top of page

Search Results

73 items found for ""

Blog Posts (12)

  • Perspectives of Racial and Ethnic Inclusivity in Higher Education

    Higher education leadership need to actively engage with and listen to BIPOC students. Written by: Thea Louise Thomaseth Bugge February is Black History Month, so in this blog post we are sharing statements from people of color about their experiences in higher education. In order to recognize diverse voices throughout the year, the MAPS student blog will feature a different BIPOC columnist each month This month, we asked four people of color about their perspectives of inclusivity in higher education based on their own experiences in higher education. The contributors are from Ethiopian, Kenyan, the Ivory Coast, and Indian-Norwegian backgrounds. Two of them live in the U.S., and the other two live in Norway. By offering perspectives of students of color in both the U.S. and Norway, this blog post can give unique insights to higher education stakeholders interested in creating inclusive, equitable spaces. (Disclaimer: The statements come from four people that are known to the blog-post author. Their names are kept anonymous to protect their privacy). Person #1 is a woman who currently attends Oslo Metropolitan University. She is also a teacher herself. Person #2 is a man who went to the Oslo Metropolitan University. Person #3 is a woman who currently attends a University in California. Person #4 is a man who currently attends a University in California. Statement Prompt #1: (When you went to the university) Did you ever feel like you were treated differently because of your skin tone, accent, gender, or anything else? Person #1: Not really, I mean there were students who were really nice and inclusive and others weren't. But I don't want to generalize and say that I was treated differently. In Scandinavia or Norway in particular, racism is very subtle. People would never be racist to your face, so when they are racist it is difficult to see it and prove it. I have never experienced any form of sexism, I mean that's highly unlikely in the Norwegian society having that the society is built on the notion of equality Person #2: No, I have not been treated differently than the White students. I don't think that happens in Norway. However I have noticed that there is less diversity at the Norwegian Business School University (B.I), and more diversity at the University of Oslo. I think that this contributes to why a lot of the top richest people in Norway are White men over 50 years old. But then again, I think that this is less of a problem with the universities and society and more of a life values thing. However what I do think we have a problem with at all levels of school is prejudice based on economic status. Person #3: I went to a predominantly white institution (PWI) where I guess there were around ten black students. Which I was aware of and partially prepared for ahead. Because of my skin color, nationality, and gender, I was treated differently and often stood out from my friends, but I am fortunate to have had a community that encouraged and supported me. For most of my undergrad, I also made it a point to remain hidden and only communicate when spoken to. An example of a time I felt I was treated differently was during my sophomore year of undergraduate, specifically in one of my science classes. As a student in my general chemistry class, there were times where my professor would grade my homework assignments differently compared to that of my peers. I found this out when I once helped one of my peers with the collaborator homework assignment. She copied my work, and we both wrote down the same thing (calculations on the assignment). But when I received mine back, I didn’t receive full points like my peer student did. I went to speak with my professor because I thought maybe there was some sort of confusion or miss-grading, but to my surprise, my professor quickly dismissed the incident and told me ‘focus on your own work.’ I didn’t know what that meant since I was the one that helped my peer with the homework assignment. I didn’t know what to do next and was a little fearful so I brushed it off. Person #4: I wouldn't say any specific event, but I think sometimes there is more pressure on us to perform well as international students. Especially coming from Africa, to show that we are not here by luck but actually we have the skills and knowledge like everyone else. Also, when English is not your first language (I mainly saw it happening to students from Asia), sometimes even when you have the necessary knowledge, in group work some mates don’t trust you to do some tasks because they believe you might not be able to express the idea as well as they could do. Sometimes also you deal with unnecessary favoritism, when people give you an opportunity or let you do something just because you are black, so that they either don’t look racist or they can meet their DEI ratio, while you could have get it by yourself. Statement Prompt #2: Were there programs or initiatives at the school that focused on diversity and anti-racism? Person #1: I attended a Norwegian bachelor degree program, which means 99% of the students were Norwegian. Therefore no such programs exist in that context. But I think they do have initiatives for international students to make them feel included in society. Person #2: I can't think of anything specific to the University. But I think that the Norwegian children's and high school's lay out the foundations for people to feel equal in University. For example, students with disabilities are no longer kept in specialized classes outside from the rest, but are included in regular classes with an assistant. And the curriculum teaches values of equality early on. I think that this works well in combination with large university class sizes, as everyone gets included and exposed to each other. Person #3: During my undergrad years, there was no club promoting Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). But students who realized its value formed a small community to care for individuals affected by it. Us in this community supported and showed up for each other despite the school's lack of support. Person #4: I have not experienced anything that deeply affected me, so I did not look for any programs. However, there was always a person of contact in the school who I knew I could revert to if I was facing discrimination in any kind. Columnist of the month This month we are featuring Sydney Montgomery. Sydney Montgomery is passionate about equity of access to and success in higher education. She has written and worked extensively on helping marginalized and underrepresented groups succeed, with a current focus on increasing their abilities to go to law school. In a February 2023 interview for Forbes Magazine, she stated that some of the largest barriers to underrepresented groups enrollment in law school include; lack of information, lack of finances for all the associated enrollment costs, and imposter syndrome. In the same interview, she called out the importance of leaders to understand and work on improving their social impact. Some of Sydney's accomplishments include; -Becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Outline It, Inc, which helps students improve their writing skills to increase upward mobility through its interactive writing platform. -Becoming the host of the 'Break into Law School podcast', which has more than 33K+ downloads. -Becoming the Executive Director and Founder of Barrier Breakers®, Inc. -Awarded a 2020 IECA Making a Difference Award -Awarded a 2021 Counselor of the Year (PCACAC) award -Being "named one of Women’s eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century" You can follow Sydney on her Youtube Channel S. Montgomery Consulting - Law School and her non-profit 'Montgomery Admissions Consulting' non-profit's blog

