Marybeth Gasman: "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about equity."
This month, we asked professionals in the education field to share what they love about their work. This spotlight features Marybeth Gasman, Professor and Founding Director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about equity. I grew up within a deeply inequitable environment and only because of love, care, mentoring, and support programs, was I able to overcome this disadvantage and flourish in my career and life.
I want to take all of my skills and knowledge and give opportunities to others – that is why I founded the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions. We support and bring attention to the more than 600 Minority Serving Institutions across the nation which serve low-income, first-generation and students of color.
Leading the Center has been the most challenging and most rewarding part of my career and I love every minute of it. What I love most is that our staff is highly diverse across race, gender, class, sexuality, age, country of origins and operates as a team and family. We even have a hashtag — #CENTERLOVE — that demonstrates the way we work and tell our story. We believe that anything is possible and approach issues with this perspective. As a leader, I aim to say 'yes' and support the ideas of others rather than tell them that 'it's not possible.' I think that this approach is really the secret to our success and our high productivity. I also encourage people to think about ways to solve problems rather than merely complain about them. I like positive, optimistic people on our team. We are always thinking about solutions and moving people, institutions and ideas forward.