The University of New Mexico received a $50,000 grant from Lumina Foundation’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, to enhance the general education curriculum with teaching and learning around race and social justice.

From a pool of 312 nation-wide applicants, UNM was one of 19 college and universities selected to receive funding from Lumina’s Fund for Racial Justice and Equity. The fund was created last year in response to racially motivated violence in Charlottesville on the campus of the University of Virginia.

The grants are in response to what the foundation saw as an urgent need to improve the atmosphere around race on campuses across the country. The UNM Division for Equity and Inclusion collaborated with Dr. Pamela Cheek, Interim Associate Provost, as well as members of the Diversity Council and the Institute for the Study of 'Race' and Social Justice, to submit the successful proposal. The Racial Justice and Equity grant will support six Academic Affairs Core Curriculum Faculty Fellows who will develop and share tools for fostering thought about racial and social justice. These six faculty members will also share teaching techniques for engaging and retaining students from all backgrounds in college classes.

“As a philanthropic leader, Lumina shares a deep passion and concern about the nation’s racial climate, especially on college campuses,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “These campuses have shown a willingness to address racial disparities at a systemic level: they recognize that achieving equitable results is about more than promoting diversity – it’s about whether the institution fosters a climate in which every student feels welcome and has the same opportunity to earn a degree or certificate of value, regardless of race or ethnicity.”

In partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Lumina evaluated grant applications submitted in response to a request for proposals. The number of responses indicates a strong desire throughout higher education to improve campus culture through community dialogues, faculty and staff development and other creative approaches.  Lumina received proposals from a wide breadth of institutions, including 2- and 4-year, public and private, large and small and minority-serving.

“This marks a second investment into UNM’s Division for Equity and Inclusion by Lumina Foundation in the past eight years,” explained Lawrence Roybal, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. “With this new initiative, UNM has the opportunity to be a leader in incorporating critical thinking about race and social justice across the entire general education core curriculum, from history and art to geography and biology.”

About the Division for Equity and Inclusion:
The University of New Mexico established the Division for Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in 2007 to strengthen the organizational capacity in order to serve UNM’s diverse student body. DEI provides leadership for addressing institution-wide equity and inclusion and lends its support to student, staff and faculty efforts that build on the university’s diversity initiatives. DEI supports system-wide diversity initiatives to enhance student recruitment and retention, academic excellence, employee diversity and a campus climate that embraces its diversity as an asset. In addition, the Division for Equity and Inclusion is the only university entity of its kind in a very diverse state, serving a diverse student population. 

About Lumina Foundation 
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The Foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.