Washington, D.C., April, 19, 2005—The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education will assume leadership and management of the highly regarded BEAMS (Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students) project effective May 1, 2005. The announcement was made by Jamie P. Merisotis, President of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, on behalf of the Alliance, and Clara M. Lovett, President of the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE).
Funded by Lumina Foundation for Education for the purpose of building capacity at minority-serving institutions (MSIs), the BEAMS project involves more than 100 baccalaureate-granting MSIs that aspire to increase student learning and success. BEAMS was developed in 2002 and has been led by the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) in collaboration with the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) at Indiana University. The project is supported by a grant of $2.9 million from Lumina Foundation for Education to continue activities through 2007.
The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education will serve as the management and fiscal agent for the project, replacing the role that had been played by AAHE, which recently announced plans to close operations later this year.
“A closer relationship with the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education will greatly strengthen this project,” said AAHE president Clara M. Lovett, “and will motivate additional minority-serving campuses to adopt the lessons learned from the BEAMS campuses.”
“This is an indispensable program, and our goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible for BEAMS participants and constituents,” said Institute President Jamie P. Merisotis, who serves as facilitator for the Alliance. Merisotis also explained that current consultants and the assistant director will continue to work on the project under the Alliance umbrella, thus ensuring consistency and continuity.
“We are very pleased with the outcomes of the BEAMS project thus far and are confident of a smooth transition from AAHE to the Alliance,” stated Samuel D. Cargile, Senior Program Director at the Lumina Foundation.
The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education was selected to take over management of the BEAMS project because it represents a major national network of minority-serving institutions and because of its early involvement in the project. The Alliance coalition represents some 350 schools that include Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The Alliance has been breaking new ground in minority collaboration and mutual goal setting since its founding in 1999. Its founding members are the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). Moreover, Alliance member institutions educate more than one-third of all students of color in the United States, and the numbers are increasing. Alliance programs are coordinated and facilitated by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, a leading independent research organization, which also will provide general project administration for BEAMS activities.
Throughout the transition, information on the BEAMS project will continue to be available on the Internet at http://www.aahe.org/BEAMS. Additional information about the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education is available at www.msi-alliance.org.