News & Media

Executive Director’s Note

By Julia Michaels, Powered By Publics Executive Director

I invite you to join the Powered by Publics team in celebrating Black History Month! February is much too short a month to recognize and champion all the contributions of Black Americans, in higher education and beyond, throughout history and today. I’ll start by spotlighting a contemporary hero, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who developed the concept for the lifesaving Moderna COVID-19 vaccine now authorized for use in the United States. She’s a graduate of two public universities, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County – which, under the leadership of President Freeman Hrabowski, has graduated more Black M.D.-Ph.Ds than any other university in America – and UNC Chapel Hill. For more stories and highlights from our member institutions, follow APLU on Twitter. I’d also like to recognize and celebrate the 11 land-grant HBCUs participating in Powered by Publics – these schools have gone above and beyond to create student-centered campus communities.

It’s important to acknowledge how much work we have yet to do. We’re still a long way from achieving justice for Black Americans, including the millions of Black students at our nation’s colleges and universities. These talented students still face many barriers to enrollment, persistence, and graduation. Through Powered by Publics, your universities have committed to increasing degree completion and halving the equity gap for Black students and other students of color, as well as low-income and first-generation students. We owe it to these students to keep the momentum going through these difficult and uncertain times.

In this month’s newsletter:

  • Read, hear, and watch reflections from our Powered by Publics virtual convening on January 11, 13, and 14. We’re trying out some new methods for sharing lessons learned in creative and informal ways – let us know what you think! And if you haven’t already done so, take our quick 2-min survey to share feedback on the convening.
  • There’s still time to submit a proposal for the Intermediaries for Scale grant opportunity before the deadline at 8:00pm EST on Friday, February 19. Through this opportunity, we will select 14 Powered by Publics members to receive high-quality technical assistance, customized programming, and professional development opportunities designed to increase institutional capacity to support student success. The opportunity also comes with a $15,000 stipend. For more information, join our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, February 10, at 2:00pm EST (Register Here), or email Lynn Brabender, Associate Director for Powered by Publics, at lbrabender@aplu.org.
  • For more celebration of Black History, join an upcoming APLU webinar featuring three Black leaders in public higher education, moderated by Amy Cole-Smith, APLU’s Associate Director for External Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Register here for the webinar on February 22 at 4:00pm Eastern Time.

Thank you again for your support of Powered by Publics, and I look forward to our continued work together.

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