FSU Receives $62K Grant from Mass Higher Education Innovation Fund to Organize a Multi-Day Racial Equity Policy Review Institute

FSU Receives $62K Grant from Mass Higher Education Innovation Fund to Organize a Multi-Day Racial Equity Policy Review Institute

Mar 8, 2021

Framingham State University has been awarded a $62,250 grant from the Massachusetts Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) to coordinate a multi-day Racial Equity Policy Review Institute for up to 150 leaders within the campus community.

Participants in the institute will gain a better understanding of systemic racism in higher education and how it manifests on campus; be able to define what a racist policy is and how it shows up in student outcomes; and create an initial yearlong plan to undertake policy review.

"We are very grateful to the Baker Administration for awarding us funding to coordinate this institute," says Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. "We are never going to be able to close racial opportunity gaps until we address policies that limit the self-determination of students of color."

The two-day institute will include leaders from across the FSU campus. The bulk of the state funding will go toward hiring educational experts to run the institute.

"Our central goal is for leaders on campus to leave the institute with an actionable plan to undertake policy review in their areas within the 2021-2022 academic year," says Dr. Constanza Cabello, Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement.

The Racial Equity Institute builds upon work that began in 2018, when FSU received a STEM Inclusive Excellence grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

Through that grant, 15 STEM faculty participated in the FSU STEM Racial Equity Institute under the leadership of the grant’s Primary Investigator, Dr. Catherine Dignam. Upon completion, the Evaluation Survey findings showed that all respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the Institute deepened their knowledge of equity minded practices and how to work with students; was relevant to their work; provided information that was respectful, non-judgmental, and supportive of diverse populations; and, helped them develop a project that they will be able to implement to promote racial equity.

Additionally, FSU also participated in the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center Equity Institutes. The institutes engage leaders at a single college or university in an eight-week professional learning experience. Through a series of 90-minute virtual modules facilitated by scholars and expert practitioners, institute participants expanded their knowledge, challenged their assumptions, and critically considered how to improve their institutional, departmental, and personal practices.

"Based on our experience with the STEM Equity Institute and the USC Race and Equity Center Equity Institutes, we feel strongly that the institute model works and should be expanded across campus," says Cabello.

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.