators. So, I mean, do you think, you know, this will impact higher ed? You know, and what is your interpretation of Ministry of Education’s attitude? And, you know, how much is what local officials can actually be flexible when it comes to implementation of those bigger policies? SIMON: So I think one of the—one of the challenges I didn’t get to mention, but I’ll talk about it now, is this issue of homogenization. I think that the Ministry of Education, because of its general approach to curriculum and things of that sort, would like all universities basically to operate very similarly and that there’s not a whole bunch of outliers in the system. The special provisions for these joint venture universities are indeed just that, they’re very special, they’re very unique. And in fact, just like lots of regulation in China, they couldn’t cover the entire waterfront of all the operating, all the administrative, and even all the political issues that might come across. And so many of these, the CEA agreement, or the equivalent of that, was signed, you know, are very unique to those nine or ten joint venture universities. And they—as you know, in China just because you sided with Duke doesn’t mean that if you’re up next you’re going to get the same terms and conditions. And I think that right now because of the tensions in the relationship, it would be difficult to actually replicate exactly what Duke, and NYU, and some of the other universities had, particularly because of the very pronounced way academic freedom issues had been—had been dealt with. But I think that each of our universities is very clear about the red lines that exist regarding issues as sensitive, like academic freedom. In other words, there are very few issues that would invite the kind of deliberation about potential withdrawal, but academic freedom is one of those. Religious freedom, in terms of what goes on on the campus is another issue. Again, the campus is sort of like a protected territory in the way an embassy would be, in many ways. And it’s not exactly the same. It doesn’t have that legal status. But what I’m suggesting here in terms of the operating environment is sort of like that. So up till now, we’ve been very fortunate that we haven’t felt the full brunt, you know, of some of the political tightening that some Chinese universities have experienced. And so we’ve been pretty—the situation has been pretty good for all of us. But I think that part of the problem is that we were dealing with China in a very asymmetrical, hierarchical kind of manner in the past. And that is that the gap between the two countries was very large in capability, particularly in education and higher education. And therefore, it was from the haves—Europe, the United States, et cetera—to the have-no country. That’s no longer the case. And so therefore, that’s why I think that in order to get more accommodation from the Chinese side, we have to bring China much more to the table as a co-equal. And as China sits at that table, then we have to secure commitments to say: Look, we commit to doing this when we’re in China. You have to commit to doing this, whether it’s regarding IP theft, whether it’s regarding the censorship of Chinese students in the United States, whether it’s all other kinds of things that we know are problems. And at the same time, as many U.S. university leaders have done, we promised to protect our Chinese students, that they don’t become the object of attack because we have a kind of anti-China, you know, fervor going through the country, and somehow these students are going to be, you know, experiencing some problems. This is a very difficult period. But I don’t see how we can continue to go forward based on a document, or set of documents, that were signed forty-plus years ago. I think we need to begin to consider, both in education and in science and technology, to sign a new agreement that looks at new rules of the game, reflecting the different status of the countries now versus what it was forty years ago. FASKIANOS: I’m going to ask the next question from Qiang Zha from York University in Toronto, Canada. Two questions: A rise in nationalism and patriotism can be observed among Chinese young generations. How is it going to impact the JVs in China? And whether and now the JVs in China impact the country’s innovation capacity and performance. SIMON: So it seems that there’s two questions there. Let me respond. Professor Cheng Li, who’s at Brookings Institution, has just written a very interesting article about this growing patriotism and even anti-Americanism among young Chinese, that I would recommend. And it’s a very important article, because I think we had assumed in the past that young Chinese are very global, they’re cosmopolitan, they dress the dress, they walk the talk, they listen to the same music. But I think that what’s going on in the country especially over the last ten years is an effort to say, look, you know, stop worshiping Western things and start attaching greater value to things Chinese. And I think that that’s sort of had an impact. And I think when you go and look at a classroom discussion at a place like DKU, where you have students from forty different countries talking about a common issue, Chinese students tend to band together and be very protective of China. I think that’s just a common reaction that they have. Now, in a—as a semester goes on, a few of them will break away a bit from those kind of—you know, that rigidity, and open their minds to alternative ways to thinking about problems and issues, and particularly in terms of Chinese behavior. And I know that I’ve advised a number of students on projects, papers, et cetera. And I’m almost in awe of the fact of the degree to which they in fact have broken away from the old molds and old stereotypes that they had when they entered the program back in 2018. So this is part of a process that occurs over time. And I think it’s something that we have to have some patience about. But I am worried. And I’ll just give you an example. You know, a young Chinese student comes to the United States, has their visa. They get to immigration in the United States, and they’re turned back all of a sudden and they’re forced to go home. No apparent reason, but somebody thinks they’re up to no good, or they don’t—they weren’t from the right, you know, high school, or whatever is the case. We’ve got to really be careful that we don’t start to alienate not only young Chinese—which I think that’s a big problem—but also Chinese American faculty and staff who are at our universities, who now feel that they’re not trusted or they’re under suspicion for doing something wrong. And I know in conversations that I have had with numerous of these people who have talked about should I go back, should I go to a third country? If I’m not in the U.S., should I be in—you know, in Europe? What’s a good place for me to go, because I don’t feel good—nor does my family feel good—now in the United States. We have created a big problem that’s going to have a very negative effect on our talent needs in the 21st century. And that includes young Chinese who would come to the United States for advanced education and hopefully stay here when they get their doctorates, or whatever degree they came for, and Chinese Americans who are here who have been loyal, who have been hardworking, who now feel that somehow they are not trusted any longer. And we’re in a big dilemma right now at this point in time. And I think that my experience at this JV university says, look, as I said, it doesn’t happen naturally that there’s a kumbaya moment that everyone gets together and hugs and is on the same wavelength. There’s a lot of intense discussion among these young people that we must recognize. But hopefully, through the process of being put together and making friends and building trust, they can begin to open their minds for different perspectives and different ideas. And I think that if DKU, or NYU Shanghai, or these other campuses are going to be successful, they must continue to push in that direction. Not to close the door, pull the shades down, and simply hide. But they must be open. And one of the things at DKU, all of our events, open—are open. Our China town halls, we invited officials from Suzhou and Kunshan to come and listen to whether it was Henry Kissinger or somebody else who was—Ray Dalio, who was on, or Fareed Zakaria. They’re all the same thing, we invited people to come to listen and to have an open mind to these kind of events. So I think that we are a beacon of light in the midst of a turbulence. I think President Price’s comment is very apropos to what this represents. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take two written questions. The first is from Peggy Blumenthal, who is senior counselor to the president at the Institute of International Education. Do you see a difference in the kinds of Chinese students who enroll in Duke-Kushan versus those who applied to study in Duke in North Carolina? Are they less from elite political families and less wealthy families? And do you have any students from Taiwan or Hong Kong? And then a second question from GianMario Besana, who’s at DePaul University, the associate provost for global engagement. How is faculty governance handled? Are faculty teaching at the JV tenured as Duke faculty? SIMON: OK. So, yes, we have students from Taiwan. And we don’t always get students from Hong Kong, but we’re open to having students from Hong Kong. So there is no limit. The only thing is, and I’ll mention this, that all Chinese students, PRC students, must have a quote/unquote “political” course. And that course has been revised sharply by our partner at Wuhan University to make it much more of a Chinese history and culture course. The students from Taiwan must take that course. Now, they don’t want to take it and they reject the idea of taking it, but that’s a requirement. And so they do take it. But I can assure you, the one that we have is much softer than some of the things that go on at other Chinese Universities. In terms of the caliber of the students, one thing is very clear. As the reputation of places like DKU and NYU Shanghai, et cetera, have grown, the differentiation between who applies to the U.S. campus and who applies to the DKU campus, that differentiation is getting smaller and smaller. And the reason is very simple: we cannot have a two-track system if we’re giving a Duke degree to the students graduating at DKU, and the same thing for NYU Shanghai. We must have near equivalency. And we have a very strong requirement in terms of English language capability. We don’t trust, frankly, TOEFL. And we don’t trust, you know, some of the other mechanism. We now deploy specialized versions of language testing so we can ensure that the quality of the language is strong enough so at the beginning of the engagement on campus, when they matriculate, they are able to hit the ground running. And that helps a great deal. In terms of faculty governance, the faculty in place, you know, at DKU, as far as I know, are able to—in effect, they meet as a faculty. There’s an academic affairs committee. We have a vice chancellor for academic affairs who oversees the faculty engagement, in effect. And the faculty do have a fairly loud voice when there are certain things that they don’t like. There’s a Chinese tax policy is changing. That’s going to have a big impact on their compensation. They’ve made their concerns well known to the leadership. If they don’t like a curriculum that is being, you know, put in place and they want to change it, they will advocate, you know, to redo some of the curriculum that has been done, and also alter the requirements. So their voice is heard loudly and strongly. But it’s through the vice chancellor for academic affairs to the executive vice chancellor of the campus. It doesn’t necessarily go through the chancellor. And I don’t mean to suggest that there’s full compartmentation of the Chinese side. But there are certain things in which we closely operate together and joint decision making. And then there are things in which basically, at least up to my time, the engagement was a little lighter on the academic side and more intense on the operational side. And I think that that was the model that we had hoped to sustain from the beginning. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take the next question from David Moore from Broward College in Florida. Do you know of any issues the Chinese have with required courses at Duke in U.S. history or U.S. government/political science? And just to give context, he writes, Florida has recently imposed a new required test in civic literacy, which has questions related to the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and major Supreme Court cases. Next year students in China will need to take this test in order to graduate. Are you aware of any such requirements imposed by other states? SIMON: So I’m not aware right now that North Carolina, for example, has this kind of requirement. But I can tell you that we do teach courses about American government, American society, American culture. In other words, American studies gets a full, you know, treatment, if that’s what your major is or that’s something that you choose to study. Now, like many places, even on a U.S. campus, except from what you’ve just told me, I mean, you could go through an entire university education without doing American studies whatsoever. But I think from what I’m hearing from you, that’s not going to be the case in Florida now. (Laughs.) We don’t—we haven’t had that problem. The only requirement, as I said, is on the Chinese side, that Chinese students must have this one course on Chinese history and culture, and they also must have military service. They do this short-term summer military training that they must go through. And I’ve gone to the graduation. It’s a—it’s kind of fascinating to watch it. But, you know, it’s something that’s for bonding purposes. And, you know, that makes China different. Remember, this is not an island existing, you know, in the middle of in the entire China. In some ways, the campus and the fact that we’re in China become part of the same reality. It is not the case—you know, we can’t be an island unto ourselves. That’s when I think real problems would occur. I think the more that we can integrate and understand what’s going on in the larger societal context, it’s important for our students, particularly the international students who come. And the international students are such a critical element because they represent an alternative perspective on the world that they bring into the classroom, as does our international faculty bring new ideas into the classroom. And those are what basically can open up the minds of our Chinese students. We’re not here to make Chinese students think like Americans. We’re here to raise global awareness. That’s all we want to do. We want to give them alternatives and options and different perspectives on the world, and then let them make up their mind. Let them decide what’s the right, or wrong, or comfortable way to think about an issue, and then feel that on this campus and then, you know, further on in their lives, they have the power and they have the capacity to think for themselves. And that’s why—just one point I want to make—critical thinking is such an important part of our pedagogy. How to think critically and independently about issues and express yourself in a lucid fashion are part of what we call seven animating features that we want with each of our graduates. And another one is something called rooted globalism. And that is the ability to understand your own roots, but also the ability to understand the roots of others, and bring that to bear as you begin to look at a problem like: Why do these two countries have different views on climate change? Or why do they think different—so differently about handling pandemics, or handling even things like facial recognition and video surveillance? We have one professor who studies this, and he and I have had many numerous conversations about how to involve Chinese students in these discussions, so they don’t feel intimidated, but get exposed to these kinds of debates that are going on. Now issues like what’s the future of AI, in which we’re looking at moral, ethical issues that face societies—all societies, not just American or Chinese society—and how do these get worked out? These are what the opportunities are that we can accomplish in these kind of joint venture environments. FASKIANOS: A next question from Lauren Sinclair. I’m administrator and faculty at NYU Shanghai. I’m very interested in the notion of pedagogical reciprocity and cross-cultural exchange. Do you see any evidence that this is occurring? Do you have qualitative or quantitative measures through institutional or student-level surveys? SIMON: So this occurs—this kind of what I call knowledge transfer occurs because we do have, as I mentioned, 25 percent of the faculty on the campus at any time are Duke or Duke-affiliated faculty. So when we are doing things on the campus at DKU, there are Duke faculty who are exposed to these experiences, they get to hear the students’ presentations, et cetera, et cetera. They’re part of the discussions about the curriculum. And I can tell you that the Duke curriculum and the DKU curriculum are different in many respects, ours being much more highly interdisciplinary, for example. And we have a project called Signature Work. When our students do this, they get a chance to spend—under normal situation, not COVID—but a semester at Duke. And during that semester at Duke, that also serves as a vehicle for the students to bring with them the things that they’ve learned, and the way that they’ve learned them. And we also have vehicles for our faculty in certain cases to spend time at Duke as well. And one best example I have to give you is the COVID experience. DKU was online by March of 2020. With the help of Duke’s educational technology people we started delivering curriculum to our students in March, April, May, so that they could finish their semester. Quickly, by time June rolled around, Duke, as well as all sorts of U.S. universities, were faced with the dilemma of how to go online. The experience of DKU in handling the online delivery to students who were located all over the world, and the Duke need to be prepared to do that, had great benefit to Duke when it tried to implement its own online programs. That experience was very positive. The synergies captured from that were very positive. And I think that this serves as a reminder that knowledge and information can go in both directions. You mentioned cross-cultural. And again, I think the more faculty we can get to come and have an experience in China, and that they bring back with them the learning that’s occurred, we’ve seen that now get transported back to Duke, and delivered in Duke classrooms based on the experience that they’ve had in China. FASKIANOS: Well, this has been a fantastic hour. Thank you very much. We are at the end of our time. It came, alas, too quickly, and I could not get to all the questions. So my apologies. But we will send around the link to this webinar, the transcript, and other resources that Dr. Simon has mentioned. So, Denis, thank you very much for doing this. We really appreciate it. SIMON: My pleasure. And thank you for having me. FASKIANOS: And we will be having our next Higher Education webinar in January 2022. So this is the last one for this year. And we will send an invitation under separate cover. As always, I encourage you to follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for more resources. I’m wishing you all luck with your finals, grading, all of that, wonderful things that you have to do as faulty and as academics. And hope you enjoy the holidays. And of course, stay well and stay safe. And we look forward to reconvening in the new year. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: The Role of Hispanic-Serving Institutions
    Play
    Antonio Flores, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), leads a conversation on the role of Hispanic-Serving Institutions in higher education. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted and honored to have Dr. Antonio Flores with us today to discuss the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions. Dr. Flores is president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Established in 1986, HACU represents more than five hundred colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America, and Europe. During his tenure as president of HACU, the association has nearly tripled its membership and budget, expanded its programs, and improved legislation for Hispanic Serving Institutions, and increased federal and private funding for HSIs. He previously served as director of programs and services for the Michigan Higher Education Assistance Authority, and the Michigan Higher Education Student Loan Authority. And, needless to say, he’s taught at public and private institutions, conducted research and policy studies on higher education issues. And so it really is wonderful to have him with us today to talk about HACU, how HACU is committed to the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions, and to serving underrepresented populations. Obviously, we are very much looking to develop talent for the next generation of foreign policy leaders, and really look forward to this conversation. So, Antonio, thank you for being with us. It would be great if you could talk about the Hispanic Serving Institutions, their role in higher education, and your strategic vision for HACU broadly. FLORES: Thank you, Irina, for those very flattering remarks and introduction. And of course, we’re delighted to be part of the series here today and talk a little bit about what HSIs are doing and how they can do more of the great work they’ve been doing for the nation, and HACU’s role as well in promoting them. And suffice to say that Hispanic Serving Institutions have become the backbone of not only Hispanic higher education, but also the American labor force. Because there are more—there are more than 560 now HSIs across the nation, enroll the vast majority, more than 5.2 million of them, of underserved students who historically have not been adequately served in higher education, including Latinos. And it just happens that this population, the Hispanic population, is contributing more than half of all the new workers joining the American labor force today. And that proportion is likely to continue to increase in the years ahead. In addition, of course, they serve scores of African Americans, of Asian Americans, Native Americans, and all Americans. So they are really a microcosm of American diversity. And for that very reason, going forward as these populations continue to increase demographically, their representation in the labor force will only continue to develop. The latest Census Bureau report for 2010 to 2020 indicates that more than 51 percent of all the population growth in the nation is attributed to Hispanics. So there we have it. It’s just the reality of the facts. And therefore, HSIs are now the backbone of America’s labor force, because ultimately the demands of the global economy are such that we need to step up to the plate and really educate at a much higher level, and train at a much higher level those underserved populations, particular Hispanics, so that we can remain competitive in that global economy. And that includes the preparation of top-notch leaders for foreign service careers. And so if we were to summarize how we view HSIs with respect to America’s challenges today, and opportunities in the future, I would say that there are three dimensions that define HSIs vis a vis the United States of America and its future in the world. Number one is diversity. And I already alluded to some of that. But diversity is not just with respect to the fact that they have the most diverse student population on their campuses. But it’s also the diversity across types of institutions because we have community colleges, we have regional universities, and we have research-intensive, or R1 institutions. So we have within campuses tremendous diversity, and we have across campuses nationwide institutionally diversity as well. And so that’s the name of the game. And that’s the name of the game for America, is diversity. And it’s the name of the game for the world. It’s a very diverse world out there. And so the more attuned those top-notch leaders that were looking to educate in our institutions are with respect to their diversity, the more not only knowledgeable and experienced and sensitive to that diverse reality of the world and of America, the much better leaders they are going to be. And so diversity, again, is that one unavoidable element of our world and of our country. The second, I think, very important element or dimension of HSIs is the dynamism. They are very dynamic institutions that are really doing a magnificent job with fewer resources than the rest of the field. They don’t have the big pockets or big endowments. They don’t have the applications they need from the federal government they should get. And yet, they excel at educating those who come to their campuses. Just to give you an idea, Opportunity Insights is a name of an organization that does socioeconomic analysis of graduates from students from colleges across the country. And particularly they focus on how institutions educate and position in careers those who come from the lowest quintile of entering freshmen to college. And they believe that those who graduate, they graduate and see what proportion of those who came in the lowest quintile move to the top quintile in terms of earnings. And in the last report I saw, nine of the ten top institutions in that regard were Hispanic Serving Institutions. Nine of the top ten. It’s not the Ivy League institutions, for sure. It is those institutions that I mentioned that are part of our group of HSIs. And in fact, the number one is Cal State LA in that report that I saw. And so, again, because they are very dynamic, creative, innovative, and resourceful with respect to using what little they have to optimize the educational outcomes of those who come to their campuses. And not just educational outcomes, but career outcomes. Once they are in the workforce, their earnings are higher than those of others from the same lowest quintile when they enter college. So dynamism is the second major component. And I would say deliverance. Deliverance for underserved populations is another important quality that HSIs represent, because they are ultimately serving—for the most part, the majority of their students are first-generation college students, many of them from immigrant families who are unfamiliar with the educational system and with the intricacies of going through a college education, because they themselves never had that opportunity to pass down. So they are at a very distinct socioeconomic disadvantage coming from those types of families who are also low income, because to be an HSI not only does an institution have to have more than 25 percent of its enrollment being Hispanic, but also they have to show that the majority of their students are Pell Grant eligible—in other words, needy, low-income students. And the other criterion is that they have to spend on average per student less than the average of their peer institutions. So they are efficient, very cost-effective, and they serve the neediest of our society. So there you have it. Diversity, dynamism, and deliverance for the most needed in our society. That’s what HSIs are all about. And so they really are in need of much greater support from the federal government, the state governments, and from the corporate community and the philanthropic community. And our association advocates for that to be the case, with some success but not enough. We have been able to increase the appropriations for them from Congress over the years, but they are way behind other cohorts of minority-serving institutions that get much more money per student than HSIs do, despite the fact that they—for instance, they not only educate 67 percent of all the 3.8 million Hispanics in college today; they also educate three times as many African Americans as all the HBCUs combined. Let me repeat that: More than three times as many African Americans go to HSIs as they go to HBCUs, OK? And more than 42 percent of all the Asian Americans in college today attend HSIs. They also educate more than twice as many Native Americans as all the tribal colleges and universities put together. And then we have other groups of different national origins who come to our campuses. So they are extremely diverse. And so that’s, in a nutshell, what HSIs are all about. And they’ve been growing, about thirty new HSIs per year, because demographically it’s how the country’s moving. There are more Hispanic young people emerging from high school and going to college than from any other group. And conversely, the non-Hispanic White student enrollment has been declining continually year after year for the last ten years. Look at the numbers. And that’s not going to stop. In major states, like California and Texas, for example, the two largest in the nation, more than 50 percent—about 52-55 percent of the K-12 enrollment is Hispanic. If you add the other minority populations, overwhelmingly these states futures are diverse and Hispanic. And so is the country. Other states are moving in the same direction, whether it’s Florida, or Illinois, or New York, New Jersey. The main states in the nation are moving in those—in that direction. So that’s why it’s so essential for Congress, the states, corporate America, and philanthropic America to invest in these institutions much more than they have been doing, because they represent the very future of this nation. To the extent that the new generations of graduates coming out of them are equipped with the right tools to succeed as scientists, as technicians, as professionals in whatever field they choose, our country will thrive. And the opposite will happen if we don’t. It’s that simple. And so that’s what I wanted to just briefly say as an introductory commentary on HSIs. