Utah State University
A new cultural competence course to help faculty, staff, and other community members better support Native students has been developed at the Utah State University Logan campus as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence Initiative grant. The course will focus on establishing appreciation for the important role Indigenous and other underrepresented community members play on campus while enhancing academic preparation of Native students and lowering institutional barriers to their success. Also at the USU Blanding campus, where more than two-thirds of students are Indigenous, a traditional Hogan, similar to the one pictured, is being erected. Hogans are regarded as a sacred space of respect and learning by the Diné people.
An NSF grant of $650,000 has gone to Bryant University’s STEM Scholarship Program earmarked to benefit women, minorities, and lowincome students. The program provides instructional support and peer mentorship as well as funding.
The new $22 million, 42,000-square-foot Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory just opened at Auburn University includes space for concrete materials research and testing, hurricane-level windtesting, and faculty and graduate student research.
Members of the Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki (W8banaki Nation) now have free access to practice cultural activities in McGill University’s Gault Nature Reserve in Quebec, a traditionally significant site for the Abenaki people. The agreement is part of the university’s own process of recognition and reconciliation with Indigenous people.
The National Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, has established a consortium to study genetic disease risk factors in diverse populations. One member of the consortium is UCLA Health, which has received a $4.8 million grant. A goal of the research is to improve genetic risk estimates, and the funding will establish the PRS (polygenic risk scores) Center for Admixed Populations and Health Equity.
University of Maryland School of Medicine
A $5 million NIH grant has gone the University of Maryland as a member of the consortium studying polygenic risk factors in disease. (See UCLA Health above).
A leadership program for Indigenous students that encompasses traditional ways of knowing has been developed at Saskatchewan Polytechnic as an applied certificate program in Indigenous leadership skills. The course is intended both for emerging Indigenous leaders and non-Indigenous people seeking a greater cultural understanding.
University of Oregon
A new interdisciplinary major leading to a bachelor’s degree in Native American and Indigenous studies has been approved by the University of Oregon. Native American studies had been available as a minor.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
A gift of $2 million will help the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee recruit more underserved and underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students in computer science, data science, and information technology. The money will initiate the school’s new Fund for Diversity in Tech Education.
University of California, Berkeley
Gifts totaling $75 million will benefit computer and data science research and education at the University of California, Berkeley. Some of the gift is earmarked for a new 380,000-square-foot facility for the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society.
Amazon Web Services is partnering with Howard University to develop new courses in data science, machine learning, and computer vision. A new master’s program in cloud computing is planned for a launch in 2022.howard.edu
Western Michigan University
The largest private gift ever to a public university — $550 million — has gone to Western Michigan University. The funds are an anonymous alumni gift that will be delivered over 10 years and allocated as $300 million to the School of Medicine, $200 million for need-based financial aid, and $50 million for athletic programs.
Students whose family income is less than $80,000 will not need to pay tuition as part of the Colgate Commitment: An Initiative in Access and Affordability. Those with incomes between $80,000 and $125,000 will pay an average of 5 percent of income, and those between $125,000 and $150,000 will pay 10 percent.
University of Alberta
The University of Alberta is renewing a longstanding partnership with the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Rupertsland Institute to support postsecondary Métis students and increase the number of Métis faculty and fellowships.
Case Western Reserve University
An alumni gift of $7.5 million will go toward advancing research in neurodegenerative diseases at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine and School of Nursing. The gift will fund professorships at the two schools as well as research and training.
The Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at Cornell’s ornithology lab has received $24 million from an alumna. The funds will endow the lab’s directorship, provide funding flexibility, and support research and training in the technology of acoustics.
Southern Utah University
An online bachelor’s degree in general studies is now available through Southern Utah University for $9,000. School officials say the goal of providing this low-cost program is not to generate revenue but to serve the 36 million U.S. students who begin college but are unable finish because of cost.suu.edu
An investment of $100 million from the Duke Endowment is being made in recruiting new STEM faculty and expanding research strengths, especially in emerging fields such as quantum computing, climate change, and pandemic diseases.
University of Maryland
The U.S. Army Research Lab has entered a partnership worth up to $68 million with the University of Maryland at the College Park and Baltimore County campuses. The Army lab will work with an interdisciplinary team of university researchers on a range of technologies, including AI, robotics, wearable devices, and remote-controlled aircraft.
The new Science and Engineering Complex at Harvard University is itself an engineering achievement. The innovative design of the building’s facade was intended to reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 42 percent.
University of Winnipeg
New facilities planned to showcase Indigenous ways of knowing opened at the University of Winnipeg. The Aabijijiwan New Media Lab and the Kishaadigeh Collaborative Research Centre will bring students and community members together in facilities that provide technology-based workspaces, maker spaces, and spaces for creating art. The University of Winnipeg also announced the fall 2021 launch of a degree program in Indigenous languages.
Leah Creaser, a member of the Acadia First Nation and a student at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, has established a lab on campus to share Mi’kmaw traditional knowledge about plants. The lab experience is now part of the core biology course required of all first-year students. For more on Leah Creaser, see page 20.
Johns Hopkins University
A $150 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies will fund an effort to diversify doctoral candidates in STEM programs. The funding will launch the Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative and fund 100 new spots for diverse PhD candidates. Each scholar will be granted up to six years of free tuition as well as other funding.
The Boeing Company is giving $50 million to Virginia Tech to help launch and diversify the graduate Virginia Tech Innovation Campus the school is developing in Alexandria.
A Teaching House program to share Indigenous knowledge has been launched at Brandon University in Manitoba. Teaching House will offer monthly programs to university members and the wider community to learn about topics that incorporate knowledge and teachings of all nations.
A $120 million tax-exempt bond issue will go to Hofstra University to construct a new Science and Innovation Center that will house the school’s nursing and engineering programs. The facility will open in 2023.
A study of the legacy of colonialism, dispossession of Native lands, and racial slavery has been funded at Brown University by a $4.9 million grant. The research will be conducted by the school’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice.