Building Engagement and Attainment for Minority Students (BEAMS) was a multi-year project, ending in 2008, which fostered data-driven campus change initiatives at the nation's minority-serving institutions (MSIs)—Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities—in order to increase student engagement and learning. BEAMS served more than 100 four-year MSIs.

Outcomes of the BEAMS project, including the monograph and practice briefs linked below, provide key best practices for any institution engaged in institutional change initiatives, especially MSIs seeking to improve student engagement and success. Key project activities that prompted participant success included:

  • Participating in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)—Each BEAMS campus administered NSSE twice during the course of the project and used NSSE data to identify and assess needed institutional change.
  • Crafting and Implementing Institutional Change Plans to Enhance Student Engagement and Learning—Leveraging NSSE data, each BEAMS campus developed an action plan to be implemented at the institution, using project resources such as the Summer Academy and higher education experts to refine and strength planned work.
  • Leveraging Collegial Support for Implementing Action Plans—As a member of a group of campuses working on similar initiatives, each BEAMS campus had access to colleagues on other campuses, project staff, BEAMS consultants, and an online project portal.
  • Disseminating Outcomes of Project—Project campuses participated in national conferences to report on initiatives and progress that emerged from their use of NSSE information and the campus' project activities.

BEAMS was funded by Lumina Foundation for Education and was a partnership among IHEP, the NSSE, and the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education.

Project Publications


Practice Briefs

The BEAMS Beat

The BEAMS Beat was a quarterly newsletter distributed to all participants and others interested in the project’s progress.