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Thank you very much for that. We’re going to go to the group now for their questions. (Gives queuing instructions.) So I’m going to first go to Manuel Montoya, who has raised his hand. Q: Thank you very much, Irina. And, Dr. Flores, it’s a real pleasure to have you on the call. I appreciate all the work that you do for HACU and for Hispanic Serving Institutions. I am with the University of New Mexico. I’m an associate professor in international management at UNM, but I also do a lot of work with my cohorts on supporting HSI—our HSI designation. We are a Hispanic Serving Institution and an R1 institution as well. All of the things you said are really important. And I had a comment and then a question. I think this question of—this idea of diversity being the name of the game is not to be underestimated. I think that the students that go through HSI-designated institutions, I think that they have the potential to reshape and recalibrate what we mean when we say we are ambassadorial in the world. And the United States needs to upgrade and change its relational dynamics, political and economic, to include diverse voices that come from the learned and lived experiences of people who traditionally come from first-generation families, first-generation students. And HSIs are equipped to do that. So my question becomes, you mentioned wanting to track some people into the foreign service exam. But what other types of experiences or opportunities do you think are best practices for students that are coming out of HSIs to participate in the larger international relations frameworks and careers that are setting the global agenda? FLORES: That’s a good question, Professor Montoya. And let me share with you briefly something that I mentioned before we started the webinar to friends at CFR. And that is that HACU has a very robust national internship program that places upwards of five hundred undergraduates, and some of our graduate students, with federal agencies, including the State Department. We signed an MOU with the late Secretary Powell, who at that time was very much committed to increasing the number of Latinos in the Foreign Service, and other underrepresented populations. And that remains in place, although not with the numbers that we would like to see. And yet, there are other agencies that also have a foreign or abroad projection, like Department of Agriculture, for example. And others that have offices across the world. And so we are very much into helping them find the right talent they need, and getting them also as interns experience those agencies, and putting them on the right track to become full-fledged employees once they graduate. So that’s one of the things that we’ve been doing. We need to do much more of that. I accept that the number is, as impressive as they may sound, are very minute when it comes to the populations that we’re talking about. And our own association has made it a priority to expand its international reach. And we have, depending on the year, anywhere from forty to fifty universities across Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain that are affiliated with us to do precisely what you suggest, which is student mobility and experience abroad. And so—and in both directions, also that they would come to be in the U.S. And so we have the beginnings, I think, of a major push to make sure that many, many more young people who—they have a kind of an almost organic connection to international affairs, in this case Latinos, because most of them come from families who immigrated or have roots in other countries, and are really very much culturally adept to international roles. So your point is well-taken. And you’ll see a lot more activity from our end as an association in that regard. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Shoshana Chatfield. Q: Yes, hello. I wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful presentation and for really exposing me to some of the issues that I wasn’t aware of previously. I am the president of the United States Naval War College. And since I’ve been here over the past two years, I have been actively trying to expand our recruiting effort to make our vacancies on our faculty available to members of the community. And yet, I’m not seeing any appreciable difference in the applicant pool. And I wondered if you could advise me how I might approach this differently to raise awareness about hiring to these war colleges who have not traditionally had a high representation of faculty who come from the same backgrounds that you described. FLORES: Thank you. Thank you for your very timely question, President Chatfield. Let me say that one of the first things that I would suggest is that you join our association as a college. Why would that be helpful to your effort? Because then you will connect with presidents and CEOs of five hundred-plus community colleges, regional university, and so forth, and school districts that are also affiliated with that, that are defined as Hispanic-serving school districts. So that even in high school you will have a presence through our association’s outreach to them, and that you also would network with peers of diverse institutions across the country who may have robust pipelines of Ph.D. graduates and others who could fit your own aspirations, in terms of getting some of those faculty on your campus, some of those administrators, and some of those as students. Because, at the end of the day, probably—you probably want to have a much more diverse student body. And that can come from precisely that opportunity to not only interact but formally establish relationships with some of those colleges to transfer, for instance, from community colleges or from high schools that we interact with on a regular basis. So that would be one suggestion. We also have in our association a very, very nimble system called ProTalento. It’s online. That is P-R-O-T-A-L-E-N-T-O, ProTalento. And that that—you can go to our website, find it. And we have on that website a very robust database of individuals who are looking for opportunities at different colleges. That are already teaching, or doing research, or both, and are looking for other opportunities. And also, we have institutions that are looking for them. And the system basically matches them. So you can go there and find a goldmine, so to speak, of talent. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Great question. And we have a written question, a couple written questions in the chat. This one comes from Andrea Purdy, who is an associate professor of Spanish at Colorado State University. We are anticipating reaching HSI status. And in talking to my students, a comment they have made to me is that they don’t always feel welcomed all over the university. There are niches, but overall the sense of belonging is not felt. They also commented that while they are beginning to see themselves in classrooms, they don’t see themselves in the faculty. What suggestions do you have for universities to make sure that the inclusivity is felt at all levels? FLORES: Well, it’s similar to the previous question in some—in some regards, because ultimately the first thing you want to do as a college or university, it has to be job number one, is to create a climate—a campus climate of support and welcoming feelings for the students, that they feel not only appreciated but they feel really supported and welcome to the institution. And so the point made is how can we recruit or how can we diversify faculty and staff? Well, again, you go—you know, when you want to catch fish, you go fishing where the fish are. And the fish are in some of the HSIs, those that are already more developed institutions. And many of them are regional universities or R1s or R2s. And those could be a source of talent for institutions like Colorado State, that is lacking some of their representation. And of course, I want to insist that please visit ProTalento. And you may be surprised how much success you could have in getting people from that database to consider your institution. But of course, faculty and staff who look like the students are essential to create that culture, that campus climate of appreciation and welcoming, I would say. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Let’s go next to Rosa Cervantes, who has a raised hand. And please unmute yourself and tell us your affiliation. Q: Good afternoon. Thank you for taking my questions. My name is Rosa Isela Cervantes. I’m the director of El Centro de la Raza at the University of New Mexico, and also special assistant to the president on Latino Affairs. And I really interested in what you said, Mr. Flores, about the diversity of students at HSIs, and that we serve three times the amount of—if I heard correctly—of African American students at HSIs than BCUs, is that correct? Is that— FLORES: That is correct, yes. Q: OK. And I wanted to see if you could expand a little bit about that, and also maybe think through or talk to how we can do some coalition building with folks. Because I really feel like HSIs are completely underfunded, right? You’ve stated it, we’ve heard it. But yet, they’re so robust and they do so many different things for so many different students. I wonder how we might continue—and we’re a member of HACU—but I wonder how we maybe think through some conversations to really get out the word about that idea, that HSIs are that robust, that HSIs do served large populations of students. And sometimes some of the most neediest students that require more money, right, for their funding. And so I just think that’s very interesting. I think—I don’t think a whole lot of people know about it or understand that. I had a faculty member at a different institution actually question me, because I had read that somewhere. And I think we need to talk more about it. So I’m just wondering your thoughts about coalition building and what else we can do, and how other ways that HACU needs our support to make that happen. FLORES: Thank you for your excellent question, Ms. Cervantes. And let me share with you that last week I was in Washington, D.C. most of the week and met with a number of Congress individually, including your great senator, Mr. Lujan. And guess what? There was a lot of good conversation about that point. And I have also talked with a number of African American members of Congress who didn’t know that, and who actually had themselves—(background noise)—and who actually have themselves a significant number of HSIs in their districts. And they didn’t know that they had all these HSIs in their districts. And so I think the word is getting out there. And, more importantly, the appreciation for the fact that these institutions really are very diverse, and not only do they educate the vast majority of Latinos and Latinas, but they also educate a larger number, as we said, of African Americans and others than the HBCUs, for example. And they didn’t know that. And then—so I think that mindset might begin to change, because at the end of the day the funding and support should be focused on the students. And ultimately, if you help the neediest of students you have the more diverse population, but you have the fewest dollars per student coming from Congress. There has to be something wrong there with that equation. So there is an inequity that we are, as an association, trying to remedy. And we need all the help we can get from all—our own Latino organizations and HSIs, but also from others including the HBCUs. It’s not about reducing funding for them or anything like that. They can and should be getting even more. But not—but HSIs shouldn’t be treated as second-class institutions. They are not. They are the backbone, again, of America’s labor force, in terms of training that labor force to be competitive in the global economy. So they have to be treated appropriately and equitably. Basically, it’s about equity in terms of funding. And right now, things are not at all equitable, but we’re changing that gradually. And thank you for your question. Q: Gracias. FASKIANOS: So we have a written—several written questions. So Sandra Castro, who is assistant dean of the undergraduate programs at Adelphi University says: What recommendations do you have for institutions that are striving to become HSIs in preparing for this designation? What internal changes and institutional infrastructure is necessary to truly serve the Latino student body? FLORES: I will suggest three things. One is, begin to work more closely with institutions that are already HSIs and that are doing a good job being HSIs, that are recognized for having, as they say, best practices with respect to being an HSI. And learn from them. Learn how it is that they do what they do well. And begin to then—and the second point is, educate your own leadership at your institution about how they can be much more effective and receptive to the inevitable demographic change in their student population to become an HSI, and how they can make the most of it in terms of student success, and also learning the ropes of how to get grants and funding to improve services for this population. And the third thing that I would recommend very strongly is that, you know, take a very hard look at all of your outreach and marketing materials, and revise them accordingly so that you reflect that commitment to diversity, in particular to Latino inclusion, in terms of bilingual materials and outreach to families and communities. Because many times the decision about whether to go to college or where to go to college by a student is really influenced very heavily by the family, the parents particularly, because of the tremendous pressure that many of them have in starting to work to contribute to the family income, because they come from low-income families. So working with those families and making them aware of the importance of getting a degree, a college degree, and postponing some of that lower-income—some of the minimum-wage salary that they could get as a high school graduate, and working with those families is very important. Working in their language and culture is even more important for some of them. FASKIANOS: Great. I think this is a good segue to the next question from Eric Hoffman, who got an upvote. He’s the dean of the Honors College at Miami Dade College. And his question is: How can we get the Hispanic and Latinx students out of their community and expand their aspirations to colleges and universities in states and areas far from home? FLORES: Well, you know, it’s an excellent question, in the sense that historically—because these are first-generation college students for the most part, whose families have not had the opportunity to educate themselves in college. And their temptation is to stay home. Especially sometimes it’s worse for female students to move away from home. And my suggestion is that you, again, will work with those families as closely as you can to make them aware of the fact that moving away doesn’t mean—moving away physically doesn’t mean moving away from the family otherwise, that they will ultimately remain connected to the family. And now with technology it’s even easier. You know, we have Facetime. We have all kinds of other ways of interacting that were not available just some years ago. And they ultimately need to consider the best options in terms of financial aid and the quality of education they’re going to get, and a few of the studies that they want to pursue. Sometimes all of those things are not available locally, so you have to go where all of those are. And I think that once there is a process of education for the family in that regard, they tend to be much more flexible. We experience some of that with our own national internship program, because we place them primarily in the Washington area, but also in other places. And I personally get to intervene sometimes with some families in their language, in Spanish, to reassure them that the young woman that was going to be placed somewhere else in Washington, D.C. or elsewhere was going to be OK, and she was going to come back home after the ten-week experience, or fifteen-week internship. And, guess what? After they experienced that, their siblings—they were trailblazers for their siblings and for neighbors, and all that. Now we don’t have that problem, at least with our internship program. We have thousands of applicants and, unfortunately, we can only place about five hundred a year, annually. And so it does pay off to invest in working with families closely. And again, it’s a generational effect, because then younger siblings or relatives will not have that kind of issue going forward. FASKIANOS: You had mentioned that you were in D.C. last week meeting with members of Congress. And we obviously have a new secretary of education, Dr. Cardona. Have you seen a shift from the Biden administration in their approach and what they’re doing from a federal level to support the HSIs? FLORES: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there is just no question about that. The shift has been dramatic. And this administration and Congress are—have shifted gears and are actually investing more than anything else in people, investing in the economy to create more jobs, investing in education to prepare the labor force much better, investing in health to protect people from not just the pandemic but from other diseases that we experience. And just in general, the infrastructure, they just passed that bill in the House, is to improve the lives of people across cities, across states, by improving their infrastructure. It is not just about roads and bridges. It is also about water systems that are decaying and are affecting the health of people. It is about the lack of access to broadband connectivity. It is all of those things that will improve the lives of people. And so there, no question. And HSIs have improved—again, not to the extent that they should be supported. But we are in a much better situation now than we were just a couple of years ago. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take Nathan Carter’s written question, and then Mike Lenaghan, I know you wrote a comment/question in the chat, but I’d love for you just to raise it and speak it, because I’m afraid I might not get it exactly correct. So Nathan Carter from Northern Virginia Community College in the Washington D.C. metro area. I am the—NOVA’s chief diversity equity and inclusion officer. We are an emerging HSI. When we look at our enrollment data here in fall 2021, we see a clear decline in quote/unquote “new” Hispanic students, both male and female. We wish to discuss this growing issue and recognize what may be the current obstacles or community issues happening right now in the Hispanic community that will help us explain what we see and how we can reach out to the Hispanic community to help address what could be a growing problem across various states. So I think if you could comment on that, and how to, you know, have that discussion. FLORES: Well, thank you for that question. It’s something that, of course, has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Because a lot of our colleges and universities, HSIs and others, did not have the endowments or the money to immediately make—shift gears in the direction of the technology required to move from in-person to online teaching and learning, and to train faculty and staff to manage all of those new systems. And that’s on the institutional side, that there was that kind of reality of not getting all of the necessary resources to make that shift immediately and successfully. On the receiving end you have families and communities that do not always have the connectivity to broadband and the devices at home and the space at home to learn online. And so it was a one-two punch—institutional and students were hit very hard. And therefore, many of them withdrew. And apart from the fact that when it comes to the rate of infection, hospitalization and death, Latinos were worse hit than any other population, so much so that during the pandemic Latinos shrank their life expectancy by three years, compared to two years for Black and 0.68 years, so less than a year, for non-Hispanic Whites. So you do have all of those things. And ultimately, that means that the students served by these institutions come from those very families that were hardest hit in their health as well. So they couldn’t go to school. They were trying to survive. And many did not. And so there was a drop in the enrollment, and particularly at community colleges, is where the—they were the hardest hit with respect to that, just like that community that is emerging as an HSI. So we are pushing very hard for that to be remedied, not just for the pandemic, but for the long term. Because I think the hybrid models of teaching and learning should—will remain in place for the long haul. And we need to make sure that those families, those communities that have been historically underserved and underfunded get that necessary technology at home to do that type of educational experience. We also need to make sure that the institutions that are suffering the most get the most help to beef up their infrastructure. And not just in terms of technology, but also in terms of expanding classrooms and also creating labs that are very expensive to create for technology of science or engineering types of degrees, which are the most in demand. And in some states, it’s even—it’s worse than in others because a lot of students are homeless. A lot of students are homeless. And in a state like California, where we have the largest concentration of Latinos, for example, that problem has been rampant and recognized by the state as a huge priority. So what they need to do is also build affordable housing even on campuses, so that those students have a place to live in a decent, humane way. And so there are many things that come to create this perfect storm against populations like low-income Latinos, and African Americans, and others. