Current Projects

HSI Pathways to the Professoriate

Hosted by Marybeth Gasman and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Penn GSE (Grant award: $5,100,000)

Pathways to the Professoriate, supported by a $5.1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will prepare 90 students from Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) for Ph.D. programs over a five-year period. During the five-year program, the Center for MSIs will partner with three Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) — Florida International University; the University of Texas El Paso; and California State University, Northridge — and five majority research institutions — New York University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Pennsylvania; Northwestern University; and University of California, Davis. Selected HSI undergraduate students will take part in intensive summer research programs and cross-institutional conferences, while also receiving mentoring, and support for applying to and enrolling in graduate school. The program's goal is to increase the number of Latino professors working in the humanities at U.S. colleges and universities.

Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship

Hosted by CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

As part of their three-year comprehensive partnership to increase study abroad at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) have launched the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program to provide scholarships for the most financially challenged students from the nation’s nearly 600 MSIs. Each year for the next three years, the scholarship funds will cover 100 percent of program fees and travel costs for 10 students from MSIs. Each cohort of 10 students will take part in a summer study abroad program designed to enhance their leadership and intercultural skills in one of three locations: London, England (summer 2017); Cape Town, South Africa (summer 2018); and Seoul, South Korea (summer 2019). The CMSI will award the study abroad scholarships annually based on a combination of financial need, academic achievement, and nominations from students’ MSI presidents.

The scholarship is named in honor of Frederick Douglass—the African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and international statesman—to highlight the characteristics that today’s young leaders need most: a keen intellect, a strong work ethic, and a global perspective. Consistent with Douglass’ legacy, Frederick Douglass Global Fellows are meritorious individuals who demonstrate high academic achievement, possess exemplary communication skills, display the hallmarks of self-determination, exhibit characteristics of bold leadership, and have a history of service to others. In the spirit of one of America’s most powerful intellectuals, communicators, and scholars, Frederick Douglass Global Fellows commit to sharing their experience and intercultural growth with peers and classmates before, during, and after the fellowship.

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship seeks to break down the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to make study abroad accessible to students from MSIs.

MSI Graduate Student Weekend

Hosted by Marybeth Gasman and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Penn GSE

The Center for Minority Serving Institutions and Penn GSE host a weekend for undergraduate students from Minority Serving Institutions interested in pursuing graduate and professional degrees in education. Filled with provocative and interesting sample classes and tours of the beautiful Penn campus, this weekend also includes a “straight talk” student panel, Philadelphia trolley tour, dining out in Philly, a CMSI mixer and much more. There is also a session hosted by Penn GSE Admissions with complete information regarding the application process at Penn and financial aid. The Center pays for all of the students' expenses during the weekend to help them take their first steps towards a master's or doctoral degree.


Hosted by Marybeth Gasman and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Penn GSE

MSI faculty members are life-long learners and educators who are constantly in pursuit of personal and professional excellence. In an effort to support the ongoing development of early-career MSI faculty, the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions will draw from our expertise to offer ELEVATE. ELEVATE will bring together early-career MSI faculty to further equip them with support, training, and an opportunity to create a close-knit network of peers. This three-day program will provide early-career MSI faculty with a unique professional development experience that has three main objectives: to 1) Enrich Learning, 2) Enhance Visibility, and 3) Train Educators.

A Longitudinal Test of Two Theoretical Models of Student Persistence at Four HBCUs

Hosted by Andrew T. Arroyo, Norfolk State University; Dominique Baker, Vanderbilt University; John M. Braxton, Vanderbilt University; Marybeth Gasman, University of Pennsylvania and Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Penn GSE

The purpose of this longitudinal study is to test two theoretical models of student persistence at HBCUs. Using approximately 3,000 paper surveys distributed by site coordinators, faculty, and staff, data are being collected from second-year freshmen at four HBCUs (two residential, two non-residential) in Spring 2016. To make the study longitudinal, participants will be tracked based on whether they return or do not return to their institution the following Fall.

 This study is significant for two reasons. First, all prior empirical tests of existing theoretical models have been conducted primarily with White student populations at predominantly White institutions (PWIs), leading to questions about their relevance for Black student populations and HBCUs. Second, this study is one of very few quantitative studies in the higher education literature that contains demographic questions for diverse gender identification and sexuality, allowing for a nuanced analysis.

