A new data tool to prompt constructive conversations about performance and accountability between and among DHE, our public colleges and universities, legislators and others, and to contribute to the discovery of insights that point to actions that lead to results.
Our portfolio of projects and programs designed to transform Massachusetts’ higher education landscape and deliver benefits for our stakeholders.
Collaboration and research is underway to produce a new systemwide strategic plan, launching in 2020, that places equity for underrepresented populations as the top performance and policy priority for Massachusetts public higher education.
Achieving true racial equity in Massachusetts public higher education will require colleges and universities to identify and repair policies and practices that have served too few students—and kept too many from realizing their dream of a college degree.
With the awarding of FY21 Higher Education Innovation Fund grants, institutions are moving into action to advance equity goals, using new approaches that promote antiracism and affirm the cultural wealth and strengths of racially minoritized student populations. Most of the proposals funded by DHE seek to provide faculty and staff equity training for transforming campus pedagogy, syllabi, curriculum and campus life, with the goal of making the institution a truly nurturing environment for Students of Color.
“Since the inception of the Higher Education Innovation Fund, our goal has been to seed and support new ideas and proven practices across our campuses, with the overarching goal to increase success outcomes for minoritized students,” said Patricia A. Marshall, Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Student Success. “We have begun to identify the need for significant changes in the way we operate and educate, focusing on ensuring that we’re ready to meet the needs of racially minoritized students at our institutions. The Innovation grants will provide campuses with the resources to amplify this important work.”
Listed below are brief descriptions of the grant recipients for the FY21 Higher Education Innovation Fund and dollar award amounts:
At its March meeting, the Board of Higher Education received a detailed update on the STEM Starter Academy (SSA), launched in 2013 with the goal of increasing student interest in STEM coursework and careers. SSA is a strategic initiative of the Department of Higher Education (DHE), implemented in partnership with Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges to recruit, ready, retain and advance students in STEM pathway programs. SSA students complete STEM certificates and degrees and transfer to four-year STEM programs or enter the workforce.
SSA aligns with DHE’s Equity Agenda through intentional recruiting and comprehensive support of community college students who represent the rich and growing diversity of the Commonwealth. SSA is currently in its eighth year of implementation. Results from the recent evaluation show Black and Latinx SSA participants are more likely to have a positive outcome after two years compared to their peers who are not in the program.
The University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) has provided an independent evaluation of the SSA initiative from its initial launch. It presented the BHE with a summary of best practices and impacts through its recently released “Annual Evaluation Report, Year 6” which highlights key findings and provides qualitative and quantitative evidence of student outcomes.
The Board also heard from three students representing MassBay, Massasoit, and Springfield Technical Community Colleges, who shared their personal and transformative experiences in the SSA program, highlighting student-centered support services beginning with the college entering Summer Bridge to throughline support services and on to the 2-4 Year Transfer Academy.
The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) is required by statute and regulation to annually assess the financial information of private institutions of higher education for the purpose of identifying and monitoring institutions at risk of imminent closure, and mitigating the impacts of closures on students, their families, faculty, staff, and the community.