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to ask Mike Lenaghan to ask his question live. Q: Thank you very much, Irina. And it’s a pleasure to see you, Dr. Flores. I am Mike Lenaghan from Miami Dade College, and truly cherish the empowerment we’ve enjoyed through the vehicle of HACU. It’s been my experience, basically with a great deal of labor-intensive and purposeful leadership development, to have my scholars—just me, as one faculty member—successfully transfer to over 139 colleges and universities in the United States, all of whom required financial support and almost all of whom were able to avoid loans. This is over a twenty-year period. My question is: How might I, as a faculty member, also someone who’s labor-intensive, be empowered, possibly mediated by HACU, to share basically how to set up my Hispanic students and their families and their relatives for the kind of success my scholars have enjoyed at Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Georgetown, UVA, Duke, UCal Berkeley, and so on? Which, when the right combination of chemistry and self-identification occurs, each of my Hispanic/Latinx scholars basically knows what they uniquely bring and add, as well as what they uniquely can address and engage in each school. I realize I am just a microcosm in a larger macrocosm, but I’m wondering does HACU have a role to play that might mediate some education and sharing, not just a book or a strategy, but something that could be shared, including some of what I like to call my all-stars, who have enjoyed operating in the context of HACU as a launching pad. Thank you, sir. FLORES: Thank you for your very, very important work, Professor Lenaghan. And thank you for your very caring teaching and supporting our students, your scholars. And ultimately, you have a lot to offer to the academic community as a faculty who cares about these students not only doing well but excelling and going to places that perhaps their families never thought of them being able to go. And I think it begins with learning from people like you what is it you’ve been doing so well to help those that you have helped to excel. And HACU can be a platform for you to share that. We ultimately have annual conferences and other meetings where your expertise and your success can be shared with others to adapt it to their own needs and replicate what you’ve been doing so well in other places, so that many more can go onto those very selective institutions, and others. And of course, I don’t know if we’ve been connecting—I insist on this point, on connecting with families, because many of the Latino families—and maybe in the Miami area it’s a little different because a lot of the Cuban and South American families perhaps come from a more middle-class background than in places like Texas or California. And maybe they had already some collegiate experience in their home countries, and they immigrated there, or whatever. But that helps a lot, OK? When they come with that background. But when they don’t, when they are immigrants who come without even a high school diploma from their home countries, and they don’t know the language, their highest expectation is at least to get their high school diploma and start working somewhere. And so taking them to the next level, it takes a lot of work. And it takes a lot of work in terms of making sure that they understand that if their child has the talent, and has the persistence and discipline, et cetera, et cetera, to go places, that they can be very helpful to him or her in ensuring that there is a space at home where they can study, that they do concentrate on their studies, and that they really aim for those places that you mentioned and don’t settle for second-best of going to some institution, but make that their goal: I’m going to go to X or Y Ivy League or very selective institution because I have with it takes, but it’s going to take a lot of nurturing and support. And the parents can be very helpful, even if they don’t have an education, by really making sure that their child has the space and the time at home to concentrate and study. That will go a long way. But really, let them flourish. And so HACU can be a platform in three different ways. One is, allowing individuals like yourself, who are excelling in their teaching, to share their best practices with others. Secondly, we also, of course, have to recognize that we have some programs already in HACU that are very effective, especially those that are focused on moving a critical mass into STEM degrees. And we’re going to emphasize that even more going forward. And thirdly, that we, as an association, have the ability to influence federal agencies and others—and corporations to invest in the kinds of practices that you may be successful at. And I’ll give you a couple examples. We just got a planning grant from NSF, HACU did. And we are almost done with the planning for one year, because we want to submit a multiyear, multimillion grant to NSF with an emphasis on moving as high as possible, to the PhD. in fact, Latinos all the way from community college up to the research one institutions. And we are working on that proposal to be submitted early next year. But we could, I’m sure, learn from what you’re doing. And so we could influence agencies to also invest more. We have a new program under NSF for HSIs that you can apply for a grant to expand what you’re doing with more students, more parents. And the same thing is true with respect to other agencies. I was just in Washington last week and met with the undersecretary of the Department of Commerce to discuss the technology program, where our institutions will each have a role to play. And so we have the role of advocating and influencing agencies and Congress to invest in institutions like yours, Miami Dade, and professors like you, so that you can do more of exactly what you are doing. So please feel free to send us an email at HACU. You can send it to my attention. And I’ll make sure that it finds its way to the right staff in charge of the kinds of programs that you are dealing with. We do have great staff that follows up on situations like yours. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. We will circulate after this an email with some of the resources you’ve mentioned and the email that we should be sharing, Dr. Flores. So we have another question, and it follows onto Mike’s question, from Arturo Osorio, who’s an associate professor at Rutgers University. Any advice or programs that you know to help connect the parents of the Hispanic Latino Students to the higher education experience? Many of our students are first-generation Americans and also first-generation college students. This creates a large cultural and experiential gap for parents to bridge on their understanding of what kids are going through and support them. As a result, many of the students have very stressful moments as they navigate away from the family to their college life. FLORES: Yeah. Excellent question. And my suggestion is that please send us an email. We have an office in HACU that is designated to promote pre-K-12 and higher education collaboration. The executive director of that office is Jeanette Morales. Jeanette Morales has a team, and they work with clusters or consortia of colleges, universities and K-12 schools, particularly secondary schools, to move out successfully many more of those underserved students to college and be better prepared to succeed in college. It is more substantive than just a college visitation thing or admissions officers talking with them at an event. They actually have early college interventions for high school students. So they actually earn even college credit when they are creating high school for the most advanced students. But they also have opportunity for professors from some of those universities and community college to teach as visiting teachers in those high schools, where they may not get the resources to hire faculty for advanced courses and for the courses that are required to be successful in especially STEM degrees, like advanced math, advanced science, and so forth. So that office and our association has been in place for the last seventeen years. It was that far back when we first saw that more than half of the battle to succeed in college has to be won in K-12. And it has to be won with families on your side, because first-generation college students do depend largely on families to make decision after high school. So please feel free to contact Jeanette Morales or myself in my email at our San Antonio headquarters. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. We are at the end of our time. I just wanted to ask if you could just do really briefly what you’re doing internationally to encourage—you know, and we don’t have a lot of time. But I don’t want to leave without—you had told me in our pre-call just a little bit. So if I you could just give us a wrap-up on that, that would be fantastic. FLORES: Yeah. We think of international education not as an appendage, not as a luxury, not as an add-on proposition, but as an integral part of a college education, in this case. And we hope that the vast majority of our young people will have a chance to experience a study abroad. And of course, it’s like a big dream, because right now if you look at the numbers, only about 5 to 7 percent, max, of all the 350,000 American students going to study abroad are Latino. And the same number, roughly the same percentage, is African Americans and others. And conversely, only about maybe 3 percent of all the students coming from other countries come from Latin America—1.3 percent only from Mexico, which is right next door to us, OK? So that has to change. And it has to change because people who have an international experience ultimately expand their horizons and their vision of the world and are more effective not only professionals but citizens of the world. And we feel that it is very important for our young people to do that, not as a—as a kind of a luxury, or anything like that, but as an integral part of their development as professionals. And so we plan on being even more keen on affecting legislation that will provide more resources for our institutions and international programming, and ourselves as an association being much more engaged in getting more international institutions to affiliate with us to promote that mobility, that experience, independent of whether the government decides to invest or not. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you very much. Antonio Flores, this has been really a great discussion. And thanks to everybody for their terrific questions and comments. We really appreciate it. HACU is lucky to have you. We’re fortunate to have you leading this great association. As I mentioned, we will send out a link to this webinar, also some of the resources you mentioned, email addresses and the like. And I’m sure everybody knows it, but it’s worth repeating, the HACU website, HACU.net. You can follow them on Twitter at @HACUnews. So go there. You can also follow us at @CFR_Academic. And please go to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for CFR’s resources on international affairs and the like. So I hope you’re all staying well. Dr. Flores, thank you again. And we look forward to your continuing involvement in this webinar series. The next invitation will be for December, and we will be sending that out under separate cover. FLORES: Thank you very much, Irina. Thank you, everyone. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: Civic Engagement in Higher Education
    Play
    Brian Mateo, associate dean of civic engagement and director of strategic partnerships in Bard College’s Globalization and International Affairs Program and security fellow at the Truman National Security Project, discusses how higher education administrators can encourage student civic engagement and participation in global issues.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic if you would like to reference after today’s discussion. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. So with that, I’m delighted to have the pleasure of introducing Brian Mateo to talk about how higher education administrators can encourage student civic engagement and participation in global issues. We’ve shared his bio with you, so I’ll just give you a few highlights. Mr. Mateo serves as associate dean of civic engagement at Bard College, where he works with faculty and students across the Open Society University Network on experiential learning and civic engagement opportunities. Previously he worked with public diplomacy programs sponsored by the U.S. State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on U.S. foreign policy and engagement. He’s also a security fellow at the Truman National Security Project, a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a trained climate reality leader under former Vice President Al Gore. So, Brian, thank you very much for being with us. If we could just dive right in to talk about what is the role of higher education in civic engagement? How do you define it, and how do you encourage administrators and students to get more involved? MATEO: Thank you very much for having me here today at the Council on Foreign Relations, Irina. I’m very excited for this opportunity. So, yes, what is the role of higher education institutions when it comes to civic engagement? So the American Psychological Association defines civic engagement as individuals and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern. At the core of Bard’s mission is to be a private college in the public interest. And how we do that is by providing access and education, especially for students that are underrepresented or may not have access to a liberal arts education. This is evidenced by our Bard Early Colleges, which are high school—which are for high school aged students that can take up to a year or two years of free college credit to be able to accelerate their college career. It’s also evidenced by our Bard Prison Initiative, which is the largest prison education program for incarcerated individuals in the nation. So when we think about how do we do this, I see—I can’t help but think about Astin’s model of student development, which says that for students that are hyper-involved in their institutions, they get to be more engaged and involved, and the quality of their involvement goes up. And if we provide high level of programs and resources, students are more likely to be engaged. And then Astin also encourages us to make sure that we are providing resources and programmatic efforts that are meeting the needs of the students today. And I will begin to talk about how we do this from the student level, the faculty/staff level, institutionally, and also talk about how we work with communities. And before I begin, Bard also is a founding member of the Open Society University Network, which is comprised of over forty academic and research institutions. So not only are we also collaborating with our local communities, we also have a transnational network that we’re working with. So how do you engage students? We do this by making sure that we’re merging the curricular and co-curricular learning. This is also evidenced by our Certificate of Civic Engagement Program, which is a structured path for undergraduate students that are interested in deepening their knowledge and understanding of civic engagement and community engagement. And students are able to participate in this program and also earn a certificate that will also be added to their transcript. We also provide students with grants and opportunities to pursue internships that are unpaid, which are—which are called Community Act Awards. So students that find unpaid internships related to civic engagement and also social justice issues can apply for a grant to be able to supplement that, and making it more equitable for our students. We also provide what are called microgrants, which are seed funding for students that want to be able to do community-based projects. For faculty and staff, we encourage them to teach courses on experiential learning. And these courses enable students to not only work with the community but bring the community also into our classroom. And looking at David Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, where students need—where students start with concrete experience, work on reflection, and also thinking about the experience while then planning and learning what they’ve—and executing what they’ve learned, is very important when it comes to civic engagement work because students are—students are introduced to some of these issues in the classroom, and then they have the ability to work through those issues with a professor and community members as well. And some example of these courses are—I teach a course on civic engagement myself, where the course is historical, theoretical, and experiential. And we look at social movements in America that help effect change. And we look at the civil rights movement, women rights, LGBT rights, climate activism and climate action, as well as the role of the media and what is misinformation and disinformation. And in this course, students also have to conduct what’s called the Community Needs Assessment. And the Community Needs Assessment, students come with a research question and then work to interview community members to see what are the issues that are happening there. For faculty that also want to learn more about how to create courses on experiential learning, we also offer an experiential leaning institute where faculty from the OSUN network can participate. And then students—examples of work that faculty have done with students have been implementing a digital platform to assist with teaching or tutoring practices, historical tours and workshops, and also storytelling and interviews of community partners as well. Faculty that teach experiential learning, students say that about 89 percent of them say that engagement this way has helped their awareness to social justice and community issues. And in 2020 we had over eight hundred students that participated in about eighty courses. And those courses worked with ninety-five community agencies or organizations. We also help faculty and graduate students on conducting engaged research and scholarship practice. So some of examples of these are looking at LGBT issues in South Africa, the intersection of how music supports education with people—with people with disabilities, and also peacebuilding and storytelling as well. And we also help staff and faculty create civic action plans, which help colleges around the OSUN network institutionalize civic engagement and strategically think of how these four pillars can work together. While working with community partners, we’re also very intentional in making sure that we have equitable practices. We developed what’s called the Principles of Equity, where faculty/staff and community members can read on our website on how we work with the community, and making sure that it’s reciprocal, making sure that it’s—that we’re deepening and creating sustainable partnerships while also engaging community with resources and developing shared resources as well that can benefit both the community and students and the institution. When it comes to institutional engagement, I gave examples of the Bard Early Colleges and Bard Prison Initiative. Bard has also been able to work with student-led—with other student-led initiatives that have become part of the institution. Examples of these as well are Brothers At, which is a mentoring and college-readiness program nationwide for young men of color, as well as Sister to Sister, that does similar work but with young women of color. And recently, Bard also has worked with trying to evacuate nearly two hundred Afghan students and helping them get an education throughout our network as well. So those are some examples of institutional engagement at Bard—at Bard as well. And I constantly think to myself: What is it that we want our students to gain when they participate in our—in our program, or engage with our network? And looking back at Astin’s theory of student involvement, we see that Astin talks about inputs, which are what students come with, the environment, what is it that we’re providing for our students, and the outputs. As a result of a student attending our universities, what is it that we want them to get out of this, aside from just, you know, the academic knowledge. But how do we want them to be involved? And in my opinion, I feel like there’s a few outputs that we would want, as higher education administrators. And I’ll state them and then conclude my presentation. So I strongly believe that, you know, we want them to be critical thinkers. We want them to understand and practice equity, be strategic problem solvers, understand the power of reflection and active listening, community builders, practice empathy, be lifelong learners, and also ultimately be engaged individuals. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Brian, thank you very much. Let’s go to all of you now. (Gives queuing instructions.)  So I’m going to go first go to Manuel Montoya. Please unmute yourself and tell us your institution. Q: Yeah. Hello. My name’s Manuel Montoya and I am from the University of New Mexico. Thank you, Irina, for setting this up. I think this is an important discussion. And thank you, Mr. Mateo, for your presentation. I’m pleased to hear all the work that you’re doing. That’s inspiring. I will, I guess, do two parts. I will share some of the work that I’ve done and then share a question that I think is germane to this particular issue. We recently set up a global experiential learning curriculum at the university that is designed to get students to merge theory with practice and some sort of practical impact in terms of the global economy and other things. And we have a—we have a group of students that work with the largest folk art market in the world, which is based in Santa Fe. And we’re trying to get them to work with indigenous communities throughout the world to try to have a larger platform for market entry. And we’re—we’ve been in talks for the past four years to try to get the Olympic games to have some sort of mini pop-up folk art market that represents these types of market activities. And inside of that there is a lot of issues about human rights, but also about the value of crafting economy. There’s all sorts of things that students are trying to engage with that require a liberal arts education. My question, or my frustration, often happens at places that aren’t like Bard College, places that don’t necessarily see community-engaged learning as having some sort of incentive structure for faculty. I’m one of many faculty members that does that, likely because I care about the issues and also because I think that it does make research and other forms of academic and intellectual contributions valuable. So my question to Mr. Mateo, or just generally to whoever’s participating, is how are we creating an incentive structure for faculty and for other people who are engaged within the university system to make this transition to do the kind of work that Mr. Mateo is talking about? And what is that—what is that going to take in places that are embedded a little bit more traditionally in the way that higher education either incentivizes or evaluates faculty and stuff in more traditional ways? MATEO: Yes. Thank you so much for your question. And it’s a question that we’re all grappling with, right, as well. Some of us—some of us are doing the work deeper and, you know, sometimes taking risks, and others are in the inception piece. So I’ll elaborate by saying this: Students more and more are asking how do I apply what I’m learning in the classroom to a job? How do I make sure that, as a result of me attending this institution, I’m also going to be competitive or be able to contribute to society, right? So I think that—I think that more and more institutions and faculty are thinking about this, because you—you know, students are less inclined to go be taught something and not be able to apply it. At the same time, students also want to see themselves, their history, and also what’s going on in the community into the curriculum too. So this is also driving the conversation. It is not easy to teach courses on experiential learning. It takes a lot of time. It also takes resources. And you have to embed reflection and community engagement into the syllabus. And sometimes when you’re teaching two days a week for an hour or an hour and a half—you know, fifteen-week curriculum for the semester, that can be difficult to do. So what we’ve done is that we’ve developed an experiential learning institute to help faculty understand how to bring this thing into it, how to work with community, how to start that timeline. Because it’s very different to develop a syllabus than to bring in community, because you sometimes have to start setting that up earlier. And also, we provide grants to support them to be able to do either—to buy resources for transportation, if they need to hire a student intern to help them with this work as well. So those are some of the ways that we have tried to do this. I also want to talk about data and assessment, because I can’t stress enough how much—how important that is. Because when you’re measuring students’ learning and you see that their learning has grown exponentially from an experiential based course, you cannot argue with that, right? So we try to do our best to make sure that we are—that we’re also assessing learning and making sure that when—that when we are asking for funding or that when we are trying to create new programs and initiatives, that we are doing this not only evidence-based in theory and practice, but also on the data that proves that this is something that is of a benefit to the community, to our students, and our institution. Q: Thank you, Mr. Mateo. I guess I have one follow-up question, if it’s permissible, Irina. FASKIANOS: Sure. Go ahead, Manuel. Q: Yeah, yeah. So I think you’re entirely right. I think that assessment at the student level and the student engagement level, being able to see how this connects to the vocational and even their social destinies is a really, really important factor. I’ve noted that many institutions across the country are having a great difficulty trying to incorporate or embed community engagement as how they evaluate their faculty. And I’m a tenured faculty at the university, and it’s a research one institution. It’s not a liberal arts institution. But, you know, publish or perish becomes still one of the ways in which I’m evaluated. So I have to—I have to attend to this kind of master of publishing in peer-reviewed journals, while at the same time my heart and really the most effective work that I do is during community engagement work. So I guess my question is also fundamentally about how we’re—how we’re transforming institutions to be able to adapt and really incorporate the type of community engagement work that you’re talking about, Mr. Mateo, while at the same time valuing and validating its value with the assessment of faculty every year. Because I would say that you’d get a ton of faculty who’d be really good at doing this kind of work, but they’re disincentivized to do it because they’re only evaluated by their peer-reviewed journal work. So how does one connect the two? What is the frontier for that in higher education that you guys have seen? And I’d really, really like to know, because I think that’s going to be a really important part of the frontier of what higher education is dealing with. MATEO: Well, yes, thank you. And, you know, as a field of higher education we’re here not only teach, but provide knowledge, and hopefully that that knowledge helps better communities or help create an awareness, right? So that’s something that needs to—that needs to be a driving source and conversation because, you know, what we try to do is to incentivize faculty whenever they aren’t conducting research, and also students as well, when they want to do community-based work, to see who they can partner with, how they can go about and do that. And making sure that we’re amplifying voices and showing the level of work that people are doing so, like, that their work can be recognized and that it also shows that there’s a value to this as well. So that’s what I would say there. It’s still something that I think institutions grapple with, but more and more I believe that as institutions begin to see the value of being civically engaged, because at the end of the day, you know, we all also exist in the community. Our colleges and our campuses are within our community, within a community, within a domestic national and international realm. And, you know, what is it that we want to do? We want to contribute. And that’s one of the reasons why we also provide engaged research grants for faculty too. So I hope that that answers your question, Manuel, and I’m happy to elaborate more. Q: I’ll yield to other questions. But thank you very much. I appreciate it. FASKIANOS: I’m going to go next to Laila Bichara, who has a raised hand. And if you could unmute and identify your institution. Q: Hi. Well, I work for SUNY Farmingdale. And generally speaking, I teach with experiential learning. I use all kinds of newspapers and case studies and current affairs to make sure that the theory we cover in global business, you know, management and all other courses are, you know, applied and showing the results and what’s going on. That said, I am currently serving on an adjunct staff to work on couple of issues. One is social mobility and the second is community engagement, and I see a lot of interrelation between this and experiential learning. And I just wanted to see if there is any work done or papers done in