In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in the diversity in admissions case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, we wanted to highlight just two of the many ACE member institutions doing innovative work on their campuses to create an inclusive environment for all students, faculty and staff.
Florida State University
Florida State University (FSU) knows that many first-generation students need—and deserve—a leg up, and the school’s Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE) offers such support. CARE’s comprehensive Summer Bridge freshman orientation program helps students adjust to college life through a variety of academic and other supportive measures. CARE’s retention success is proven: today, the overall graduation rate for CARE students is 81 percent, compared to 79 percent for the entire university.
FSU also recognizes that a diverse workforce is a powerful one, especially in the tech field. That’s why the university’s Tech Fellows program is providing internships for four CARE students this summer at tech startups in Berlin, Chicago and Detroit. These students will then be hired by FSU to expand the program past the pilot stage and teach an entrepreneurship class to other FSU students.
Tech Fellow James Turner, a business major who aged out of the foster care system in Florida, hopes this experience will enable him to create technology that aids youth in foster care: “I’m excited beyond belief and can’t wait to experience what I believe can change my life forever.”
University of San Francisco
University of San Francisco (USF) has implemented several promising initiatives aimed at diversifying its campus community, which in turn also helps diversify the larger San Francisco workforce. These initiatives focus on staff and faculty recruitment and include the expertise of visiting professors.
The Diverse Workforce Initiative seeks to enhance the Bay Area’s economic strength and resilience by identifying diverse applicants in the community, immersing them in workforce development programs, and helping them find employment opportunities with USF or a USF contractor.
For its employees, USF creates an environment of communication and openness with Staff Diversity Intensives, which provide forums for faculty and staff to target topics frequently swept under the rug, such as microaggressions, oppression and privilege.
For more on the Fisher case along with a selection of resources on campus diversification efforts, see the ACE website. Also check out our recent blog series sparked by recent student protests and the national dialogue on diversity and inclusion.