Academic Year 2020-2021

Results of the funded programs


Advancing Teaching and Course Design (University Park)

The purpose of our project is to design, pilot, and assess a faculty workshop to develop skills and provide resources for inclusive pedagogical practices. To improve the learning outcomes and experiences of our increasingly diverse student population, we seek to intentionally build our faculty’s capacity for creating inclusive learning environments. The impacts of the project include tools to help faculty create a more inclusive teaching philosophy, reflect on and adjust their pedagogical approaches, and make changes to their everyday practices to achieve a welcoming learning environment that will lead to broad student success.

Diversity Oral History (Altoona)

Oral history of underrepresented populations including current students and alumni. A chance for members of the underrepresented population to share their story and experience in their own words. This will promote awareness as well as authenticity of the experience at Penn State Altoona as well as document change and growth.

Excel Learning Communities (Greater Allegheny)

Penn State Greater Allegheny is requesting funding to improve the co-curricular learning environment for historically underrepresented students served through Trio Student Support Services. The proposed intervention seeks to actively engage students in their learning process, helping them develop an increased level of confidence in their capacity to excel in academically challenging domains, and consequently increasing student retention and graduation rates. Collaborators are proposing the creation of a Supplemental Instruction program, grounded in cognitive apprenticeship, for identified gatekeeper courses that have a high failure rate evidenced by at least 30% of students dropping the course or earning a D or F.

Farm-to-Table Workshop Series (University Park)

The Studio for Sustainability and Social Action (S3A) Farm-to-Table project will raise awareness on issues of food insecurity by hosting a Farm-to-Table workshop every semester for students, faculty, and staff. The cost of admission will support the purchase of a modest refrigeration unit for the Lion’s Pantry, which enables food grown and transported from the Student Farm to have a longer shelf life. In line with contemporary art practices that creatively re-imagine the relationships between social issues and daily life, this project emphasizes sustainable agricultural practices and promotes social inclusion and equity through a convivial and transdisciplinary art education.

(FIFSA) First in Family to Study Abroad (University Park)

Study Abroad programs help to develop global fluency, self-reliance, communication skills, intercultural competencies and many more skills employers and graduate schools are looking for in future professionals (NACE, 2018). The college of Ag Sciences has the highest number (25%) of first-generation students at Penn State. First Gen students are disproportionately underrepresented students of color and low income (Engle & Tinto, 2008). We look to provide a study abroad opportunity with a decreased cost to make gaining international experience more equitable and attainable and provide students with opportunity to gain the skills employers and grad schools seek in their students.

Global Engineering Fellows Diversity Initiative (University Park)

The goal of Global Engineering Fellows Program is for globally engaged engineering students who have studied abroad to build on their experiences and develop leadership skills. The Fellows program prepares participants to enter the workforce with cross-cultural awareness and communication skills, poising them to become global change-makers. Fellows serve the University by generating interest in global opportunities and helping to create meaningful connections between international and domestic students. The Global Engineering Fellows Diversity Initiative supports underrepresented students, encouraging them to promote study abroad, global competence and the Fellows Program to peers. CQ training is offered to the broader group.

Latina/os Transform the City (University Park)

I propose to convene a conference at University Park on the history of Latina/o urbanism—a subject at the cutting edge of Latinx Studies and one that is changing our thinking about American life. The conference will be open to the Penn State community, who will hear presented papers, question the conference participants, and complete linked assignments in Latina/o Studies classes, allowing them to apply and show what they have learned. The proceedings are slated for publication by a top university press; the book will showcase Penn State’s support of scholarship relevant to the University’s and state’s fast-growing Latina/o population.

Leveraging Social Capital for Faculty Career Advancement (Harrisburg)

The Faculty Career Advancement Program (FCAP) at Penn State Harrisburg is intended to enhance the social capital of women and underrepresented minority (URM) members in order to build community and foster agency in career advancement. Career advancement in a research enterprise requires a balanced portfolio of teaching, research, and service. While many faculty members ascend the traditional academic hierarchy, women and URM faculty face unique identity-related challenges that hinder career advancement.

Liberal Arts - An Appetite for Cultural Competence (University Park)

Liberal Arts will provide bi-monthly lunch-and-learn sessions covering a wide range of topics geared toward developing the cultural competence of our staff. Topics may include religion, gender, race, sexual preference, age, geography, socioeconomic status, etc. The purpose of the program will be to provide interactive sessions, led by subject matter experts, on a variety of topics to help participants build awareness, gain knowledge, and develop skills to allow them to interact successfully with those who are different from them. The intent is to engage staff in a personal growth opportunity that will benefit the college, university, and community at large.