the social mobility, because our students are typically first-generation college students. They don’t have role models at home and they rely heavily on us to guide them, and they’re usually kids or, you know, students in their twenties that have two or three jobs to pay for their education. So any ideas, any links, any guidance for me to start to make advancement in that project and help my students. MATEO: Great. Thank you. So what I hear you say is that looking at the linkages between social mobility, community engagement, and which one was the third one? Q: Experiential learning as well. MATEO: Experiential learning. Yes. Q: Yeah. It’s all a kind of, like, spiral to me. You know, that’s how I see it. MATEO: Yes. So when allowing students to do experiential learning into the classroom and bringing into the classroom, you’re also helping them get applied skills, and yes, so there is at times a level of—a disadvantage when a student is working three jobs while also studying and then you’re telling them like, oh, go volunteer, or go do this, right. By embedding experiential learning into the curriculum, you’re still teaching students with some of these applicable skills that they can use as a part of a resume and also can speak to in an interview and saying, like, this is how I was able to do this as evidenced by that, right. And that, in turn, helps students to be able to find other opportunities as well. In terms of links, so we do have resources at our Center for Civic Engagement website, which is cce.bard.edu, and there’s a resource link there, and then we also have resources as well on our OSUN website, osun.bard.edu. So those are—those are places that you that you can find some of these resources. FASKIANOS: Great. And we’ll send out after this a link to this webinar as well as with those URLs so that people—websites so people can go back and dig deeper. So I’m going to go next to David Kim’s written question. He’s an assistant professor at UCLA. Thank you for this discussion. I’d like to hear more about insights into community engagement on an international or global level. What are some best practices when faculty, communities, and students work across borders—international borders? How are they different from community engagement at a local or national level? MATEO: Thank you. So we have to be aware of, you know, what we can provide and also what is it—what are some of the needs or how it can be reciprocal. So a lot of listening and intentionality has to be brought into it because sometimes, you know, we can come in with our own mindset of, oh, this is how we do it and we do it well, and then you meet other counterparts and then they’re, like, well, but this is also another way of doing it. So there has to be a collaborative and reciprocal way or a mutual, respectful, reciprocal way of engaging, and, typically, you know, how we’ve done that is that we’ve partnered with other universities. We’ve also seen who are the community partners that are there in the international realm and how we can work around that, too. So I would say being intentional, making sure that you have capacity for what you are doing so, like, that you can deliver and also having a mutual reciprocal approach as well as active listening, and be willing to learn also from our international partners, too. FASKIANOS: I think, Brian, you mentioned that you were looking at LGBTQ+ issues in South Africa. Do you have any partnerships? Can you sort of give us examples of how you’re doing that? MATEO: Yes. That’s one of the research grants that we have provided to someone to be able to do that research. So the individual there is partnered with organizations and are conducting that research, and once that research is done we will make sure to publish it. FASKIANOS: Great. OK. I’m going to go next to Isaac Castellano from Boise State University. Our career center just landed a grant to pilot a program to pay students for their internship experiences. For us, a lot of students—our students have to work and this is another way beyond embedding experiential learning into their coursework. So I think he’s sharing more than asking a question, but maybe you have a reaction to that. MATEO: Yes, and thank you so much, Isaac. So yeah. So we piloted this a couple of years ago and it’s been very successful, and the way that it—the way that it works is it’s for summer internships and students can request up to $3,000 for any unpaid internship. And we have them submit an application as well as a supervisor form and an agreement of what the students will be doing for that organization. And then, in return, the students will write one to two reflection papers on their experience, and then when they come back to campus the next semester they get to present about their experience and what they’ve done for that internship. So that’s how we—that’s how we run our community action awards, and it’s been super successful. It has been able to provide access to students that wouldn’t otherwise be able to do an unpaid internship, and the students submit a budget of up to $2,000 and then we see how we can—how we can help fund that. So I highly encourage you to definitely do that pilot, and if you do want any other insight or how to be able to do that, I’m happy to share my email as well with Irina when she sends out the resources. FASKIANOS: Great. And Isaac has a follow-up. Where does the money come from, that paid summer program that you’re talking about? MATEO: It could—grants. We also try to fund—try to find funding and resources as well. So it comes through various sources, and so that’s how we try to support our students. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. OK. So the next question is another written question. And people can ask their questions, too, but this is from Chip Pitts at Stanford University. Have you encountered obstacles in this environment characterized by major demographic changes and increasing polarization, e.g., mandates against critical race theory, based on the perceived political nature, even leftist nature of, quote/unquote, “social justice” and “human rights” or “environmental community engagement efforts”? And if so, or for those in places where there are more conservative values, what have you seen or would you suggest to shore up and spur more courage and leadership among the reluctant or shy faculty and administrators and overcome and avoid such blockages? MATEO: Mmm hmm. Thank you. So you have to meet communities where they’re at, right, and making sure that they also understand that we’re here to work with them, too, and this is why active listening and making sure that there is a reciprocal approach to this is important. And it’s not—sometimes it can be fairly easy to be able to say, hey, we want to collaborate with you, and other times it can be extremely difficult and tenuous. But continuing to demonstrate and show the level of learning or how that community is continuously being engaged is something that’s very important because, in my opinion, I think that sometimes, you know, we have a hard time of showing all the great work that we’re doing, and in order for us to be able to partner and work more with community members we also have to show the research and demonstrate and be able to present this so people understand what we are trying to do. So there are times that it is challenging, and there are some things that will work with some communities and some things that will not. So where then are you able to then find what can work and how you can make it happen, and then from there be able to build up from there—from the ground up. So yeah, so there are some communities where you can do, like, one to ten things and then other communities that you can do one to three things and, hopefully, that you can start to do four or five, but then how do you still provide that access and education and equity as well. FASKIANOS: Brian, what would you say are the—in your opinion, the global issues students are most interested in? And, you know, if a college can only take on or faculty can only take on one issue that they’re trying to push, you know, what would be the one, or to drive a—foster more civic engagement? What do you think would be a viable and a good starting—steppingstone to sort of expand this into their community and both on campus and off? MATEO: Wow. That’s a great question, Irina. I would say that students are very interested in gender equity, LGBT. They’re also very interested in making sure that underrepresented populations are included in conversations, as well as awareness in disability. An all-encompassing issue that students are also passionate about because most of them experience this globally every day is climate change, and making sure that, you know, how we can engage students through there. So that—so out of everything that I mentioned, this also encompasses these issues as a major one, and Bard, through the Open Society University Network, is actually having a global teach-in, which is—you can find this in the Solve Climate by ’30 and I can send the link to Irina as well—where all colleges and universities can come in and do a global teach-in and as well get resources, and we’re providing opportunities for students around the world to also be able to receive opportunity to get engaged, too. So we’re doing this in March, and we’re trying to get a robust number of institutions to participate in this because climate doesn’t only affect, you know, our living environment, but it also affects students’ educational pursuits. Harvard conducted a study called Heat and Learning that showed that for every degree Fahrenheit that goes up student learning goes down by 1 percent. It’s also shown disparities that—you know, climate change also has, you know, a disproportionate effect on young people of color because of regions where people live in cold and hot environments, as well as disparities when it comes to gender. Women are more likely to be taken out of the classroom when there are climate change disasters to be caretakers, and we’re also seeing a rise in child marriages because of that, too. You know, it also—you also talk about sanitation when it comes to climate change and educational environments. You know, if you start to—if your building starts to get moldy and also if students start to get sick because of the infrastructure or it gets too hot, you’re going to see an increased rate of students showing up—not showing up and being absent or dropout rates as well. So climate change exacerbates or, as it’s called, a threat multiplier, and this is something that as higher education administrators we have to also make sure that we are—that we’re constantly thinking and showing how can we, based on students’ interests, can help to solve climate as well. FASKIANOS: Great. So if others have questions—Manuel, I don’t know if you had a follow-on. You said you would cede the floor but you can come back on. You can raise your hand or write—type your question in the Q&A box, or I could ask more. Just waiting to see if Manuel wanted to come back in. OK. There is a—oh, Manuel said his question was answered. OK. Great. So—sorry, I’m just looking—toggling a lot of things. All right. So my next question would be—you did talk about this earlier—you know, there has been a lot written about what is a college education worth, and I think this connection of the critical thinking and the internships and the experiential learning. But could you talk a little bit more about students’ educational performance and career path and how they can leverage these—you know, what they’re doing, civic engagement, into their future career plans? MATEO: Yes. Thank you. FASKIANOS: And then I have another random question. Mmm hmm. MATEO: Yes. So helping students to understand that some of the work that they do outside of a classroom could also translate both inside as well because when I have—when I see students when they’re thinking about their career path, they’re like, oh, but I’ve never done an internship before, or, oh, but I’ve never actually had a job here or there. But then when you start to look at the classes that they’re taking and the application piece in those courses, you can sort of say, yes, but you also in this course did storytelling of a community and also created a podcast. So this is also an application piece where you can add to your resume, too. So helping students to think and link experiential learning to application, and demonstrating that is definitely an added plus, and this is why a lot of these courses are also very popular and very highly rated for students because they’re starting—they start to see that they’re also gaining transferable skills while engaging in these courses, too, that they can then add to their resume and be able to speak to at an interview as well. Like, I’ll give you the example of the community needs assessment that the students that I work with conduct. You know, they can talk about research. They can talk about, you know, being able to work with communities. They also have to interview a leader in that community, whether that be a politician or a school leader or anyone. You know, so there are skills that they can then say here are some tangible outcomes as a result of this assignment, and that’s why experiential learning can also help when it comes to merging career paths for students. FASKIANOS: Great. So a few more questions in the chat. Jim Zaffiro, who is at Central College, has asked what recommendations would you have for incorporating civic engagement into a common first-year experience course? MATEO: Mmm hmm. Yes. So looking back at Astin’s model of input-environment-outputs, right, so we need to figure out, like, you know, how can we create a baseline for students to best understand what it means to be civically engaged and the environments piece of it. So what I would say, making sure that they understand the community they’re a part of, what are some of the issues and needs, providing reflection for them to talk about how they have been engaged, how do they see themselves as engaged citizens and providing opportunities for them to get exposure to working with community members and working outside of the community as well. So we do this starting from our orientational language and thinking, where we start to not only provide articles and readings on this but we’re also getting students to volunteer and get—and having students to think about how they want—how they want to be involved, and showing them a lot of the student-led initiatives that we offer that they can either get involved or start on their own. And then throughout the first year they also have what’s called the Citizen Science Program, which is a January term, where students start to see how science and citizenship come together and work together. And during that time, we also have our MLK Day of Engagement, which is a day for students to also go out and volunteer into the community and reflect on their volunteer work as well. So that’s kind of how we’ve embedded a lot of engagement for our first-years to making sure that we’re providing them with engagement, adding courses for them to think about what does it mean to be engaged in either a civic engagement course or experiential learning courses and opportunities throughout the year for them to be involved, which, ultimately, we were then promoting for them how they can—how they can apply for these community action awards and also for the summer, but also what are ways for them to get engaged through the broader OSUN network. FASKIANOS: Great. How has the pandemic exacerbated preexisting community needs? How have you at Bard deepened students’ civic engagement in order to help alleviate the pandemic-related effects that we are seeing in our communities? MATEO: Yes, and as we all know, when it comes to community-based work in civic engagement, you know, we all had to, you know, come indoors, and we had this notion that we had to be there to be able to engage with the community. So we developed—and this is also part of our civic engagement website—a tool kit on how to do engagement virtually, how to be able to do blended learning as well, and making sure that we still had a commitment to our community leaders. And our community partners also were able to come into our classes via Zoom and engage with students as well, and we helped students find virtual engagement, whether it be tutoring, whether it be, you know, helping to analyze something and sending it back. So these were some of the ways. But it did definitely create a halt, though we quickly found ways to not only build and provide resources but also pivot and making sure that we provide opportunities for students that were online and making sure that we showed a commitment to our partners as well. FASKIANOS: So John Dietrich at Bryant University asks for examples, more examples in practice of bringing experiential learning into the classroom, so if you could put some— MATEO: Yes. Yeah, so we have a course that’s called All Politics is Local and what we do in that—and what the faculty members do in that course is that they’re able to pair students with local internships in different government organizations, so not only are students learning about local government in the class but they’re actually interning at the same time in different local governments. Another example of a professor that teaches studio arts is a class called Portraits and Community where they get to talk to community members and identify the history of that community, also talk with Congress—with a member of Congress while painting these community members and learning their stories, learning how to tell their stories but using art as a way of engagement. Another example is being able to develop tool kits, so, for example, looking at, you know, if you’re a professor in biology or in chemistry and you have a local river or you have, you know, an ecosystem or environment, you know, how has that changed throughout the years and how can students create experiments and be able to then provide knowledge for local leaders or community members to see if there has been change that has been happening there? So I hope that this gives you some examples of community-based learning and education when it comes to doing it in the classroom. Podcasts have also been something that have been very important because students not only learn the skill on how to run a podcast and how to do a podcast, but then they also get to interview community members and do it—and be able to speak and provide the opportunity for storytelling as well. FASKIANOS: Can you talk a little bit about the role civic engagement plays in international students’ educational experience? I mean, a lot of campuses have international students, and what does it mean for them and what are they taking back to their countries? MATEO: Yeah, so working with the OSUN network I’ve learned a lot about what other campuses have been doing and how they do civic engagement, and at some campuses civic engagement is embedded from the beginning. They are taking courses, they have to graduate with a certain amount of hours to be able to get their degree, you know, and some institutions in the United States do that, some don’t per se, you know, so—and then also thinking about what—so for them also thinking about what does it mean to be engaged in their communities, and what are some of the work that they are doing as well? So civic engagement can look differently, so some of it can be tutoring. Some of it can be, you know, mostly youth engagement. A lot of it can be gender equity and working to raise awareness on gender issues. So there has been a great sense of education knowledge on my part on seeing how other institutions work on civic engagement. At the same time, it’s also great because we’re able to talk about civic engagement and develop that baseline and learn how we can grow together, and what are some things that they’re doing that we can do and vice versa? So that—so I would say that in some institutions globally, civic engagement is embedded from the beginning and students have to make sure that they are taking courses on engagement. Some of them have, like, first-year sophomore-, junior-, senior-level seminars on engagement, and then others, you have to have a requirement of graduation for a certain amount of hours. So that’s how, kind of, it’s worked. FASKIANOS: Brian, you talked about inputs and outputs and metrics, so have you measured how civic engagement, the programs that you’re doing are affecting students’ perspectives on diversity, equity, and inclusion? MATEO: Yes, we have, actually, and—I have this here in my notes—yes, and 89 percent of them say that it has created an awareness of social justice issues and it has also enhanced their learning. So we’re seeing that this is something that is showing and demonstrating that by engaging, and also at times engaging with difference, it has helped their learning. And over 90 percent of students say that they would continue to engage our—engage with arts and science courses or experiential courses as a result of that. FASKIANOS: Do you do that survey after each semester or is it at the end of the academic year? How are you doing that? MATEO: Yeah, so we do that survey at the end of each semester when it comes to faculty courses. When it comes to the engagement that students are doing outside of the classroom we also try to assess that, too, which I do midway and also at the end, and some students also do culminating projects, as well, that they are incorporating—at the end of their academic career they are talking about how civic engagement has helped them. So an example of that is—and this is the certificate in civic engagement that we’ve recently launched. You know, students will be able to apply for what’s called an engaged senior project grant that they can get funding to be able to add civic engagement into their final project too, so that’s—we’re measuring and seeing how many students are interested and want to be able to engage in that. So I would say all together we are doing—you know, and sometimes, you know, we capture a lot of data and sometimes, you know, so we try to make sure that we’re doing it as holistic as possible but we do it at the end, so at the end of each semester if a course qualifies as experiential learning, we are doing—so it’s a separate evaluation outside of the normal class evaluation, and then we start to see and look at the metrics and what students have learned and, like, now we can start to gather and tell stories behind, you know, what these courses are doing. FASKIANOS: Great. So we have a follow-up question from Manuel Montoya: How does experiential learning and community engagement avoid essentializing the communities you engage with? On a related note, how does one navigate who gets to represent community needs when working on issues of engagement? MATEO: Yeah, this is a very, very, very, like, a thin line. Right? And it comes, again, with mutual respect, reciprocity, active listening. Some of the time community partners come to us and say, hey, we have a need and then we evaluate it and see how we can help that need. Other times, faculty or even students are like, hey, here is something that we should be working on and then we do that. Right? So an example of that is the Bard Prison Initiative. A student came and said, hey, look, we should be working on this and then it became an institutional part of Bard and now it’s one of the largest prison education programs for incarcerated individuals across the nation. You know, so—and it takes a lot of reflecting and making sure that the community’s needs are also in the forefront, because we don’t want to usurp or take on, you know, or say, like, oh, this is ours now. No, this is “in collaboration with.” This is not a “we do this” per se. So that’s why we have developed the principles of equity, and I’ll share that, as well, with Irina so you can get a sense—that talks about this is, how can we make this equitable? How can we acknowledge and reflect on the work that we’re doing? How do we—how are we not making sure that we’re showing up and saying, like, oh, look, we’re here, as like, you know, how—saving a community. But no, we’re here to help enhance a community while they’re enhancing our learning and providing assistance for us as well. So it has to be reciprocal in order for you to maintain a deep and sustained relationship. FASKIANOS: Great. And I’m just going to flag—I don’t know if people are looking at the Q&A but Chip Pitts was building on what you talked about the importance of climate as a health issue. There’s a study that’s worth looking at, www.thelancet.com/countdown-health-climate, so you can look there. MATEO: Thank you, Chip. FASKIANOS: We do have another comment. I’ve benefited immensely from this discussion, bringing to fore the relevance of community engagement for students and faculty. I’m seeing new areas I can suggest for experiential learning to my institution. Terrific. That’s great. MATEO: Thank you. I’m glad. FASKIANOS: Really appreciate that from NenpoSarah Gowon—and the last name is cut off. All right, so I wanted to ask you about—in your view, do you—I mean, you’ve been doing this for a long time. What do you see as the challenges that you’ve faced in sort of bringing this along in your community? And what have been the unexpected surprises and the receptivity to this approach of experiential learning and critical thinking, et cetera? MATEO: Thank you. That’s an excellent question and here’s reflection, you know, as we talk about experiential learning. Right? So I would say that my—so I was—so I’m fortunate enough to be able to work with the OSUN network to be in—and become a lifelong learner myself and learn how other institutions have been doing this. And going back to what Manuel was alluding to is that when something is new it’s hard to bring in change. Right? So when asking people, hey, do you want to teach a course on experiential learning or asking a student, hey, do you want to also do this type of civic engagement work, what sometimes is heard is, oh, this is more work; this is going to be too hard. Right? So how do you show those benefits, right? And in the beginning, initial stages, it’s going to be an uphill battle. But once you have one or two or a group of people doing it and talking about how great it is and how their students are engaged—like, in some of the assessments students are asking for more time in those courses because they’re like, this is so—this is great, that we want to make sure that we meet more or we want to make sure we have more time to do—to engage in these courses, so now we’re seeing that students want more of these courses and not just of the courses in general but maybe adding a third section instead of just meeting two times a week per se. You know? And then—and funding can also be something that’s very—that can be challenging because, you know, you need to make this a commitment in saying, like, yes, we are going to fund, let’s say, for example, thirty student internships over the summer because we believe that this is going to help engage their learning. We believe this is going to create an opportunity for them moving forward. Right? So—and researcher—sometimes, you know, if you’re in a metropolitan area, it’s easier for you to say, yeah, we’re going to go to a museum or we’re going to go to this community because we can all just take public transportation. But