New Institute Seeks to Ask ‘The Race Question’

New Institute Seeks to Ask ‘The Race Question’
By Michelle J. Nealy

To address the disparities that exist in higher education for underrepresented minorities, the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) is slated to form this year the new Institute on Equity Research Methods and Critical Policy Analysis.

The institute is a collaborative effort among higher education research institutions, including the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California. The Ford Foundation is providing a one-year planning grant to help establish the institute.

Work at the institute will focus on addressing issues such as improving inclusion of minority scholars and researching methods to study questions of equity in higher education.

“The current body of empirical and policy-oriented knowledge contains major weaknesses: it tends to ignore race, ethnicity and language altogether or to interpret differences in educational outcomes to characteristics of minorities that set them apart [as] high risk or underprepared,” says Estela Mara Bensimon, director of the Center for Urban Education at the USC.

Bensimon and other scholars associated with ASHE aim to “ask the race question critically and knowledgeably.”

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