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MCLA Receives $28,000 Grant from Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has received a $28,720 Higher Education Innovation Fund Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), which recently announced a slate of $1.7 million in grants for the state’s public colleges. These grants fund initiatives that help colleges work toward racial equity in Massachusetts public higher education.

The grant will allow the MCLA Department of Public Safety to work with a consulting firm specializing in improving police departments’ relationships with their communities. The consultant will work with MCLA to develop an interactive training module for the Department of Public Safety with the goal of increasing cultural competency and engagement of its officers and staff with the MCLA community.

“I’m deeply appreciative to see our Department of Public Safety receive this grant funding,” said MCLA President James Birge. “Our dedicated public-safety officers play an important role in our community. MCLA’s student population is diverse, and their experiences with police vary greatly. This grant will help our Department of Public Safety continue to connect with our community and help them do the important work of ensuring our campus is a safe, comfortable place for everyone who studies, works, and visits here.”

Most of the grant proposals funded by DHE seek to provide faculty and staff equity training for transforming campus pedagogy, syllabi, curriculum, and campus life, with the goal of making the institution a truly nurturing environment for students of color.

“Since the inception of the Higher Education Innovation Fund, our goal has been to seed and support new ideas and proven practices across our campuses, with the overarching goal to increase success outcomes for minoritized students,” said Patricia Marshall, deputy commissioner for Academic Affairs and Student Success. “We have begun to identify the need for significant changes in the way we operate and educate, focusing on ensuring that we’re ready to meet the needs of racially minoritized students at our institutions. The innovation grants will provide campuses with the resources to amplify this important work.”

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