if you’re in a rural environment, you’re relying on vans and buses and so on and so forth, and that can sometimes run you $500 to $2,000 per visit, you know. So you also have to think really strategically and think smarter, not harder, and how are you engaging? Right? Because one of the detriments is that great, we went to one community once and as a result of that, like, what would happen—because, again, it goes back to sustained, deepening relationships, so those are some of the things that can be some of the challenges. Some of the breakthroughs for me is when you start to see the learning connect, when a student’s like, you know—you know, I once had someone from the New York City’s mayor’s office come speak to the students in my class and it really warmed my heart when a student was like, I didn’t know that I had access; I didn’t realize that someone like me could be able to speak to someone from the mayor’s office. And I’m like, but you’re also a citizen of New York City and this is what—you know, so there was that disconnect for the student; it was like, wow, I can do this. Another student wants to—is pursuing, you know, a degree in political science and stuff like that. You know, or even when a student did a research project on the tolls of the taxi in New York City because that student felt they had a personal connection to this, and then they were able to see how, you know, some stories were similar to what—to the narrative that they had and be able to then share some possible solutions and show that they can also be active citizens and engage and be empowered. That is the other piece that, like, once you see that people start to be empowered, they want to continue doing this work and it’s, you know, my job and the job of others at other higher education institutions to continue to empower and continue to provide opportunities and shed light, you know, because some of this is also exposure. You know, thinking about outputs; it’s like sometimes you know what you know, but then when you meet a professor that’s doing some type of research that you’re just like, wow, this is so intriguing; I never knew I could do this. That’s something that is also very influential for the student. And I’ll give you a personal anecdote about myself. I myself have been an experiential learner. You know, I went to college and I got my master’s in higher ed administration, but all of a sudden I’m working with international communities, I’m also part of the Council on Foreign Relations doing research on climate, and teaching experiential learning. And that is as evidenced by Bard being a private college for public interest, and also enabling us to be a part of the system that we ourselves can be experiential learners and be able to do different things and sometimes, you know, like, not necessarily shift our careers but find new interests, because this is what we want to do and develop the system that can be reciprocal for our students, faculty, staff, and community. FASKIANOS: Well, with that, we’ve reached the end of our hour. Brain Mateo, thank you very much for sharing what you’re doing at Bard, your stories, and we will circulate to everybody the resources that you mentioned, and, you know, just want to thank you for your dedication. And to everybody on this call, I mean, it really has brought home for me the important work that you all are doing to raise the next generation of leaders, and we need them and you all are role models for young adults who, as somebody said, their parents have never gone to college and really need some guidance on next steps. So thank you to you, Brian, and to everybody on this call for what you’re doing in your communities. We will share Brian’s email address and you can follow him on Twitter at @brianmateo. So I encourage you to follow him there. Our next Higher Education Webinar will be in November, and we will send the topic speaker and date under separate cover. And so I encourage you to follow us, @CFR_Academic on Twitter, and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for more resources. And of course, as always, you can email [email protected], with suggestions of future topics or speakers you would like to hear from. We’re trying to be a resource for all of you and support you and the important work that you are doing. So Brian, thank you again. MATEO: Thank you. And I’ll make sure to share resources with you. Have a great day. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: Pandemic-Related Inequities in Higher Education
    Play
    Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University and founding director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, and Clyde Wilson Pickett, vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University of Pittsburgh, discuss pandemic-related inequities in higher education.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at the Council on Foreign Relations. And we welcome you and are happy to have you with us today. Our meeting is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. So we’re delighted to have Sara Goldrick-Rab and Clyde Wilson Pickett with us today to talk about pandemic-related inequities in higher education. We’ve shared their bios with you, so I’ll just give a few highlights. Dr. Goldrick-Rab is professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University and founding director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia. She’s also the chief strategy office for emergency aid at Edquity, a student financial success and emergency aid company, and founder of Believe in Students, a nonprofit focused on distributing emergency aid. She’s known for her innovative research on food and housing insecurity in higher education and for her work on making public higher education free. Dr. Pickett is vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University of Pittsburgh. In his role, he provides leadership for university-wide comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. Previously Dr. Pickett served as chief diversity officer for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. And prior to that, he held positions with several other colleges and universities, including the Community College of Allegheny County, Ohio Northern University, Morehead State University, and the University of Kentucky. So thank you both for joining us today. You know, we really want to have a—dig into this conversation, the primary ways the pandemic has contributed to inequities in higher education that were already there, but we’ve seen the gap widen. So, Dr. Goldrick-Rab, it would be great if you could begin by talking about the financial challenges, including non-tuition related challenges, related expenses that you’ve seen pre-pandemic and now with the pandemic. And then we’ll go to Dr. Pickett. GOLDRICK-RAB: Great. Yes. Well, thank you so much for having me. And it’s great to be here virtually with you all today. It’s a real honor. And I’m delighted to be here with Clyde and looking forward to this conversation. This topic of what students go through in order to pay for college is something that I spent about twenty years studying. And a lot of what we have learned over that time is that the challenges are a lot more complicated and a lot more substantial than simple numbers, like the net price of college or the amount of financial aid, would have you believe. So even prior to the pandemic, we saw that students were, for example, having trouble because what the college said it would cost to go there is inclusive of living expenses. And what a college estimates for living expenses is often off. So for example, right, if a student is living at home with their family, the assumption might be that the family is not charging rent. But a lot of students were, in fact, paying rent while living with their families. So one key thing that was challenging was information and, you know, just a good sense of what one had to budget for. A second really big challenge is that the financial aid system was really set up to support a fraction of college students, not to support the majority. And as result, there’s a lot of paperwork required. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through in order to be able to get and keep financial aid. And, frankly, there’s only a limited amount of money. And so the financial aid, even before the pandemic, was leaving students way short, especially when it came to grants. And that’s one of the main reasons that we saw the big increase in loans. The other thing is that the financial aid system is heavily bureaucratic. It moves very slowly. And so when a student has an unexpected expense or a shortfall—you know, a car breaks down—it is very hard to get that money quickly using standard financial aid. Another big challenge, it has to do with what happened to people’s families, right? So the status of American families over the last twenty years, and the extent to which they can’t actually make ends meet, the extent to which they can’t survive an unexpected expense themselves, means that a lot of college students come from settings where there isn’t anybody there to actually be able to help them in that way. They can provide love, and they can provide support, and they can talk to them and be supportive of, you know, what they’re doing. But the idea that every student coming to college has two parents with good incomes who are able to step up and help, that’s been an outdated assumption for a very long time. And of course, that also maps onto significant changes in the racial composition of higher education, into the gender composition, right, the class composition of higher education, and so on. Another big issue has to do with working. And working during college is actually the backbone of financial aid packages. Students are mostly assumed that they’re going to need to work, and they do need to work. And 70 percent of students were working before the pandemic, and the vast majority of students were trying to find work but couldn’t find it. So that was really hard in a labor market where the minimum wage didn’t, you know, pay particularly well and where, let’s be honest, employers really want flexibility and they’re not particularly impressed with students’ needs to attend class, for example, at given times of the day. So that, on top of state disinvestment for higher education, which has led a lot of institutions to shift the burden for paying for college onto students, was what thinks looked like before the pandemic. And then the pandemic struck. And we already had gaps in the system. We already had big financial holes for many, many students. And it did a lot of things. It made it harder for institutions that needed to offer students a lot more financial aid or a lot more emergency aid but didn’t have the support available, that don’t have big endowments. When the federal government stepped up, that was good. But somebody actually has to give out the money. And there wasn’t a lot of money to provide for that additional staffing and infrastructure to actually get money to students quickly. That’s a lot of work. So one of the results is that we find that an average time it takes to get a student emergency aid is about fourteen days. Which is way out of line when you consider that what happens to people in an emergency is they need money fast. Another thing that happened, of course, is that jobs for students have become a lot harder to find, although it’s also been complicated by the fact that employers report they can’t find people to work there. But the kinds of jobs that students are comfortable being in—meaning they feel safe, that work with their work schedules, and that pay a decent wage—are still really hard for many of them to find. Another challenge, of course, is that many of these students have family responsibilities. So more than one in four students in the United States has a child of their own. So the things that have happened to our workforce as schools closed and parents had to take care of kids happened to our students too. And to the extent that families became sick or, you know, there was a need for caretaking, students had to do that as well. So in all of the ways that affect regular people in American life—in terms of their financial instability, the volatility, the unexpected expenses—things were hard before and things are even harder now. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Dr. Pickett, I’d like to go over to you now to talk about the challenges that you’ve seen, obviously with the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and strategies that you could offer as we look ahead. PICKETT: Absolutely. Well, certainly I want to take the opportunity to extend my thanks for allowing me to be with you, and to be with our colleagues, and of course to share time with Sara. It’s an honor and a privilege. Certainly, one of the things that we need to prioritize is that the current crisis has magnified inequities that have been with us for a long time. And as Sara notes, a number of these things have been present. And so as we think about the impact of this pandemic, they’ve exposed future, or I should say, current and more pronounced vulnerabilities that already existed. And they impact our populations beyond what we realize. So we put specific attention, as we should, on our students. But to be mindful that these vulnerabilities and specifically the impact of inequity impacts our colleagues. Certainly, that’s true for our staff of different designations, particularly those who are economically fragile and who are on the frontlines, as well as our colleagues who are faculty. And to think about how we can’t allow this crisis to be an excuse for how we prioritize equity and how we move a strategic agenda forward. So I wanted to be intentional about leading with that. It’s an opportunity for us to affirm our commitment and our responsibility to addressing inequities broadly speaking across the institutions that make up higher education. In terms of prioritizing specific areas, I think that inequity has been most pronounced in terms of the areas of student support, more specifically thinking about holistic student support and how we’re advancing and thinking collectively about the academic support as well as the broader considerations for how we support our students, the academic priorities of institutions and how we position them front and center. As we think about the responsibility to provide support for faculty who have to pivot to online exchange and instruction, how do we provide intentional support to meet the needs of different learners and to prioritize that beyond just a compliance lens, and to think about how accessibility and digital accessibility had to be front in consideration—a front and center consideration, I should say—for the work that we do. A part of this work, as we think about broad inequities, also is about the work in terms of thinking about the human capital of our institutions. I mentioned just briefly the disproportionate impact that we’ve—for frontline staff and individuals of different designation who are advancing work, but also to think about what it means in terms of being the caretaker of a loved one or significant other or child who has a health challenge or has been impacted by the pandemic. And more specifically to think about the childcare considerations that are placed on our colleagues and, as Sara pointed out, certainly our students as well. This broad conversation that I think is important for us to think about in terms of the broad DEI agenda and the long-term ramifications are for us to think about funding considerations as well as the academic priorities for the future. We’ve seen a number of conversations manifest around the country about learning loss and the impact long term in terms of access of higher education, and to mindful of what that means for vulnerable and populations that have been traditionally underrepresented, underserved, and locked out of higher education. So we need to be mindful of that specific impact. It is a necessity that we prioritize inclusion in terms of how we move this work forward. We know loud and clear that the pandemic has further illuminated issues of discrimination, bias, and xenophobia. We’ve seen that with the uptick in anti-Asian violence around the country, more pronounced incidents of growth in White supremacist groups around the country. And to think about how institutions can take a more proactive approach in creating inclusive spaces on campuses and online, as instruction has pivoted in different ways, and for us to prioritize that. Campuses must be intentional about thinking about the holistic needs our students, the basic needs our students, and to prioritize mental health support and technology, as all of those areas have been escalated for consideration. Certainly, to be mindful of balancing safety as a front and center consideration for how we prioritize inclusion is part of our work. And to think about how we prioritize funding allocation for different opportunities to impact populations has to be a consideration as we think about the strategic equity agenda. So I offer those considerations as we begin our discussion and, of course, look forward to delving into more of them, as well as the questions that might come from our colleagues. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Thank you very much. Let’s go to all of you now for your questions. You can either raise your hand or you can type your question in the Q&A box and I’ll read it. If you do so there, though, please state your institutional affiliation so that we know where you are, gives us the context for the conversation. So I’m going to first go to a good colleague, Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome. Over to you. Q: OK. Yeah. Good afternoon. I’m Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome. And I’m a professor of political science at Brooklyn College. One of the concerns that I have is the mental health effects on students, and actually all of us—(laughs)—but really on the students, especially students who do not—who are not traditional students. You know, and so they don’t have as many resources available to them. So I was wondering what your insights are on this issue and what could be done institutionally and collectively to address this issue. PICKETT: I’ll weigh in just quickly here, and Sara, of course, look forward to your comments as well. As a queued up at the beginning, I think this is a front and center consideration as we think about the strategic equity agenda. Loud and clear we’ve heard directly from students that mental health is an area of priority. Before we were in the pandemic the request for additional support and for campuses all around the country was a front and center consideration, how we put particular attention and, more importantly, how we resourced mental health support was an area of rising consideration. And for colleagues who work directly in student affairs and student support, we know that this has always been there. But as we continue to navigate this pandemic, it continues to be an even greater area of consideration as we think about the impact, particularly on communities that have been most impacted, and particularly thinking about Black and brown communities, and other economically fragile communities, in terms of the need for additional mental health support, and in areas and certain situations where those communities don’t necessarily always connect with mental health support. So that’s another consideration. I think campuses that are most proactive, and higher education institutions that are most proactive are putting in specific resources to continue to build out support for mental health support. And for institutions that are less well-prepared for that, I think having alliances with broader institutions and to think about how we can leverage collective support is the answer for how we get at this. I want to be clear. I think we have a responsibility certainly to meet the needs of our students. But I don’t want us to miss the opportunity in terms of what we’re hearing loud and clear from our colleagues who are faculty and staff at institutions. Burnout is something in terms of climate surveys and assessments that our colleagues are communicating with us loud and clear. And so we have to be mindful that we have to take care of the individuals that take care of our students. So that’s another part or a level of this that I think we have to keep at a front consideration. So absolutely I appreciate the question and note that we have to put additional resources and think about strategic collaboration across institution types to move this work forward, but to also think about what that means for our staff and faulty in support as well. GOLDRICK-RAB: I agree. I would say that we have to keep in mind that many institutions don’t have any dollars to spare, and that clearly this is going to require federal support. And I think that even as we’re sitting here right now there is discussion of a package. You know, the reconciliation is going on. And one piece of that package is $9 billion for student supports. And I think the question about the prioritization of those funds and where institutions plan to spend those funds, if they are to come—if they were to become reality, is a critical part of the conversation. You know, the mental health needs of students across the United States were greatest at the nation’s community colleges before the pandemic. And those are the places that had the least level of supports in place. And it wasn’t from lack of recognition of the problem; it was from lack of money. And so we have to acknowledge that we already had profound inequities, we already had mental health crises. The Healthy Minds Study has been documenting these things for years. And, yes, the current situation’s making it worse. I do want to point out, though, that there are two dimensions to this current situation. One is the pandemic and the effects of the social isolation. The second is the effect of this virus. The Hope Center recently released, to my knowledge, the only study out there on the effect of the virus on college students. And our analyses across about a hundred thousand students across the nation show that it seems that having been infected with this virus is associated with increased anxiety, depression, and food insecurity. And I’m concerned, frankly, that a number of our institutions are not doing anything to allow students to disclose if they have been affected, so that we could direct more support to them. Now, I understand we can’t require it—and, you know, there’s a big distinction. But these students are at real risk of potentially long COVID effects, and so are staff and faculty. And I think that it is not only urgent that we adjust these challenges, but that we also do the triage that, unfortunately, we have to do because we have limited resources, and perhaps focus them on the populations that have been infected at the highest rates. Which, of course, include Black and brown and indigenous students, and also include student parents, and also include student athletes at very, very high rates. And I think that we’d better attend to it, or we’re going to see a lot of ongoing problems. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Sara, I would like to get the link for that survey, and we can circulate it to the group. And any other resources that both of you would like us to share we will follow up with an email. So I’m going to go next to Lucy Dunderdale Cate. And please unmute yourself. Q: Hi. My name is Lucy Dunderdale Cate. I’m with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I wanted to get your thoughts on just how for leadership, you know, for chancellors, for presidents, how should they be communicating to students that are dealing with these issues? And particularly thinking about it—you know, students, but faculty and staff as well, and particularly being sensitive to that kind of toxic positivity that so often is easy for leaders to do. At the same time, wanting to still be encouraging and to be, you know, we can do this together feeling, but not being toxically positive. Would just love to get your thoughts on that. GOLDRICK-RAB: So my team is very taken with the research on empathy and care. And I think that a lot of folks often think that that is, you know, kind of glossing over, or maybe just too touchy-feely. But it’s a very effective approach. And what it really means is starting by understanding your students as humans before you think about them as students. Just like we want our doctors to think about as humans before they think about us as patients. It changes the conversation. And what that means is that if you have important information to share with the students that you start with an open acknowledgement that this is a really tough time, right? That we don’t gloss over that or skip past that. That we do give them many, many, many openings to be able to speak to somebody—whether that’s a peer-to-peer, right, whether that’s speak to a professional, whatever that is. And that we continue to not just—it’s important, frankly, that we don’t just cheerlead and push people, I think as you might be alluding to, towards, you know, just keep going, just stay in, everything is fine, but openly acknowledge that everybody right now is really slogging through it and that coping is incredibly difficult. And I think that the one other piece is that, in my view, this starts with leadership. This really is not effective and cannot happen if the president doesn’t embrace it, because it really trickles down from there, frankly. And it has to be in multiple places. So this should be reflected in a statement that’s on every syllabus, right? It should show up on the management system, it should show up in correspondence. You know, anything that the institution can do to remind students that they get it. Cutting red tape right now, right? Removing more bureaucracy, relieving and getting out of any kinds of requirements that are not necessary—all of those things are human-centered things. PICKETT: I appreciate everything that Sara offered. And I double down on that in terms of thinking about the senior administrative approach to this. Certainly, there exists consultative means to engage students, and I think we utilize those. Having had the opportunity to work on different kinds of campuses, I do think it’s mindful for us to be attentive of the populations that don’t easily have ready access to senior administration. Having had the opportunity to serve at a community college, quite often we know that there is a more guided path to get directly to student input and feedback. But I think it’s critical to use the necessary means to get directly to students. I think the intentionality that Sara points out in terms of having empathetic messages communicated in different mediums is critical. Whether we’re using social media, whether we’re doing that on our syllabi, whether we’re doing that specifically as it relates to the messages that we put out to the campus community, I think there has to be consistency in the chorus that speaks to the empathy of the now and how we’re working to navigate this together. The toxic positivity that you referenced I think is prevalent at a number of institutions. And for us to be mindful of what that means—one of the ways that we were able to execute that here at the University of Pittsburgh was a townhall series that we put in place for all stakeholders called This is Not Normal, to just identify collectively as a community that what we’re experiencing is absolutely abnormal, and to talk about what that experience was, and to think about collectively how we could move as a community to respond to the needs and to have ongoing triage and collective concern and outreach by all constituents. And I think to do that, and to be attentive to those populations that are most removed from senior administration, is something that we have to do. So utilizing our colleagues at all levels, specifically looking at peer mentoring models that offer opportunity to have communication with students, and to think about starting those messages during the orientation process is a front and center consideration to move that agenda forward. