students in a science lab

University of Richmond awarded $625K grant to reduce barriers to student inclusivity

February 27, 2023


The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded the University of Richmond a $625,000 grant that will support efforts to create an inclusive experience for students and enhance student belonging.

The HHMI Inclusive Excellence 3 grant is a six-year program and will be led by biology professor Angie Hilliker, who will work with 10 additional UR faculty from across STEM disciplines to implement the project.

The program team has three priorities: discover barriers to student belonging that exist at UR; test interventions to best address these barriers; and support faculty with resources and programs to promote inclusivity.

“By listening to and learning from our own students, Hilliker said, “we aim to drive change from within our classrooms, research groups, and student-faculty organizations, while contributing to the national conversation about inclusive teaching.”

Part of this grant will fund a study led by psychology professors Karen Kochel, Kristjen Lundberg, and Janelle Peifer, who have related expertise in belonging, prejudice and status-related disparities, culture/identity, and psychosocial adjustment among college students. 

The UR team will collaborate within a learning community with 14 other universities. The grant allocates $475,000 to fund programs on campus and $150,000 to fund activities in collaboration with the other universities.

“This kind of work is a labor of love for teaching and comes from our passion to meet the needs of our students,” Hilliker said. “We are directing time and energy into making changes that will positively impact UR students at large. At the end of this grant, I hope we will have learned more about how our institution and teaching needs to grow to strengthen the student experience, especially for students that have historically been underrepresented in the college.”