Advice for presidents, success at MSIs, at New York Times forum

June 23, 2016

To produce a special section on education innovation entitled “Student, or Customer?” The New York Times brought together the most influential leaders in higher education—presidents, provosts, chancellors and other leaders of colleges and universities—to address the most urgent issues on today’s campuses. Penn GSE had an outsized presence via its renowned higher education faculty, an alum who is now the president of Paul Quinn College, and even one current student. The panel discussions at the Higher Ed Leaders Forum are featured in the June 23, 2016, edition of The New York Times and on

Penn GSE Higher Ed doctoral student Zakiya Smith (right), Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation (courtesy Getty Images for The New York Times)

Penn GSE's Joni Finney on Affordability and the Next President

“The next president has to be serious about college affordability,” said Joni Finney, director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education at Penn GSE.

Rather than focusing on merit aid, Finney said, colleges and the federal government must address needs-based aid in order to make college affordable for more families. This comes from her recent report, College Affordability Diagnosis, which examines and rank-orders states based on the percentage of a family’s income required to pay for college. 

Finney (left), Practice Professor, Penn GSE (courtesy Getty Images for The New York Times) 

Read the full story, “A Strategy Session with Some of Education’s Top Thinkers.

Read Finney’s essay on the increasing unaffordability of college.

Marybeth Gasman on Educating a Diverse Nation

“Faculty members receive little, if any, training on teaching,” said Marybeth Gasman, director of the Center for MSIs at Penn GSE, “and even less on diversity issues.” In her op-ed, she made the case for preparing teachers and institutions to meet the rapidly changing demographics of the US education landscape.

Gasman (left), Professor of Education, Penn GSE (courtesy Getty Images for The New York Times) 

Read Gasman’s essay on learning to educate a more diverse nation. 

Penn GSE alum Michael Sorrell, President, Paul Quinn College (courtesy Getty Images for The New York Times)

The forum featured a series of panel discussions, which were also live-streamed. Viewership of up to 76,000 was reported at some points during the day. 

Joni Finney in panel discussion, “The Next President’s Education Policy”

Marybeth Gasman featured in streaming panel discussion, "Winning Strategies at HBCUs and MSIs”

Current Higher Education Ed.D. student Zakiya Smith (Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation) featured in panel discussion with Carmen Farina (NYC Education Chancellor), “Enabling Progress”

Penn GSE Higher Ed Ed.D. alum Michael Sorrell (President, Paul Quinn College) featured with Lee Bollinger (President, Columbia University), “Beyond Affirmative Action”


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