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Pearl Robinson. Q: So, Pearl Robinson. I do African politics, international relations, African studies at Tufts University. This being the Council on Foreign Relations, I want to bring up the issue of study abroad. And certainly, last year Tufts both undergraduate and graduate study abroad international relations is very important. The university decided it had to bring home students from all of our study abroad programs except Oxford, which was deemed safe. And we were told how everybody was living with families. And of course, at the end of—they had to eventually bring those people home again. So now we’re talking about our study abroad programs. Will we have one in Ghana? I had counseled two students who are going to be studying Africa at either at SOAS or LSE. Maybe we have to shut down Africa because it’s too dangerous. I actually want to know, are there are universities that are thinking about the implications of creating—or, not having study abroad opportunities for students in non-European places, and ways in which you might be able to do things? Like, I participated in a couple of very exciting webinars with African universities where there’s some kind of interaction. So I just want to know, has anybody been thinking about that? And does the Council maybe have that on its agenda? Have you been doing it secretly and I didn’t know about it? FASKIANOS: We can look at it for a future topic, Pearl. Do either of you want to? GOLDRICK-RAB: I don’t have any expertise in this space, except to say that I spoke to folks at AIEA yesterday and, you know, they’re very concerned about students’ health and wellbeing. PICKETT: And the same on my end. I wouldn’t have anything in terms of expertise to offer but would say from an administrative standpoint it’s intentional for us to be mindful of the different opportunities that we engage with, and to use an equity lens with regard to how we’re monitoring those experiences. I know loud and clear as we think about race and ethnicity being a front and consideration as part of this pandemic and our response to be mindful of the ramifications and the impact on different communities. So leadership should put that front and center in consideration, but in terms of specific things that I’ve seen directly, nothing that I could offer. But I do—should I find information I’ll definitely pass it along to Irina. FASKIANOS: And just to follow on a bit, granted from a different angle, what about the pandemic-related inequities facing international studies? What is the—you know, on your campus, the international studies, and have they been able to come this year? And maybe that would be an opportunity to create some international experiences on campus. PICKETT: Absolutely. I think different institutions obviously are in different places with regard to that. We’ve had a number of students who have been able to return to campus. But to mindful that there has been a significant impact, particularly as they think about housing and what the experience is like in the community. And as we think about, particularly depending on where individuals come from, how they self-identify, and the rising tide of what I would classify as racism and xenophobia potentially impacting those students is a consideration that we have to put front and center. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I would say that, you know, again, we had big problems before the pandemic with folks not being able to really afford to be here the way they had hoped to be able to really afford to be here. We had students—international students at food pantries well before the pandemic. You know, certainly the number who can’t be here at all right now is one issue, but I also want to note that one good thing is that the federal government’s Higher Education Relief Funds, the HEERF III dollars in particular, which came out this year, which provided emergency aid to students, does not require students to be United States citizens in order to get those funds. It doesn’t even require them to fill out a FAFSA either. So institutions, all of them that receive Title IV, have a substantial amount of emergency aid dollars right now which they could choose to leverage to support international students. Furthermore, their institutional allocations of those same dollars can also be used for those purposes. And so in this case, again, everyone is a human. And we do not have to choose to treat people differently based on that status as an international student. I don’t know how widespread that understanding is. It’s very clear, frankly, in the federal FAQs. But that’s stuff the lawyers read. And I’m concerned that people who advocate for these students might not be aware of this. Or maybe they’re not being heard in terms of where the dollars are going to be put. PICKETT: I’d double down on what Sara offers in terms of us thinking about the institutional ethos for support for those students and that student population. How we prioritize that agenda and how we amplify the voices of advocates, particularly for our international students, is a front and center consideration that was present, again, before—you’re noticing a trend here—was present before the pandemic. But nonetheless, one that we have to continue to prioritize as a consideration. And as those dollars are available, institutions being willing to make the appropriate allocations and supplement them where necessary to continue to support different students populations, including our international students. FASKIANOS: Thank you. While we wait for a few more questions to queue up, how about the digital inequity? I know, Sara, you said before we got started that you were teaching all online. So the digital inequity has been a big concern, and we’ve really seen that, as well as, you know, people not wanting to turn on their cameras because, you know, they are sharing spaces, and might not want to show their homes, and all of that. So can you talk a little bit about how—what you’re thinking on that. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I mean, it’s a huge issue. So, I mean, the first thing is, again, I keep saying before the pandemic. But, you know, I spent twelve years living in Wisconsin. We had tons of college students all over the state who did not have broadband access, OK? So, you know, and it was a time when, frankly, the state was cutting—well, it’s continued to cut state support—but it was cutting back the ability of in-person campuses to even be there and telling people to go online. And there really wasn’t real ability to do that. So this, again, is a longstanding problem. We have the same challenge here in Pennsylvania, especially in rural communities. I am teaching online right now. And I want to say that, you know, part of the reason is because there’s a whole population of students that want online instruction. These are people who would have to commute quite a long ways to get to school. These are people who have children and are juggling that. These are people who have health challenges and/or other disabilities, right? So there is an appetite for online instruction. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is not only do they have the technology for online instruction, but also who has access to teachers who are comfortable, and well-trained, and good at online instruction? And unfortunately, because we have not made those investments—and, frankly, I think we should view those as infrastructure investments—we did not resource the people who need to do the teaching so they can be prepared. Then we have some of the most vulnerable students getting taught by teachers with the least time and ability to able to kind of pivot like this. We do also have a workforce, frankly, of a lot of folks in wealthier parts of higher education where professors don’t think of themselves as teachers. They think of themselves as researchers, and so on. And so getting them to invest the time to learn to teach online is also a challenge. That said, it can be done well. And, frankly, a student doesn’t need to turn on their camera to be engaged in a course. And to me, the fact that we keep having that conversation—which is, you know, far from just your question, everybody’s asking that question—tells me that we have people who are not taught about how to do engagement with students who can’t turn on their cameras. I open up multiple channels for students to be able to interact with me while I’m teaching. They message, OK? They can hit on Slack. I run multiple things. But it requires that I know how to do that and that I am suited to that task. So the last part is this: I mean, here in Philadelphia it’s hard to believe, you know, that people would really have trouble getting on the internet. But they really do because they can’t afford their internet bills. And so I have multiple students right now who are telling me that they’re accessing everything using their phone, not on their laptops. Their phone is their laptop essentially. And they don’t have wireless, so they have very spotty service. So they didn’t even know that our university offers hotspots now. And so one big part is informational, connecting them to that. PICKETT: I think it’s critical, appended to the comments that Sara makes, to be attentive of different populations. Certainly, it’s pronounced—it was pronounced at the beginning of the pandemic that there were a number of issues with access to broadband internet in different communities. Obviously having spent time in the state of Minnesota and thinking about the native and indigenous population and the opportunities where there was limited broadband access there, as well as hardware limitations, those are considerations that I think a number of communities have pronounced as areas of consideration. And that’s true, I think, for different areas. Certainly, that’s true in western Pennsylvania. And as Sara points out, we have a number of students of different backgrounds and of varying means economically that choose to access their courses via cellphone. So to think about the different kinds of instruction and how we’re supporting our colleagues to observe equitable practices in a virtual environment, and to think about how we have to systematize that and appropriately educate our colleagues deliver that kind of instruction is a consideration. I think the other areas of consideration, particularly as we’re thinking about digital accessibility or the conversations about general academic support in different models of delivery—so whether we’re thinking about asynchronous delivery of instruction or the different modalities of learning, to be mindful that different student populations respond to different ways and different things. And to put that as part of our consideration for the academic agenda is a consideration that I think we need to be mindful of. FASKIANOS: And just, if we could hearken back to your experience at the Community College of Allegheny, Clyde, just to talk about the disparities at community college. I know, Sara, you touched upon it, about the mental health crisis that existed before the pandemic and is, you know, they couldn’t address it because of lack of resources. But it would be interesting to hear your perspective, Clyde, from what you’ve experienced. PICKETT: Absolutely. Having had the opportunity to work directly at the Community College of Allegheny County, as well as the State System of Higher Education in Minnesota, and to serve thirty-seven community and technical colleges, it’s critical for us to put an equity lens in terms of thinking about the access to hardware and to digital resources for all of our student populations. We know that those inequities existed before that. But in a more pronounced way when we pivoted and made the jump to remote instruction, for a number of institutions and individuals there was the need to provide access to hardware as well as to digital networks for students. And those gaps existed before and exist now. I think as we think about availability of resources, that is an area of consideration. The other thing as we think about this is modality of learning, and how different populations respond to different kinds of learning. And so that’s another consideration as we think about the strategic equity agenda and how we work proactively to meet the needs of different learners to make available appropriate support, whether it’s online models for tutoring or expanded academic support for advisors—a consideration particularly at our community and technical colleges that I think is a necessity. The other consideration, and Sara talked about this in terms of the equity lens and experience, to equip our educators with utilizing appropriate training and education to not bias how they engage with learners depending on how they interface with the use of technology. To shut one’s camera off should not at all impact how an individual engages with what’s expected of them in the classroom and certain situations. So to be mindful and to communicate equitable approaches to that exchange I think is a consideration. FASKIANOS: Are there any places that you would suggest for people who would want to sort of dig in on how to better do that? I think, Sara, you mentioned Digital Pedagogy Lab as a resource. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I would really highly recommend Digital Pedagogy Lab. That’s my absolute favorite resource out there. And they do institutes, and they do trainings, and so on. And I really do recommend taking a look. FASKIANOS: Great. In the work that you’ve been doing, Sara, you know, we’ve seen a lot of reports about the impact of the pandemic on women, and how many women have left the workforce because the childcare issues, and whatnot. So have you done any studies on women leaving college? And you said—I believe you said one in four have a child. So how does that fall out? GOLDRICK-RAB: Well, so I will tell you, the interesting thing about higher ed is that even though women have a substantial number of challenges, they are less likely than men to drop out. And that’s been true for a long time. There are many books written about why men are less likely to attend college, why they’re more likely to drop out of college, and so on and so forth. Even though, frankly, you know, a woman—like, the disproportionate number, for example, of people with children in higher education are single moms. There are single dads, for the record. There are married dads. All of the different things are there as well. I would not say that we have done studies, therefore, of them dropping out during this time. But we have done studies of their basic needs and their basic need security during this time. And what I can tell you is that students with children are more likely to not have their basic needs met, to have struggles with food, and housing, and so on and so forth. We don’t see really pronounced gender differences, except that I would say that gender nonconforming students, actually, are much more likely to face these challenges and to find that they’re really struggling financially. Some of the reason for that, we suspect, has to do with the way that financial aid is allocated. Those students are less likely to be able to access parental resources that make it look like the family has money, even though the student is not getting any of that support. But parenting while in college is already really difficult. And it’s especially hard in the pandemic. Students report not being able to concentrate, right? They report juggling all kinds of additional challenges. And I will say, the schools reopening right now is far from an easy thing. So you know, in many districts across the country, including here in Philadelphia, the schools are intermittently open. We have had, you know, a given class where there’s a COVID infection, and then suddenly the class is shut down. The school’s open, but the student can’t go because their class is closed for the week—they’re quarantining. This is wreaking havoc for students. I have more students than ever who are saying they don’t know what one week is going to be like to the next. And, frankly, the same thing is true for us parents who are staff and faculty. I am ready at the drop of a hat right now to run down and pick my kids up, because we—you know, we had—we’ve had COVID infections, we had a flood thanks to a hurricane and a tornado. I mean, there’s—you know, so—(laughs)—it is—it is a remarkable time to try to keep anything education going right now. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I want to just ask people, we’re coming to the end of our time. So if you have other questions—I have a whole list of questions. So I can—I can keep going on. (Laughs.) But I don’t want to filibuster here, so please raise your hands. Clyde, can you talk a little bit more about as you think about DEI leadership, how DEI leaders can encourage their institutions to think more strategically about how they take care of Black and brown population, and deal with these pandemic-related inequities? PICKETT: Absolutely. I think part of this is for us to think intentionally about how we monitor, check in, and think about the engagement of those populations on our campuses. Loud and clear as we manage and examine enrollment trends at the institutions, I think we need to be mindful of what the presence of our population is for Black and brown communities as part of our institutions, and to be attentive of that. We’re reminded that in the midst of this pandemic was the continued push for racial equity and racial equity in this country. And so a number of institutions, at the same time dealing with the challenge associated with the pandemic, also made renewed commitments to attract and retain more diverse populations across the academy. We saw a number of institutions that made commitments to attract more faculty of color, to be attentive of what it means to support scholars of color, particularly those who are Black and brown. And so thinking about what that means in terms of DEI strategy work is to be mindful of the different populations, and to assess those experiences as they have come to our institution. So we’re having a lot of conversations across the academy to think about not only the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic of racism and how it continues to impact our colleagues across the institution, more specifically our students. And so as we think about this DEI strategy, to be mindful of how we examine the experiences of our students and to think about the examination of sense of belonging as they come to our institutions, as well as how they’re assessing the experiences for holistic support. So giving the opportunity for our colleagues who are DEI strategists to have access to the data in terms of thinking about those student experiences, and how we can influence and shape policy as a consideration for the work that we do. One of the things that I will point to as a consideration, that we’ve had some success in a previous role from a systems standpoint, was to use an equity-based lens approach to reviewing all of our policies, when I was at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. And that resource and tool is available online. And we did that to provide real time opportunity for us to think about the policy implications for different populations. And there were a number of things that we unearthed as part of that experience, whether it was a disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities with our financial (holes ?), or to think about other considerations, those are kinds of—the kinds of tools that we can utilize to further move an agenda forward. So I would say that those are things that we have to use as a resource to move our agenda forward. FASKIANOS: Have you seen there to be a decline in enrollment as well? PICKETT: Obviously it depends on the institution type. So we know that community and technical colleges have suffered enrollment challenges as part of the pandemic. The University of Pittsburgh, we’re at record enrollment for Black and brown communities here at the university. So I think the institution type, the resources associated with the institution, also obviously impact how and the ways institutions are able to move agenda. So to be mindful of that is a consideration that I think we have to examine. As we think about federal support for higher education—and I know Sara referenced this earlier—that’s a consideration. As we think about the institutions who are the haves versus those been most fragile. It requires us to think about how we make specific allocation federally to influence and support those institutions. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So if you were advising the Biden administration, the secretary of education, what would be the top two things that you would suggest the Biden administration to do in hiring? GOLDRICK-RAB: I am advising the Biden administration secretary of education. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: There you go. GOLDRICK-RAB: So do you want to know what we’re advising them? (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: I do, actually. (Laughs.) GOLDRICK-RAB: I will say, for anybody who’s interested, actually I testified before Congress yesterday in front of the U.S. House of Representatives around some of the work that they need to be doing. And I really urge folks in higher ed to take a look because the conversation was about hunger and food insecurity, and the committee was the Committee on Rules. And I worry a lot that our higher ed folks are not watching that committee or the committees outside of the education committees. But I believe that Jim McGovern is actually going to play a leading role in what’s going to happen for our students and their basic needs in that space. So it’s at rules.house.gov. And you can see the hearing from yesterday. I think one of the most exciting things that is about to happen is that a man named James Kvaal is finally going to take his seat and get to do his job as undersecretary of education. You know, our secretary of education is a K-12 expert. And I’ve been really glad to see him bring on some great folks like Eloy Oakley Ortiz from the California Community Colleges as an advisor. But James Kvaal is a higher ed expert. And the undersecretary of education’s role is absolutely critical. And one of the things that he is intending to do, and that we need him to do, is to put somebody in charge of making sure that we change rules and regulations and administrative minutia to help secure students’ basic needs now. So this is the time to make sure that our students get access to SNAP, right? To make sure that we connect them to the child tax credit. There are so many things that are available to students beyond standard financial aid. And right now, the Department of Ed doesn’t tell them about any of those things. So that is absolutely imperative. And I also will say that with regard to the reconciliation bill and what the House is doing right now in terms of markup, free community college is in there and it needs to be. And it needs to happen. And it needs to pass. And the time is now. And I think that we will never regret that move. I believe that just as we expanded access to K-12 education starting with elementary school and then moving through high school, we should absolutely go for free community college. It will not be the last thing that we do, but I think it’s essential. You know, I don’t know how much folks remember the last recession, but I was doing a lot of research during that time. And I’ll tell you that all the growth in the enrollment, all the returning growth to higher ed came, right, from students going to community colleges, and came from largely part-time folks. And so we’re going to see people returning because they need higher education. And we need to make sure that those institutions are able to help them succeed. A lot of people think going to community college is not the best move. You know, they don’t have the best outcomes. And I have one really clear answer for you: You get what you pay for. If you give them the resources and you give the students the resources so that they go to institutions and they actually can focus on learning and not worrying about if they have to eat, they will graduate and they will do well. PICKETT: I, of course, double down on that support for thinking about how we make community college accessible to all. Obviously, a long-standing advocate for community and technical colleges. It’s something that is a priority for me. And we know statistically the largest populations of Black and brown students who ultimately complete a four-year degree start at community and technical colleges. So that has to be a priority. And I think in terms of funding and making that a priority, it is a consideration absolutely that we have to keep front and center. The other thing that I would offer is for us to think continually about how we support intentional holistic support. Whether it’s mental health support, how we address housing insecurity and food insecurity for consideration for our college students has to be a consideration as well, and to be mindful of what that means long-term. It’s an investment in our future of the country. And so I think we have to be mindful that while there is an investment now, long-term it will yield considerable benefits for us as a nation, and for us to not only provide access, but holistic support during that process ultimately will put us in a much better place and lead us down a greater path holistically in terms of where we want to be in the future for this country. