ETS Invests in University of Pennsylvania's New Center For Minority-Serving Institutions

Jan 23, 2014, 12:00 ET from Educational Testing Service

Deepens Decades-long Corporate Commitment to Such Efforts

PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education launched its new Center for Minority-Serving Institutions (CMSI) earlier this week, it did so with both funding and research support from Educational Testing Service (ETS). That investment reflects ETS's lifelong mission to increase enrollment, retention and graduation of minority and low-income students and improve the effectiveness of institutions serving those populations. 


CMSI brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU); Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU); Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI); and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI). It will serve as a central hub for research, data, best practices, emerging innovations and ideas surrounding Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). 

Dr. Marybeth Gasman, a historian and professor at the Graduate School of Education, has been named director of CMSI, which is focused on furthering higher education for underrepresented populations. ETS, The Kresge Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Penn Provost's Office, and the Penn Excellence through Diversity Fund have contributed a total of $2.5 million in funding to date.

"Some 3.6 million undergraduate students — 20 percent of all undergraduates — enroll in MSI's," says Dr. Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President of ETS's Policy Evaluation & Research Center. "Almost half of them are the first in their families to attend college.  We have to ensure they have access to such colleges, that those institutions survive and expand the excellent job they're already doing and that they have access to research and findings to help them do that job. For more than 30 years ETS has worked with minority-serving institutions on similar efforts and we look forward to expanding that with this project." 

The official CMSI launch was Tuesday, January 21. It included a town hall meeting and panel discussion, Envisioning the Future of Minority Serving Institutions: Challenges and Opportunities, co-moderated by Dr. Gasman and Dr. Nettles.  The panel included:

  • Cheryl Crazy Bull, executive director of the American Indian College Fund
  • Kalindi Doshi, Campus Engagement Manager at Gates Millennium Scholars Program of the Asian & Pacific Islander American College Fund
  • Karl Reid, senior vice president for research, innovation and member college engagement at the United Negro College Fund
  • Deborah Santiago, the vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education.

Upcoming projects include a state policy report on HBCUs in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Alabama; policy reports on Texas and California and their growing MSI populations; an investigation of HBCUs as leaders and teachers in STEM education; a research effort aimed at understanding doctoral pipelines for Latinos; research on MSIs as Community Colleges vs. Community Colleges as MSIs; and the development of a media toolkit for MSIs. Additionally, the CMSI will begin taking applications for its new Fellows program, which will award $5,000 to selected scholars to stimulate research about MSIs.

The CMSI's goals include elevating the educational contributions of Minority-Serving Institutions; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation's economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSI academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and bolstering efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities.

About ETS
At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC ® tests, the GRE ® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

About Penn GSE
Penn GSE is one of the nation's premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge building as the Ivy League's University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products and programs. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit

SOURCE Educational Testing Service