  • Equity in Higher Education for International Students

    International students deserve better support in higher education. Written by: Thea Louise Thomaseth Bugge International students face many interconnected challenges that should be addressed in a holistic way by higher education institutions. Challenges vary by the individual and can range from cultural differences in academic writing to culture barriers and homesickness, and even discrimination and exclusion. International students represent about 4% of the total student population, which comes to around 1 million students enrolled annually. Recently there has been a drop of international student enrollment in U.S. schools, highlighting the importance of outreach and support. Therefore, higher-ed stakeholders should do more to implement comprehensive community-driven, human-centric approaches to ensure greater equity for international students. International students often confront a wide range of unique academic challenges that make classes frustrating and difficult. A language barrier is an example of a challenge that can make it difficult for students to both learn and communicate about class material. Social anxiety or culture can also make it so that some students feel uncomfortable asking for help. Another potential challenge is academic writing style. Different cultures may have different communication and writing styles, and may structure academic writing differently. Having to adjust to American academic writing and grammar can therefore be challenging and time consuming. Prior knowledge gaps can be frustrating too, as professors may expect students to have specific academic or historic background knowledge that international students may not have. Finally, some students may feel alienated by Western-focused class material that is non-inclusive of diverse perspectives or historical backgrounds. International students may also experience many kinds of interpersonal challenges. These can make adjustment to college and life in the U.S. difficult. It can feel frustrating and alienating to live for an extended period of time where people don't speak one's first language, people don't look or dress like them, and/or general conduct is different. Students may also miss foods from their countries, as dining halls mostly serve American foods. Homesickness is therefore common, especially since some international students may be unable to travel back home over the holidays. Finally and importantly, international students may also be faced with prejudice. Not only may some students face racism based on their appearance, but they may also face negative stereotypes of their country or culture. Not to mention the additional pressures students may face such as sexism, religious discrimination, anti-LGBT+ discrimination, etc. Prospective international students may also be influenced by tuition costs and emerging competitive alternative colleges and universities abroad. Studying abroad in the United States is expensive, which can deter many students. Barriers to employment for international students can exacerbate this problem too, as most are unable to get paid work due to visa restrictions or other similar issues. It does not help then, that skepticism about the return value of higher education seems to be spreading from the U.S. to other countries. Even those who have decided to study abroad may be less likely to choose the U.S., as great colleges and universities in other countries around the world increasingly create more competition for international students. However, U.S. higher education institutions can differentiate themselves to prospective students by addressing these discrepancies and fostering positive academic and social environments for prospective international students. Higher education stakeholders can do many things to improve active inclusivity for their international students. Below is a list of examples of efforts that institutions can implement to do so. Adopt more inclusive alumni networks to support enduring relationships Adopt a more inclusive career support program with connection to opportunities abroad Make efforts to decolonize the college classroom and curriculum Promote anti-racist grammar in the classroom Make efforts to provide comprehensive and accessible financial support Provide safe spaces for international students to share experiences and concerns Provide human centric support programs for students that extend beyond the first year Include family member support programs Instate international student support programs for professors and faculty Create open discussions about international student social inclusion Recommended further reading: Weighing in on Duke case, experts discuss discrimination against international students and pressures to assimilate International College Students: Challenges and Solutions Toward Greater Inclusion and Success: A NEW COMPACT FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

  • Why Higher-Ed Institutions Should Address Period Poverty

    Menstrual equity is a matter of human dignity, public health, and gender discrimination. Written By: Thea Louise Thomaseth Bugge Period poverty is an issue of equity in higher education. Limited or no access to menstrual products can leave students vulnerable to health complications such as emotional stress, infections, and serious illnesses. Period poverty impacts a lot of students across the U.S; as many as 1 in 10 college students struggle with it, according to a 2021 study by BMC Women’s Health. Unfortunately, underserved groups, low-income students, and first-generation students have the highest rates of period poverty. Students should not have to miss school due to the risk of bleeding through clothes and getting shamed, let alone be at risk for some types of illnesses and/or be forced to pick between simple hygiene or food just because they get their period. As such, higher-ed institutions should provide students with free menstrual products. Access to menstrual products is not a given. Menstrual products can be costly and difficult to find for free. For example, pantyliners may cost people up to $443.33 in their lifetime, while tampons may total up to $1,773.33. Ruined underwear alone can cost people up to $2,280 in their lifetime. It can be difficult for students to cover these expenses while paying thousands of dollars for tuition and other related expenses. Students without access to period products may miss valuable classes they paid for, which can harm their educational performance and translate to a financial loss overtime. Additionally, this cost falls almost exclusively on women, adding additional expenses on top of the gender wage gap. Those who come from underrepresented and underserved communities should not be forced to deal with additional expenses that can harm their school and career development. Period poverty can harm students in many ways. Some students may try to use toilet paper and risk bleeding through their clothes, which can cause discomfort, embarrassment, and social stigma. Some students may miss class and valuable teaching time. Even more concerning is the fact that inadequate access to menstrual products can be dangerous. Menstruating people without access risk several medical issues, like infections that can lead to cervical cancer and infertility. Further, students who leave tampons in too long due to lack of access to menstrual products may be at risk of toxic shock syndrome, which is deadly. It is important to recognize that period poverty is not exclusively a women's issue. Nonbinary students and transgender men may also get their periods. They should have access to period products too, without having to face possible prejudice when trying to get access to them. Therefore, it is important to provide menstrual products in a circumspect yet accessible way. This is a matter of human dignity, public health, and gender discrimination. Periods are as unavoidable as any other bathroom needs. Toilet paper and hand-soap is free and provided by all kinds of institutions, including schools. Imagine how unfair it would be to remove toilet paper from school bathrooms. This is equally unfair. Additionally, condoms are provided at many institutions, yet menstrual products are not. People can abstain from sex and contraception can be found for free or cheap elsewhere - yet periods are unavoidable and menstrual products often cannot be found for free (some, not all, homeless shelters may offer them, but it should not be assumed that people live near them or know about them). So it does not make sense to exclude free menstrual products from students. Period poverty should be recognized as an equity in higher education issue. Therefore, colleges and universities should take steps to provide free menstrual products in their public restrooms. For more information, see: Menstrual Equity: A Legislative Toolkit by Period Equity & ACLU Changing the Cycle: Period Poverty as a Public Health Crisis, University of Michigan School of Public Health

View All

Other Pages (59)