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And I’m going to go now to Elsa Dias, who has her hand raised. Q: Yes. I am. Thank you. I am a—I am faculty at a community college in Colorado—at Pikes Peak Community College. And I’m—so to support some of what is being said currently here. But I don’t think that students are getting what they’re paying for at community colleges. I think that they’re getting much more than what they are getting at community colleges. So that statement is sort of—I don’t know that I appreciate the statement, because I think that students at community colleges we are working with consistently cut budgets, more so than four schools. And we have much more difficulty in raising tuition. It’s not the same thing as in—as in four-year schools. We deal with populations that are in higher need than four-year schools. And we have to meet very different criteria than four-year schools. Our standards in terms of meeting what the students need and what—we are heavily legislated upon, right? So there is these state legislations that sort of affect us very differently than they do four-year schools. So I do believe that students are getting much more than what they are given, and what they get at community colleges. And some of the things that we see today, during this pandemic at community colleges, are I think the stigma to go to community colleges is certainly—continues to be around. And we continue to not participate in many of the voices that we should be included in at the table. But I also think that it’s important to realize that our administrators are faced with much higher challenges than administrators at four-year schools, and so in the faculty. And the lack of investment in faculty at four-year schools does not even come close to the lack of investments that we suffer at community colleges. We have to do a lot more with a lot less. Thank you. GOLDRICK-RAB: So if I may respond, I think maybe, Elsa, I wasn’t entirely heard for what I was saying. What I was saying was that you are doing a tremendous amount with very little. And the point is when you say what you get what you pay for, right, is if we want to have 100 percent graduation rates at community colleges, the way we do at Harvard, then we should be resourcing the schools, including the faculty, the student support services, et cetera. What we do in higher education is that we give the schools that educate the most vulnerable the least amount of money on a per-student basis. So for example, if you take a look—I served on the national taskforce around the adequate funding for the nation’s community colleges. That was all about showing that if you were going to fund community college adequately to actually address the needs of students, and to do so where they would much—have much higher rates of graduation and success in the completion of their programs, you would be spending approximately four to five to six times what you’re currently spending. I outline all of this in a very extensive—I have about a fifty-page report called “The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Community Colleges,” which came out in 2010, which actually delineates the underspending on community college faculty, on community college staff, and so on and so forth. I think, given the severe economic disparities between these institutions, their students, and the four-year colleges, it’s a miracle that in many ways we get anything, right? That students are able to graduate, because we spend so very, very little. So as a quick last example, in the state of New Jersey taxpayer support goes to Princeton University at fifty times the rate of taxpayer support going to New Jersey Community Colleges. Fifty times. So we should expect, right, that if we increased the support to students at those community colleges there is a strong relationship between the inputs of the finances and the outputs that they produce. I think it’s worthy of a greater investment. So I think we’re actually agreeing. FASKIANOS: Clyde, anything you would like to add? PICKETT: Well, just that loud and clear I hear the comments and what Elsa brings in. I appreciate the clarity from Sara there. Having had the opportunity to be an administrator at a community college and a developmental studies adjunct faculty member at a community college, I know loud and clear that we’re working proactively to meet the needs of our learners in a way that supports them where they are. And we do transformational work. To be clear, that that transformational work should be embraced, welcomed, and supported by four-year institutions. So those of us who are working and serving on the four-year institution side of the house to actually normalize and champion access to community and technical colleges, and to do so in such a way that embraces and makes smooth pipelines and opportunities for our learners who transfer—who complete their education, and to make sure there are appropriate matriculation agreements for programs of study for our students who ultimately complete their four-year education at institutions like the University of Pittsburgh, but start at community and technical colleges. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We are almost out of time, so I wanted to give you each a few minutes to just touch upon anything we didn’t touch upon or cover or leave us with some final thoughts. So, Sara, why don’t we start with you and then we’ll go to Clyde. GOLDRICK-RAB: Clyde was about to go. Please go, Clyde. FASKIANOS: Clyde was about to go. All right, Clyde. PICKETT: No, I appreciate the opportunity. Once again, thank you for allowing me to spend time with you, allowing me to be with you in community. And this is just an opportunity for us to reaffirm where we are in terms of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. And more specifically, to acknowledge that the areas of vulnerability that we’ve identified, the inequity, have been longstanding with regard to the academy. It’s an opportunity for us to flip the mirror and have a very long pause, intentional look at how we can make remedy, how we can make change, and how we can affirm and, for some of us, reaffirm our commitment and responsibility to address the inequity that has been present, but has been further exacerbated as part of this pandemic. So now is the time for us to close equity gaps. Now is the time for us to take action. And I look forward to standing with colleagues all around the country to do so. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I would just say that, you know, the challenges are really big right now, but there’s also a lot of room for structural change. And I think we need to speak up for it and advocate for it, and not just lament it, right? You know, each of us in this country has a representative, or a couple of them, or a bunch of them, right? And they need to hear about what’s happening to higher education. It’s really, really important. One aspect of the hearing yesterday that was absolutely fascinating occurred when there was an exchange between Representative Cole, who came from Oklahoma, and the panel. And what he said was—he sat back in his chair. And he said: I’ve got to tell you, I’ve learned something today. I did not know that college students could go hungry. I did not know that this was happening. He said, we have to do something about this. Folks, tell them about what’s going on, because they do not know—many of them do not know. I’m not saying that they’ll all act, but many, many of our public leaders are very, very distanced from the realities that we’re facing, whether we’re staff, whether we’re administrators, whether we’re faculty. They are not getting it. And I think that it is so important that we communicate as much as we can because they have some big work to do right now, and some big opportunities to create change. FASKIANOS: Thank you, both. This was a really great conversation. We appreciate your insights in sharing your experience with us. And we will put together all the resources that were mentioned here and send them out to all of you to read and digest. You can follow both of our speakers on Twitter, @saragoldrickrab and @cwpick. So please go there. Again, I want to thank Dr. Goldrick-Rab and Dr. Pickett for being with us today. Next week we have a dedicated webinar series for students. And so our first one will be next week of the semester on September 15, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, and it’s a great opportunity for students to actually ask their questions. This series is devoted to administrators and professors, but that one is for the students. And we hope you will share with your students and with your colleagues too on campus. So our next Education Webinar for the higher ed community will be on Thursday, October 21, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time with Brian Mateo to talk about civic engagement in higher education. So I hope you’ll join us next week and in October of the next one. So with that I encourage you to follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter. Visit CFR.org and ForeignAffairs.com for more information and resources on international affairs. And again, thank you both. We really appreciate it. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: Campus Sustainability and Climate Change Mitigation
    Play
    V.S. “Raghu” Raghavan, director of sustainability and associate director of the Miller Worley Center for the Environment at Mount Holyoke College, discusses actions campuses can take toward greater s…
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: Visa Challenges and Fall International Student Enrollment
    Play
    Adam Julian, director of international student and scholar services at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and 2021 chair of the international student and scholar regulatory practice committee at NAFSA, discusses visa challenges for foreign students and international student enrollment with the return to in-person learning this fall.    IRINA FASKIANOS: Good afternoon and welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I'm Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at the Council on Foreign Relations. Today's discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We're delighted to have Adam Julian with us to talk about visa challenges for foreign students and fall international student enrollment. We've shared his bio with you, but I'll just give you a few highlights. Mr. Julian is the director of international student and scholar services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the 2021 to 2022 chair of the International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. From 2015 to 2020, he was the director of international student and scholar services and outreach at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Adam, thanks very much for being with us today. Obviously, we are coming off this pandemic. I thought we could start by looking at the primary visa challenges foreign students are facing now and what this means for international student enrollment, as schools return to in-person learning this fall. ADAM JULIAN: Yeah, thanks so much for having me, Irina. And I appreciate the invitation and all the work that the Council on Foreign Relations does in this sphere. And it's an honor to be here today. So I wanted to start today with just discussing a few points. And a lot of this I know is information that will not be new to anyone, but hopefully it will spur some good conversation and some good dialogue amongst the group. And so today, I'll touch largely on some visa challenges for foreign students who want to study in the U.S., not necessarily only in the moment, sort of in the COVID sense, but also just in general some of the challenges for foreign students. Also, I want to touch a little bit about my experience, as the chair of the International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee with NAFSA, and how liaising with federal agencies and our partner agencies, how that's really changed, in particular under the Biden administration, in the last couple of years. And then finally I want to talk a little bit about some international enrollment challenges and tensions for the fall semester, really things in the moment. And so, what I want to say about visa challenges for foreign students, and really, of all of the English-speaking destination countries for higher education, so think the UK, think Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere, the U.S. visa, I would argue, is more expensive and difficult to obtain and comes with fewer benefits in terms of post-graduation work opportunities, in terms of paths to citizenship or permanent residency, than any of its competitors. But despite this, I think the U.S. is still largely seen as one of the best systems of higher education in the world, and U.S. education is still highly sought after by international students. So, when I say it's challenging and difficult for students to obtain a visa, when you think about it just in terms of cost alone, right, if you take into consideration the SEVIS fee, which is the immigration database the Department of Homeland Security and others use, the application fee for the visa itself. That alone is $510. And that's not to mention the cost of travel to a different city. Most of the time, U.S. consulates, depending on the country, as you all know, are either in the capital city or regional city, an applicant may have to provide or may have to travel and stay overnight, take time away from work, all these different things just simply for the opportunity to apply for an interview. This gets especially complicated in other geopolitical complications, think of the case of an Iranian student who has no U.S. Embassy in their home country to apply to and has to go to a third-party country, typically Yerevan or Ankara third-party consulate and it adds an additional cost. So, there's that piece, which is the cost of the visa itself, within even simply to receive an invitation letter or what's known as a Form I-20, from an institution of higher education or any type of institution authorized to issue those in the United States, students have to provide proof of financial solvency for twelve calendar months, just to be eligible to receive this. So, in addition to the cost of the actual application process and applying itself, this system of having to establish twelve months or greater of financial solvency, really, I would argue, creates some real inequity in who is able to access higher education in the U.S., and it's largely only available to the wealthy, since mobility to the U.S., is really, for the most part, only accessible to those who happen to have the means. So, once you've applied for the visa, and you show up to the embassy, you've gone through all these steps, then the way the U.S. immigration law and regulations are structured, is the burden of proof to overcome this idea of immigrant intent, or the idea that you the applicant, are intending to immigrate to the United States and the consular officers are trained to make that assumption, the burden of overcoming that is on the applicant. And most of the times, those of you who I'm sure have been to many U.S. embassies abroad, they're perhaps not the most welcoming and friendly places. Oftentimes, these interviews take place under very stressful conditions, they must be in person in a language that is not an applicant's native language, the majority of the time. And so, if the goal is for the applicant to overcome nonimmigrant intent, to prove to the consular officer that they do plan to return to their home country, they have to establish what's known as home country ties. If you're a 17-year-old or 18-year-old student who's going to study in the United States and is applying for a visa, how do you own property? How do you articulate what your plan for the future is, when you may not even know what you're going to study in the U.S.? Another, I think, aspect of this that makes it very difficult, particularly on the visa acquisition side, it’s really just, frankly speaking, it's more difficult to get a visa from “sample” state university than from Harvard, or an Ivy or a university that has international name recognition, right? So having to overcome that bias that may be there from a consular officer is also a significant challenge. So, in summary, for the visa acquisition process, and some of the challenges in general, it really is, it's the most arduous process for any, in my opinion, for any student visa, with the least beneficial results—no path to citizenship, really strict regulations, really strict vetting, very limited work opportunities for students in the U.S. So I want to turn now to my role at NAFSA and the International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee and how things have been different under the Biden administration. And as Irina mentioned, I've been a member of ISSRP in some capacity since 2016. I've been chairing the group since 2020. And the difference between the last six months versus the previous five years is truly night and day, I sort of like to describe it as this administration is really less deliberately obstinate, or we've gone back to having a partner and not an adversary. Life is more predictable, more steady for people who have jobs such as mine working with international students and scholars and doing a lot of regulatory work. And I'll give you a few examples just of how that's changed in the first couple of months of this administration. A lot of people on the call may know that the Department of Homeland Security issued some temporary relief or some extra guidance or exceptions for international students during the COVID pandemic. And that has been a process that's been continuing to be updated and extended, sort of piecemeal and it's been a very much a piece of concern for administrators and in higher education for the students and scholars that impact it, but within several months, the new administration issued guidance all the way through the entire academic year. And I think a lot of us really view that as a statement of solidarity and support that we're in this together and we're not going to continue to create a situation that's in flux and unstable and unreliable and subject to change rapidly. The administration also did away with the Trump administration's plan to create an OPT Compliance Enforcement Unit. Under ICE—this was one of the last few months of the Trump administration—there was an announcement that the Department of Homeland Security and ICE were going to create an OPT, Optional Practical Training, form of work authorization for international students, they were going to create an enforcement unit. That was cancelled within the first several weeks of the administration. Other things, the idea of making some significant changes that are less student friendly to OPT, Optional Practical Training, to duration of status, or the length of which a student or scholar can remain in the U.S., we're always on the regulatory horizon, or the agenda, of the past administration. And those things are no longer on the chopping block, so to speak. And so really, it's been a different sense of having a partner, having an adversary in our direct liaison work, we just completed our annual conference at NAFSA. And my group is responsible for facilitating the sessions where we invite government representatives to come and discuss trends and topics and questions around international students and scholars and regulations. The past four years, just frankly speaking, organizing these events were very challenging because there was a fear among our agency partners, I think, what they may say, or what they may be not allowed to say, don't want to be seen as saying something on the record. This was a fundamentally different experience, this year, more collegial, more positive in nature. For the first time in many, many years, we were able to have some liaison with Citizenship and Immigration Services. And just in general, this has really helped the, I would say, perception, and overall sense of optimism among international educators and international students and scholars who are looking to come and study in the U.S. So, finally, where are things right now, with international enrollment? What are the tensions? I think anybody's guess is as good as mine. I think right now, the biggest challenge that a lot of us are dealing with is simply the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consular operations, it's very, very difficult, if not impossible, to get an appointment, to get a visa. Many posts simply aren't operating. That's often case-by-case, country-by-country, post-by-post specific depending on the public health situation. Those that are operating are experiencing significant backlogs. Speaking for a little bit about the experiences of students at UMBC, we had a lot of students who had originally intended to arrive in August of 2020, but because of the pandemic, had deferred until January, and had deferred again until August. And so that's created a significant backlog. And the U.S. Department of State has very graciously, I think, announced their intention to really prioritize student and scholar mobility. But, we can only do so much with the resources that we have. I think other challenges that we're facing, aside from just lack of visa availability or just navigating travel restrictions, at the top, I mentioned the case of an Iranian student who may have to travel to Armenia or to Azerbaijan to apply for a U.S. student visa, how does that student or scholar navigate the travel restrictions that are in place because of COVID? Whether or not they're at the national level, whether or not they're airline specific, based at the specific console, it's a lot to keep track of and to navigate and very difficult and case-specific. One of the things I think that's kind of interesting is, say what you will about how the U.S. handled the COVID situation, but in a sense, where we are now has in a way turned into a bit of a competitive advantage, it is easier to come to the U.S. than to a lot of our competitor English-speaking higher education receiving countries. And I think, for a particular example, the UK is requiring a mandatory ten-day quarantine stay in a hotel when they arrive, and that's to the cost of the traveler. Australia and New Zealand have other stricter measures in place to prevent mobility of international visitors and travelers. And so, in a sense, that's turned into a bit of a competitive advantage. But it's really all about are students and scholars going to be able to get the visas? Right now, a lot of us are dealing with tensions and questions around vaccinations. It's a balance between personal safety. We want students to have that campus experience, we recognize the importance of the campus economy. And, just frankly speaking, I think that's what keeps a lot of U.S. higher education institutions afloat. And so for those of us who are requiring vaccines on our campuses, and if you're a student from X country who may not have access to a WHO-approved vaccine or a FDA-approved vaccine, how will that be dealt with when you arrive? Will we consider you vaccinated, will we provide you with a vaccine, do you risk your own personal health and safety and not get a vaccine, perhaps, the Russian-produced Sputnik vaccine or a vaccine that's not WHO-approved and then come to the U.S. and be required by a university to get a FDA-approved vaccine? There's really no, to my knowledge, understanding of the science of the effect of vaccine layering. And so students are making these difficult decisions right now. Do I get the vaccine that I have access to, and then take a risk of getting vaccinated again when I get to the U.S.? Do I not? I think that the last thing I would really want to say, I guess two final points about sort of tensions and maybe how we should be thinking about this right now. To me, the pandemic has really highlighted the importance of having a more strategic international enrollment plan. And by strategic, I mean, diversifying sources of enrollment. For students, a lot of institutions are one geopolitical issue or one pandemic or one natural disaster away from having a significant decrease in enrollment. I think the recent surge in COVID vaccine in India is a good example of that. Certainly, there are other cases throughout recent history, relations with China, the currency situation in South Korea several years ago, different types of things that have occurred. And so, I think the second point to that is we, I think, in the United States, really, we live in the moment, we don't think about the future, right? We are, to my knowledge, the only of our competitors, who don't have a national policy on international education. We don't have a whole of government approach, we don't have a strategic plan for how we will maintain ourselves as a preferred destination for higher education for students and scholars from around the world. And I think that's a short sighted and, in my opinion, I think there's lots of reasons for that. And with that, I'll leave my remarks and open it up to questions and hopefully some nice conversation. FASKIANOS: Great, thank you, Adam, for that. It's so complicated, and there's so much to navigate, as you described. We're going to go now to all of you for your questions, comments. So you can either raise your hand by clicking on the raised hand, or you can also write your question in the Q&A box, if you prefer to do it that way. But of course, we'd love to hear from you and hear your voice. So I'm going to go first to Katherine Moore, who has raised her hand. Please tell us what institution you're with, it will give us context. Be sure to unmute yourself. Katherine, you're still—there you go. Q: [Inaudible]. FASKIANOS: Adam, did you get that or was it breaking up too much to get it? JULIAN: I didn't get it, unfortunately. FASKIANOS: Okay. Katherine, would you mind just typing your question in the Q&A box? Because your connection is so poor, we could not decipher it. If that's okay, great. All right. I'm going to go next to going next to a written question Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, who is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College. She has two questions: “Are there any estimates of how much the U.S. lost in enrollments as the consequence of onerous student visa regulations, in terms of international students studying here?” And then her second question is, “One would have expected COVID-19 to increase barriers to international students’ access to U.S. education. But from your presentation, the U.S. is more accessible than other English-speaking countries. Hopefully, we won't have another wave of infections as most campuses reopened, but if we do how would that complicate the situation?” So that's a twofer. JULIAN: I'll start with the first question. I am not aware of any specific surveys or studies that have been done to really get at how immigration policy affects student mobility. I know that Institute of International Education publishes their Open Doors report every year, and that is essentially a census or an accounting of international student mobility. You can find that readily accessible and that will show you year over year comparisons. I also know that U.S. Department of State publishes their visa issuance rates. And so, those are also publicly available. And the second part of the question—Irina help me here—I think was we would assume that the COVID-19 pandemic would increase burdens, but that hasn't necessarily been the case, or increased obstacles for students. FASKIANOS: Right. JULIAN: I would say it certainly has increased obstacles. All of last year, most of U.S. universities were operating in fundamentally different circumstances in terms of in person or virtual, etc. And consulates were largely closed. And so, I would say during that time, absolutely, there were fundamentally more challenges. But I think, I guess the point I'm trying to make now, is that because we in the United States have, just being frank, have taken a much more laissez faire approach to public health, that now there are no national restrictions on entry as there are to other competitors. So, if I'm a student, particularly, who for the last two years has tried to think about I want to come to the United States, I want to study abroad for an advanced degree, you've got this pent up demand, and right now, really the only supply that's readily and easily accessible is the United States, in a sense. I mean, certainly there are ways to go to other competitor countries, but with fewer restrictions. I hope that gets at the question. FASKIANOS: Great. Let's go next to Susan Briziarelli, who is the assistant provost for global affairs at Adelphi University, “We've heard about plans to allow visa interviews to be conducted in the consoles virtually, is this still a possibility?” JULIAN: That is a great question. I've seen many, many rumors, and I know there's efforts afoot through AIEA and others to try to advocate for that. I have not heard anything from the Department of State or any of my colleagues that leads me to believe that is in the near future. I simply—this is my, Adam Julian, my personal opinion, not that University of Maryland, Baltimore County or NAFSA—that I simply just don't think that's in the cards anytime in the near future. I know a lot of people want that. And I know that would seemingly save a lot of problems, remove a lot of obstacles, rather, that we're facing. But I just don't see that happening. I hope I'm wrong. FASKIANOS: Next question from Martin Edwards, associate professor at Seton Hall University, “Are you aware of any conversations at the higher level to better coordinate communication between CBP DOS and USCIS?” JULIAN: Another great question. And I think about that. And the reason I say it's a great question is it's one that we're constantly asking and constantly getting different answers to, and it's really important. Think back to the early days of the Trump administration with the Muslim ban, if you remember when that executive order was signed and went into action, there were literally people in the air who, when they were in the air, the U.S. Customs Border Protection had no understanding that this was happening and only received this information as they came. And so I think that sort of interagency communication is absolutely critical, particularly in a situation live we’ve found ourselves in the last four or five years where you're having such rapidly changing regulations and things like that. Every time we ask this question, we get varying degrees, in particular, I think with CBP, you get a lot more communication amongst the Department of Homeland Security agencies, and not necessarily the Department of State's Consular Affairs or the Exchange Visitor program, because if you remember, CBP is part of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State is separate, in that sense. So, there's much more interagency cooperation. I know the couple of times that we asked that question at the most recent NAFSA annual conference of our agency partners, to a person, each one expressed the importance of that and that they take great strides to do it. But I'm not aware of any sort of specific actions or plans that are being made to facilitate better interagency communication, other than just to think right now, in this current climate, that's easier to happen naturally, particularly among the core career diplomats and career bureaucrats who are there administration to administration who perhaps no longer fear stepping out of line. