October 25, 2021
Emmanuel Awarded Grant from HHMI to Advance Inclusivity in the Sciences

In October 2021, Emmanuel College was awarded $285,000 over five years as part of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence 3 (IE3) initiative, which funds institutions to take transformative efforts to address systemic racism and the historical exclusion of PEERs (People Excluded due to Ethnicity or Race), starting with efforts in the Sciences.

The College’s work with HHMI began in May 2019, when the Biology Department made a commitment to apply for an IE3 grant and sparked a months-long, introspective process to assess equity and access for students who are intended and current Biology majors. A team of 18 individuals, including representatives from the Administration, Academic Advising, the Academic Resource Center, the Office of Institutional Data, and Biology faculty, wrote a pre-proposal submitted in January 2020 after analyzing student success data and conducting student surveys. In October 2020, the College learned it was one of 108 finalist institutions and were invited to be members of a 14-institution HHMI IE3 Learning Community to reflect, share its vision of inclusive excellence, and most importantly, to learn as a community how to implement anti-racist principles to dismantle the effects of systemic racism.

Beginning in Fall 2022, in collaboration with the Learning Community and its collective $4 million grant, Emmanuel will continue its work in transforming the Introductory Biology experience for its students.

“We are delighted to receive this support and to continue to collaborate with students to create an inclusive culture at Emmanuel where all students feel they are valued, that they are expected to succeed, and that they belong,” said Associate Professor of Biology Anupama Seshan, who serves as program director for the grant.

Through HHMI I3, Emmanuel was also previously awarded a $30,000 learning grant, which has so far been used to fund Belonging in Biology student internship projects, to bring a nationally-recognized inclusive pedagogy expert to campus to educate faculty in the School of Science & Health, and to pilot a STEM peer mentoring program as well as a pedagogical partnership program at the College.

Along with Dr. Seshan, the HHMI I3 core leadership team includes Professor of Biochemistry and Associate Dean of the School of Science & Health Paul March, Associate Professor of Biology Padraig Deighan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Janel Cabrera, Vice President of Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer/Professor of Biology Josef Kurtz, Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Jeffrey Smith, Assistant Dean of Student Learning and Success Dorice Griffith, and Assistant Dean of the Academic Resource Center Wendy LaBron.

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