Mellon at 50: Possibilities and Challenges in Higher Learning Today

How can colleges and universities evolve to increase access to students who have historically been denied entry?

A college education is an opportunity to transform and enrich a life, but it is not one equally afforded to all.  Barriers to college education make it challenging for institutions of higher learning to adequately serve a diverse population of students. 

In these videos, Georgia State University President Mark Becker, University of Illinois Education Justice Project Director Rebecca Ginsburg, Northwestern University Provost Jonathan Holloway, and Prairie View A&M University President Ruth J. Simmons join Mellon Foundation Senior Program Officer Armando Bengochea to help us understand the possibilities and challenges of institutional change.

What are the greatest obstacles facing higher education communities today?  Two of the most critical are economic challenges and a broken criminal justice system, say Mark Becker and Rebecca Gisnburg.

Some statistics suggest a measure of progress in higher education equity and access over the past several decades.  Mark Becker and Ruth J. Simmons shed light on what the numbers don’t always tell us.

Ruth J. Simmons and Jonathan Holloway acknowledge that administrators have fallen short on ensuring that everyone, regardless of economic status, has access to higher education—an oversight that has led to troubling segmentation of our student populations.

This panel was part of a daylong symposium celebrating the Mellon Foundation’s 50th anniversary at the New-York Historical Society on November 18, 2019.