 Findings from this study will be used to make recommendations for policy and practice, as well as to construct a new HBCU-based theory of student persistence, which will be subsequently tested on a larger scale through a multi-institutional, mixed methods study currently in the planning phase.

HBCUs as Leaders and Teachers in STEM Education

Marybeth Gasman and Thai-Huy Nguyen, University of Pennsylvania (Grant award: $1,500,000)

Sponsored by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the goal of this research project is to elevate the role and approach of HBCUs in STEM education.  We will uncover the approaches to learning that put HBCUs out in front with regard to STEM education so that all colleges and universities can use these approaches.  We will also establish HBCUs as leaders in STEM on a national scale.  More specifically, our objectives are to: 1.) Identify, document, and communicate efficient, effective, and scalable models of success in STEM education at HBCUs; 2.) Improve the capacity of HBCUs to strengthen current models of success in STEM education and to develop additional approaches; 3.) Strategically disseminate the findings not only to HBCUs, but also to all colleges and universities, funders, media outlets, scholars and policymakers; 4.) Build alliances across HBCUs and majority institutions to improve STEM capacity among African Americans and other under-represented students.

Understanding Teacher Education at Minority Serving Institutions and its Impact on Local Communities

Marybeth Gasman and Andrés Castro Samayoa, University of Pennsylvania (Grant award: $750,000)

Through the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this project examines teacher education efforts at Minority Serving Institutions. Institutions of higher education play a vital role in K-12 education by inspiring, instructing, and certifying the future teachers and leaders/administrators of the nation's schools and school systems. As the demographic composition of the K-12 public schools continues to reflect the nation's racially diverse population, examining and strengthening the role that MSIs play in producing the future minority teachers of our nation becomes an increasing national imperative. We will answer the following questions through this research project: What is the current landscape of teacher education at MSIs? Where do teachers emerging from MSIs serve? How can MSIs tailor their curricula to prepare future teachers for new state standards?  

Understanding Ph.D. Pipelines for Latino/as: The Role of Hispanic Serving Institutions

Marybeth Gasman and Andrés Castro Samayoa, University of Pennsylvania (Grant Award: $100,000)

With this research project, we research the institutional characteristics at Hispanic Serving Institutions that encourage Latinos/as to pursue Ph.D.s, as well as contemporary practices at highly selective research institutions that enable Latinos/as to persist through completion and pursue careers in the professoriate. Through this grant, we aim to examine the institutional conditions enabling the promotion of Latino/as entering the professoriate. We seek this through a two-pronged approach: (a) surveying the types of supports undergraduates receive at Hispanic Serving Institutions to enter the Ph.D. pipeline in the humanities and humanistic social sciences; (b) understanding current forms of outreach and support for Latino/as enrolled at highly selective Ph.D. programs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. This project is sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

MSI Models Of Success Project

Marybeth Gasman (University of Pennsylvania) and Clif Conrad (University of Wisconsin-Madison) (Grant Award: 2,000,000)

12 Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) were selected to participate in the three-year national “Models of Success” study sponsored by Lumina Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and USA Funds. Each of the twelve institutions selected has identified “success stories” of programs and/or practices at their institutions that have made significant contributions to student retention, student learning, and student degree attainment.

With the overarching aim of portraying and communicating these success stories in the literature, the media, and across our colleges and universities, the researchers—Professor Marybeth Gasman at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor Clifton Conrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—have conducted campus visits to each of the 12 institutions. Of the twelve MSIs selected, three are Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), three are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), three are Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and three are Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). In addition to participating in the study, each institution received a grant for $50,000 to build infrastructure and capacity on their campus. (Read more)

Promoting Diversity In Biomedical Research Through Supporting Biomedical Post-Doc Teacher And Research Training At Minority Serving Institutions

Yvonne Paterson and Marybeth Gasman, University of Pennsylvania (Grant Award: $4,600,000)

Promoting Diversity in Biomedical Research through Supporting Biomedical Post-doc Teacher and Research Training at Minority Serving Institutions (funded by National Institutes of Health -- $4.6 million). Funded by the National Institute of Health, this project trains post docs of color in the areas of research and prepares them to teach at Minority Serving Institutions.  Currently, MSIs have lower numbers faculty of color teaching in their science programs because the pipeline for Ph.D.s of color is less than plentiful. (Read More)