  • Data Tools & Research | MAPS Project

    MAPS Data Tools Higher education leaders need new ways of understanding where their students are coming from and what they need to be successful. The suite of MAPS data tools offers opportunities for critical insight and foresight into institutional performance within a rapidly changing market. These tools empower leaders to ask better questions and make more informed decisions based on actionable, data-driven insights. Student Trends and Enrollment Projections Dashboard The Student Trends and Enrollment Projections (STEP) Dashboard visualizes the relationship between population data, enrollment data, and the potential impacts of trends like distance learning. The dashboard was created in response to a market need for a tool to connect the broad landscape of higher education to national and institutional actions and provide foresight into upcoming shifts that will impact the industry. EXPLORE THE DASHBOARD Financial Health Dashboard To achieve their missions, colleges and universities need appropriate resources - but right now, resources aren't equitably distributed across the postsecondary system. This has real consequences for equitable student success, particularly for historically marginalized students. Leaders need tools that provide deeper insight and equitable foresight into how financial decision-making affects student outcomes historically and moving forward. EXPLORE THE DASHBOARD Across the U.S. higher education industry, different colleges and universities produce uneven outcomes for students - placing them on a path to greater economic mobility or leaving them less well off. These gaps are especially pronounced for students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and rural students, who face more hurdles even at well-resourced institutions. Institutional Equity Outcomes Dashboard EXPLORE THE DASHBOARD These use cases provide fictional examples of higher education leaders' experiences using the MAPS tools to gain insights into their institutions’ financial performance with an equity lens. ​ Although the use cases are de-identified and based on fictional narratives, they do employ actual data from all three of the dashboards. ​ Read all four use cases below. REGIONAL UNIVERSITY PUBLIC UNIVERSITY HBCU COMMUNITY COLLEGE Use Cases

  • Financial Health Dashboard | MAPS Project

    Financial Health Dashboard To achieve their missions, colleges and universities need appropriate resources - but right now, resources aren't equitably distributed across the postsecondary system. This has real consequences for equitable student success, particularly for historically marginalized students. ​ Leaders need tools that provide deeper insight and equitable foresight into how financial decision-making affects student outcomes historically and moving forward. ​ To support this need, the Financial Health Dashboard offers a first-of-its-kind visibility into the financial health of more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide and the system as a whole. ​ Leveraging six years of data and sector-specific models, this interactive resource provides decision makers with a data-driven way to understand the current financial state, learn from peers, and together shape a system where every student can succeed. Explore the Dashboard What the dashboard is: What the dashboard is not: Uniquely comprehensive: Integrates financial data with student trend data for 3000+ colleges and universities Sector-specific: Outlines separate models for six different institutional sectors (2 and 4 year public, private, and proprietary) Interactive: Engage with data points to understand the "why" and "what" behind the scores ​ Condemning: Does not predict the future failure (or success) of any institution ​ Exhaustive: One resource to be used in conjunction with other tools for a robust and contextualized understanding ​ Static: Expect changes to the index over time as new data and feedback become available EXPLORE THE TOOL *The FHII will not include profiles for institutions who have not reported sufficient financial data to IPEDS via the IPEDS Finance Survey. Understand the Tool METHODOLOGY GLOSSARY

  • Student Equity | MAPS Project

    THE MAPS PROJECT The higher education industry is currently grappling with unprecedented forces, such as demographic shifts, market disruptions, and sustained enrollment declines. These trends were intensified by the COVID-19 crisis, which also deepened our understanding that outcomes of higher education are uneven and can often exacerbate historical inequities for many students and communities. Amid these monumental challenges, higher education leaders have an opportunity to build more resilient and equitable systems in which all students, regardless of their backgrounds, can achieve their definition of success. ​ The MAPS Project is a student-centric initiative by the Sorenson Impact Center to chart the rapidly evolving higher education system. It brings high-quality data and historically marginalized voices to higher education decision-maker in order to Model, Analyze, Prototype, and Share innovative solutions. The suite of MAPS data tools - and supporting research - offers a new way to identify strategic questions, navigate market challenges, and make data-backed decisions toward greater equity. WATCH Institutional Response DATA TOOLS ​ The suite pf MAPS data tools offers opportunities for critical insight and foresight into institutional performance within a rapidly changing market. These tools empower leaders to ask better questions and make more informed decisions based on actionable, data-driven insights. ​ The Sorenson Impact Center is proud to offer three interactive data dashboards — the Student Trends and Enrollment Projections (STEP Dashboard), the Institutional Equity Outcomes Dashboard, and the Financial Health Dashboard — that can help leaders: ​ Assess demographic trends and enrollment projections across the United States Highlight institution-level factors related to equitable student success Compile and and analyze institutional financial health with a unique emphasis on student centricity ​ View our suite of MAPS tools that inform on current trends and future trends. DATA TOOLS STUDENT PERSPECTIVE ​ Now more than ever, elevating student voices and encouraging higher education leaders to first consider the impact their decisions have on students is critical if the industry is to thrive. The MAPS Project has centered around student perspectives on higher education, particularly focusing on the experiences of students from historically marginalized groups. LEARN MORE PARTNER WITH US CONTACT US

View All
bottom of page