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to go next to Hamdi Elnuzahi, who's raised their hand, assistant director for sponsored students at Minnesota State University, Mankato. So, if you could unmute yourself. Q: Hello. Thank you, Adam and you, for bringing this up here. I think it is a very important topic right now. And many of the schools are looking for how to strategically manage this issue to get more enrollment in the fall. It is not a question, but I just want to share something that is very important that may reduce or decrease the number of enrollments in the fall is the visa waiting time in many countries. Based on the information that I have, in more than eighty-six countries, the visa wait time could exceed sixty-five calendar days, up to maybe two hundred-something days, and most of the U.S. embassies in these countries maybe have only one option—emergency appointment. I think these applicants from these eighty-six countries, they don't have hope even to get a visa appointment, and they will not be able to come even if they get accepted. Second, if they want to enroll, they have to just to take the one option, to enroll online from the countries until they get an appointment. Mr. Adam, can you give us some insights about that, and how we can help these students in these countries? JULIAN: Thank you, those are some great points and I would be very happy to address them. I think the point about the significant delays and visa appointments, the time between when you can actually schedule an appointment, that's, I think, what most of us are dealing with right now, that's the most critical piece. And I think all I would say to that, I guess, would be in a positive sense, I know that back to this idea of feeling like we have a colleague, and not an adversary anymore. The Department of State has indicated that they will prioritize student visas as soon as public health conditions allow. And so, if the optimist in me is looking and hoping that will mean more resources, more appointments will be available, things will be coming up and we will be able to have some students who get more visas and get more appointments quickly. Obviously, that's not a given. But it is the situation as it is right now. Your point about enrolling online is a really interesting one. And so at least from my perspective, here at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a lot of our students—we did offer our students the option throughout the last year to enroll entirely online, if they chose, from outside of the U.S. But because of—back to these limited work authorizations, there's a program known as Curricular Practical Training, which is essentially a work authorization, off campus work or internship or authorization for a student to gain practical experience in his or her field. And for the most part, by and large, you must be physically present in the United States for a year, before you can be eligible for CPT. And so we found I think, in the past year that a lot of our students just simply didn't want to, particularly our masters students, or applied masters students for whom that CPT is such an important piece of what they're coming for, just simply didn't want to enroll online, simply wanted to wait so that they could start that eligibility for CPT, which can only begin when they're in the United States. And so that's a critical piece. And then I also think—back to the online piece—one of the things that I know a lot of colleagues around the country are grappling with is as we open up, and as we go back to more in person learning on our campuses, perhaps those available online options may go away, perhaps there are fewer options. And so, what we're trying to do is to find a happy medium where we can still have, still be able to offer a student a full array of online or hybrid courses that they can enroll in from abroad, if that situation comes to that, but also not do so in a limiting fashion. And I think time will tell, I think the next month, six weeks will be really, really critical for what fall enrollment is going to look like from an international perspective. And I'm hoping for the best, I think like everyone else. FASKIANOS: Yeah, thank you very much. I'm going to go next to Jennifer Tishler, who is associate director at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Our center has several international PhD students on hold but also several international nonstudent postdoctoral scholars. The postdocs would have employment status at our university, not student status. They would be entering as F-1 students and/or J-1 scholars. As things start to open up this summer, do you know if one visa classification will get priority over another? JULIAN: Short answer is I don’t. I know so much of the conversation when we facilitated our conference session with Consular Affairs and NAFSA was around F-1 students, but I do know that they are also prioritizing—and as we've seen through the past in these national interest exemptions for “academics,” and so I think there's been a lot of manipulation is not the word, a lot of negotiation, rather, around what academic means. Does that mean anyone with a J-1 visa, does that mean an H1B who is coming to teach and that sort of thing. So, I don't know the answer to that, but I think what I would say is just in general, I know Consular Affairs is understanding to higher education’s need in this regard. And I think there's an understanding that it encompasses not just the F-1 category students. So yeah, not really a great answer, but it is what it is, as the saying goes. FASKIANOS: Right. I mean, there is so much still to sort out as states are now reopening and just so much navigate through this summer as we see how things unfold in this country. So, the next question comes from Devi Potluri, who is dean of the graduate school at Chicago State University. If you could unmute yourself, that would be terrific. Q: Thank you. Good afternoon, Adam. You did mention the difficulties those of us in the smaller state universities have in our student visas. Before COVID, we used to hear the news that because we don't require GRE, consular officers would look at as a negative thing rather than a positive thing. Do you think that COVID has changed that because most universities now waive the GRE requirement? We had some students telling us, they used to ask a question does your university have a GRE, what kind of university doesn’t, even though we are a state university, fully accurate and everything else. I don't know if you heard anything like that, or any other ideas. JULIAN: In general, that idea is something that anecdotally I've heard people, colleagues like you from around the country, and colleagues I've worked with in my capacity at NAFSA, say for years things from “Oh, you don't require the GRE” to “Oh, your [inaudible] requirements are very low. These are the types of questions that we've asked consular officers in the past, and certainly, I would admit that these practices have happened. I would suggest that they are a little more isolated than I think the belief is, I think we, human nature just sort of grasp on to these ideas that when there's a perceived sort of injustice or unfairness, I think there's human nature to really think of it as a trend rather than a few isolated incidents. But that's not to say that it absolutely does not occur, I certainly think it does occur. And, in my experience working in the past at a public state university without much international name recognition, I've encountered some of those things myself. I think there are some things that you can do to ameliorate that situation. I think, one of the things that we really focus on at UMBC, and in other places, throughout my career, where I’ve worked, is really on, I don't want to say coaching, it's not coaching students on the visa application process, but helping them understand what they have to articulate. And part of that process is explaining to a consular officer, why Chicago State? Where is Chicago State? What you're studying, what your future goals are, why you chose that specific university? I think you raise a really interesting point with the—particularly as a lot of us are going test optional, even not only with GRE and for undergraduate admissions, SAT and ACT and those sorts of things, but in the English language testing area. Duolingo, I think is making a lot of significant headway in English language. And so, consular officers provide—they have bias for TOEFL or Duolingo, or the type of testing that it is, is it a public university, is it a community college, those sorts of things. I haven't heard any anything specific, but what I guess my strategy would be or what sort of what my team tries to do is to really educate our students and our applicants on really how that burden of proof is on them. And not necessarily just burden of proof that they're not going to immigrate, but burden of helping to articulate what their future plan is and why your specific university or school or institution fits into those plans and what it is. And I think that will go a long way. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We have another question from Martin Edwards, “Many universities have decreased their staff and resources to international students on campuses over the past year in order to offset difficulties of the pandemic and lower enrollment of international students. Could you offer any data resources that we could point to, to make a case for an increase of staff and resources to support an expected increase of international students?” JULIAN: So trying to wrack my brain here for any sort of specific data, I'm aware of some benchmarking surveys that some of my colleagues, particularly people in my role as a director of international student scholar services have done with NAFSA to talk really about what ideal staffing looks like, based on enrollment. Outside of that, if you could send me a message, I could follow up with you on that. I could share that information; I'd have to locate it. I don't know where it is, and how easily or readily available it is. I'd say, one point that we might bring into this conversation is how do you go about creating additional staffing and supporting increases in students? I know there are many, many different models that people employ, whether that's an international student fee charged per semester, or whether the fee for services you charge for OPT applications that you process or H-1B applications that you process. Obviously, we all have our own political and cultural context to work within what's possible at our campuses and institutions. But I would say one place where I would want to kind of put some focus would be on how could we creatively increase those resources. But I'd be happy to share that benchmarking survey if we can connect offline somehow. FASKIANOS: Sure, we can make sure that happens. Next question from Danielle McMartin, who is director of global education at California State University, San Marcos. “We do anticipate a change in F-1 regulations regarding allowance to online classes, as many institutions and faculty have become more online friendly within their curriculum planning. You might have touched upon this, but I want to just break surface it again.” JULIAN: That's a great question. And for those of you who work closely with F-1 student regulations, you will remember that much of the language that revolves around hybrid or distance or virtual education is antiquated at best, I think there's a reference to closed circuit television in the regulations that we have to use to sort of navigate this. So, I would hope that there are some changes, I think there are a lot of things that have occurred this last year that are not going away. I think one of the things that I think about when I hear that question is what exactly does hybrid mean? How do you define hybrid? Right? That was the guidance we had to work with throughout most of the pandemic with our F-1 student populations, how do you define hybrid? Is it one minute of in-person instruction? Is it one activity? Is it a majority? There's no, like so much of our work, there's no black and white, this is what it is. And so I think that piece of sort of virtual learning, hybrid versus online versus in person, is one of the single greatest areas of need, I think, for clarity in the F-1 student regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. So hopefully something will come with this. I hope we learn our lesson from this and prioritize it moving forward. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Katy Crossley-Frolick, who is an assistant professor at Denison University, “You discussed the need for longer term strategic thinking regarding international enrollment and mobility. Are you sensing a shift in the Biden administration in terms of pivoting in that direction? And what should be tackled first?” If you were going to give them, 1, 2, 3, what would you advise, Adam? JULIAN: Oh, yeah, I love that, I've suddenly been given some power. This is a great. Am I sensing his shift? Yeah, I think in general, I think it's just a more friendly administration, you see it in not just international education, but more friendly to higher education. You've seen it in some recent Title Nine actions, you've seen it in some other things. I know this idea of a national policy is something that other associations and other groups have brought up and advocated for. For me, the number one—I don't know if I can come up with three—but the number one thing I would fix or would address as part of this policy is to increase opportunities for work for international students and increase the ease by which an international student has a path to permanent residency or citizenship. I know I'm preaching to the choir or so to speak here. But the value of international students to this country and to the world is really immeasurable. Right, how many of our Nobel laureates and others and Fortune 500 company founders and CEOs are former international students, right. Making the U.S. more attractive destination for the world's best and brightest minds to come, making it easier for them to work, to gain practical experience, to invest in this country in this economy, and if they so ultimately choose to have a path to permanent residency, should be the number one piece of any strategy, in my opinion. International students create jobs, international students innovate, international students who are responsible for some of the greatest accomplishments of this country, in my opinion. I’d also focus on opportunities for study abroad or study away. I think the value of mutual understanding, particularly thinking of my experience coming from smaller state schools or growing up in rural Southwestern Indiana like I did, the value of interacting with people with differing perspectives and experiences is immeasurable, so I would try to find some way to create support for international study or travel for U.S.-based students. I think that's only two, but those are the first two that come to mind. FASKIANOS: Great, and Adam, speaking from your position at UMBC, what have you done over the course of the pandemic to foster a sense of community for your international student population? And what are the strategies that you're putting into place for returning this fall, especially if some of them aren't going to make it onto campus if they are trying to get those interviews, and they're not going to be there in the fall, or make it to the fall, are you offering the online option? How are you thinking about all that? JULIAN: Well, that is, I think, the number one question that we think about every day. So, the first part: what did we do over the fall, we actually established a new program—I'm sure most the people on the call with universities have similar programs—our Global Ambassadors Program. And it really is designed to do two things simultaneously: provide funding and support for international students who already have limited opportunities for employment in the U.S. who may have lost their job because that on campus employment isn't available due to COVID. And so, we employ them to really serve as ambassadors for new students and admitted students to help them connect, build a sense of community online, virtual, different types of platforms, different types of activities that they participate in together. And really, that was sort of as a substitute to try to, during the COVID times, build a sense of community and try to replicate those bonds and the importance of mutual understanding and trust that comes with the campus experience. But the campus experience, the experience of studying in a U.S. university of vibrant campus life is really in some ways what differentiates the U.S. system of higher education from other systems of higher education in the world. And I think we would all be naive to say that's not extremely valuable. And so, we're looking at ways that we can do that safely, just like I'm sure everyone else are, that is something that we think should be critical, it's a priority. And to add to that, we've got a whole group of students, they're not many, but who came in the fall or spring during COVID, who have never visited campus. So, there's this real kind of pent up need for that. And so, we are planning things for the fall semester, we're doing some sort of hybrid orientations and meet and greets and a sort of welcome reception with our senior administration for international students to recognize the significant obstacles they've overcome to join us. And we really want to celebrate that and recognize that at the most senior levels, and so we're planning some things like that for the fall. FASKIANOS: Thank you, and then putting on your NAFSA, or your role at NAFSA. What are you doing—obviously, so much of this is dependent on our U.S. immigration policy and reforming that—what are you doing to talk to Congress to advocate for some of these changes that you've mentioned here, and that need to be put in place in order to decrease the barriers to come to this country to study? JULIAN: Yeah, NAFSA has a great advocacy wing, a group of professional staff members who are really dedicated to advocating on behalf of the Association and its members. They do several things that you can imagine, from an advocacy day to specific calls to action. One of the things, in particular, that the regulatory practice group that I've been involved with has done over the past is when there were these proposed changes to immigration regulations, the way the process works, typically, there's a public comment period where anyone can comment on how this rule will impact them, or impact their state, their university, their institution, their family. And so we've really worked with NAFSA to sort of muster the energy amongst people to write these comment letters and to have our voice be heard. There have certainly been successes, I think, through this. I think back to [inaudible]. I know at some point the duration of status was on the chopping block, so to say, so to speak, there were, it was up for public comment, and received thousands and thousands of comments. And ultimately, that was dropped by the next administration, that's no longer in danger. So, I would say, really kind of summary, two things. NAFSA’s advocacy arm works really closely with other associations and really sort of daily on the Hill for our means. And then also, we as association members, I think, really need to be actively engaged in public comment periods and things like that. FASKIANOS: Fantastic, I'm just looking to see—we're almost at the end of our time. So, I'm just wanting to see if there's anything—we covered a lot of ground. So, I think I can just turn to you for any closing remarks that you want to make before we finish up our session. JULIAN: Thanks. Well, I just want to say, I really appreciate everybody attending, and I appreciate a lot of the great questions and comments that I know were—for those of us who are in the weeds, so to speak, in this room right now, it's a very stressful time. But I think back to last summer, and then I'm reminded that it's not nearly as stressful as it was, then. So, have hope, keep the faith, we'll see, I think as things improve, appointments will open up and we'll get back to sort of establishing whatever our new sense of normal is, and we'll do it like we do all things, that's together. And I look forward to that, if I can ever help in any way and to anyone on the call, please don't ever hesitate to reach out. I'm always happy to share ways that you can get involved with NAFSA, with international students, calling regulatory practice committee, or just trying to share resources that I may have come across in my work with that group that would be helpful. And I guess that's all I have to say. FASKIANOS: Adam, I do have one final question, just as your people are navigating over the course of the summer, is there one source or a couple, a handful, that you would say should be the touch point go to reading or go to check, like every other day or daily or once a week, just sort of see where things are? JULIAN: Yeah, I would say so if you're looking at that from a sense of what's changing on a regulatory perspective, I think NAFSA, at least for student and scholar pieces, is the definitive source. And so, I would put in a plug for NAFSA.org/reginfo, that's the landing page where any recent changes and updates occur. On the consular front, it is really post specific. And so, if you're working with a student, or you have a population, have a heavy population of students from one country or another, I would really refer you to that particular embassy or consulate itself and their social media feeds. They do a great job with their public outreach. And they're a great source of information. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. And we will circulate the link to this webinar, some of the resources that were mentioned, as well as the benchmark study that Adam is going to dig out for us. So, appreciate that. So, Adam Julian, thank you very much for being with us and to all of you. I hope that people can take a little bit of a break. It has been a grueling year for educators. The summer probably won't give you much respite. But hopefully, you'll be able to take a few days off to try to reenergize and do some self-care, which is so important. So, we really appreciate it. So, thank you. You can follow Adam on Twitter @Adam_l_Julian. So I hope you will follow him there. We appreciate your expertise. And again, follow us on @CFR_Academic, and you can visit CFR.org and ForeignAffairs.com for more resources. We look forward to seeing you all again for our next webinars, so stay well and stay safe and take care. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: Transforming International Affairs Education to Address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    Play
    Reuben E. Brigety II, vice-chancellor and president of the University of the South, Carla Koppell, senior advisor for diversity, equity, and inclusion and distinguished fellow at Georgetown Universit…
  • United States
    Is Rising Student Debt Harming the U.S. Economy?
    Higher education provides students many socioeconomic benefits and increases the global competitiveness of the United States, but mounting student loan debt has sparked a debate over federal lending policies.
  • Inequality
    Transforming International Affairs Education to Address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    Insufficient leadership, outdated curricula, and alienating school climates leave future foreign policy experts ill prepared to address the social forces contributing to fragility and unrest globally. Transforming U.S. foreign policy requires a comprehensive educational strategy on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • United States
    Healing and Paying With National Service
    As the Biden administration takes shape, an emphasis on voluntary national service, namely young adults volunteering national service at home, abroad or in the military in exchange for tuition waiver…