Lions of Fusion Territory (LOFT) Peer Mentor Program (Hazelton)

Our Penn State Campus proposes to develop a diversity and inclusion student peer mentor program, which will work in conjunction with our campus’s existing diversity and inclusion program the Lions of Fusion Territory or “LOFT”. The peer mentor program will: (1) will hire and train three undergraduate peer mentors (2) facilitate diversity and inclusion focused programs designed to support students from frequently marginalized populations, such as LGBTQA+ students, students of color, students with disabilities, (3) create and provide educational resources focused on bringing awareness to the expenses of LGBTQA students, student of color, and students with disabilities.

Maymester in Mexico: Language, Culture, and Community-Based Learning (University Park)

This is the second year of a faculty-led study abroad program to Mexico that develops equity-minded dispositions, leadership and advocacy skills through experiential learning in multicultural, multilingual communities. Program engages students in ethnographic inquiry within Spanish-speaking and indigenous communities as they examine their own cultural, racial, and linguistic biases to build understanding of systemic oppression and the interpersonal and global impact of language. An innovative program design builds a partnership with Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UABJO). Mexican students join PSU students in online instruction (Spring semester) and on-ground during a four-week Maymester in Oaxaca.

Midcareer Faculty Advancement Program (MFAP) (Harrisburg)

The Midcareer Faculty Advancement Program (MFAP) at Penn State Harrisburg is intended to serve as a resource to support the career advancement of midcareer faculty members from underrepresented minority (URM) groups as well as those or those who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Midcareer faculty members are those who have achieved promotion from early career stage assistant professor to associate professor with tenure. While many faculty members move successfully to the rank of associate professor, the midcareer stage has been a challenge to further advancement, specifically for those from URM groups.

Preparation for RHS Internships Through Structured Experiential Learning in Culturally Diverse Philadelphia School Settings (Abington)

The purpose of the proposed program is to enhance the curriculum of the Rehabilitation and Human Services Bachelor of Science degree by incorporating cross-cultural experiential learning that pre-prepares students in the major for their required 600-hour internships (RHS 495A). Students will not only gain course credit but will be able to build their resumes and become more marketable as graduates. Students will gain intercultural experiences with financial support, and be more equipped (emotionally and skill-wise) to engage in their full-time internships in their senior years.

Student Academic Retention and Success Program (STARS) (Hazelton)

Penn State Hazleton proposes the continuation of a retention program which mirrors components of the PSU-wide Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS) program. This previously funded program echoes the participant pool (first-time college students who are either low income, first generation college students, students with disabilities, adult learners, and/or are Latinx, Black, African American, Native American, Asian (herein ”students of color”))and outcomes of PaSSS (Increased persistence from first to second year; Increased GPA; Increased graduation rate).

The Intercultural Learning Community (Abington)

In the spring 2020 semester, Penn State Abington is piloting the Intercultural Learning Community (ILC) with the intent to expand the program in the fall2020 semester. The ILC was developed to engage faculty and staff in developing skills to support international and multilingual students, and facilitate intercultural interactions on campus. Faculty and students at PSA have reported a number of intercultural challenges associated with working and learning in a diverse community. The expanded program seeks to create a more inclusive environment by cultivating effective social justice pedagogical strategies to support student success and promote meaningful intercultural interactions among students.

The Penn State Conference on Latinx Faculty Development and Academic Leadership (Harrisburg)

The purpose of this conference is to foster the hiring and promotion of Latinx/a/o faculty and leaders at Penn State University. Co-sponsored by Penn State Harrisburg and Al Día, a Latinx/a/o multimedia company, the conference will feature Latinx/a/o scholars and leaders from the Pennsylvania Department of Education who will address the challenges experienced by Latinx/a/o academics and review culturally sensitive practices for recruiting, supporting, and promoting Latinx/a/o faculty members to professor and senior leadership positions in the academy. A Peer Working Group of conference attendees will also be formed to support ongoing work on this issue throughout the University.

Welcome Workshop for New Graduate Students Traditionally Underrepresented in Engineering (University Park)

To better integrate new graduate students and reduce attrition rates, we propose an annual weekend workshop for incoming graduate students traditionally underrepresented in Engineering (i.e., underrepresented minorities including Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; and women). Through the Welcome Workshop, first year graduate students will: 1) learn about graduate resources offered by the College of Engineering and Penn State; 2) have an opportunity to interact with key multi-cultural leaders, faculty/staff allies, and current graduate students; and 3) start building community with one another.