CSUN Receives Inaugural Champion of Access Award from IHEP

Vice Provost Michael Neubauer receiving the honor at the IHEP summit.

Vice Provost Michael Neubauer receiving the honor at the IHEP summit. Photo courtesy of IHEP.

California State University, Northridge was one of a handful of campuses nationwide today to receive recognition at the Institute for Higher Education Policy’s inaugural Champions of Access and Success Awards.

CSUN was recognized as an “Exemplar Institution” by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), which for 20 years has promoted access to and success in higher education for all students, for successfully advancing strategies that increase opportunity, persistence and degree completion for low-income, first-generation, minority, adult, veteran, disabled and other underserved students.

IHEP officials said they were honoring CSUN as an exemplar institution because of its strong programmatic efforts and promising practices that are driving access and success gains for targeted underserved student populations. The other winning “Exemplar Institutions” were Fayetteville State University in North Carolina and Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.

“President Dianne Harrison and I are really moved by this recognition,” said CSUN Provost Harry Hellenbrand. “Our faculty, staff, students and community partners have worked tirelessly to make CSUN an even more inclusive university, in a time when state budgets are shrinking and families are pressed hard for resources.”

Cal State Northridge has a long history of providing opportunities to underserved student populations, including students with disabilities, from low-income families and who are first in their families to go to college. Designated a Hispanic Serving Institution by the federal government, CSUN also has a tradition of providing academic opportunities to all students. For example, a contingent of CSUN students recently attended the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ annual conference in Chicago.

The IHEP Champions of Access and Success Awards were presented today during the organization’s National Policy Summit: Redefining Access for the 21st Century Student held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The signature IHEP event brings together critical stakeholders — policymakers, institutional decision-makers, business leaders and other influential individuals whose reach extends across and beyond the postsecondary community — to foster policy and practice solutions in support of increased success and access.

“Since our founding in 1993, IHEP continues to embrace a vision where all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential by participation and succeeding in higher education,” said IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper. “The IHEP Champions of Access and Success Awards not only affirm our longstanding commitment to championing increased college access and success for underserved students across the nation, they also recognize the efforts of California State University, Northridge for working to advance this important mission.”

The IHEP Champions of Access and Success Awards were selected through an open application and nomination process; for the institutional awards, all institutions committed to improving access and success were invited to apply. Selections were vetted by IHEP staff, board members and external postsecondary access and success experts.

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to promoting access and success in higher education for all students. Based in Washington, D.C., IHEP develops innovative policy- and practice-oriented research to guide policymakers and education leaders, who develop high-impact policies that will address the nation’s most pressing education challenges.

California State University, Northridge is a regionally focused, nationally recognized university enrolling approximately 36,000 students a year. Founded in 1958, Cal State Northridge is among the largest universities in the nation and is ranked among the top universities for bachelor’s degrees awarded to minority students. It has nine colleges and more than 2,000 faculty members who teach courses leading to bachelor’s degrees in 63 disciplines, master’s degrees in 57 fields and doctorates in education and physical therapy, as well as 28 teaching credential programs. Continuously evolving and changing to meet the needs of California and the nation at large, the university is home to dozens of acclaimed programs where students gain valuable hands-on experience working alongside faculty and industry professionals, whether in the sciences, health care and engineering or education, political science, the arts and the social sciences.