Generation Next – UROC Faculty Fellows

University researchers charged with tackling the ‘whys’ behind Minnesota’s achievement gap

Six University of Minnesota researchers have been named Generation Next/UROC Faculty Fellows and charged with creating teams to tackle the question: “Why is there an achievement gap in the context of Minneapolis-St. Paul and what promising practices are helping close that gap?”

Coordinated by UROC in partnership with Minneapolis-based Generation Next and aligned with the University's broader public engagement agenda, the fellows will zero in on disparities and the structural roots of the achievement gap to create a roadmap that works in tandem with other University and Generation Next-based efforts. “Essentially, UROC is building a bridge from the University of Minnesota that is helping our children build a bridge to a better future,” said R.T. Rybak, executive director of Generation Next.

The fellows were chosen for their community-based scholarship in the area of education, health, gender studies, communication and the arts. Each fellow or team of fellows will form workgroups of five experts, drawing upon knowledge from a wide range of disciplines from across the University.

“The Generation Next/UROC Faculty Fellows are a strong compliment to the other work the University is doing to address Minnesota’s achievement gap, ” said Heidi Barajas, UROC executive director charged with overseeing the project. “The talent that’s been assembled in this effort represents some of the best and the brightest in the University’s community-engaged scholarship for a true ‘out-of-the-box’ approach to the crisis.”

The Team




Michele Allen, M.D. - Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Medical School


Peter Demerath - Associate Professor, Department of Organization Leadership, Policy and Development, College of Education and Human Development


Jigna Desai - Professor, Department of Gender Women and Sexuality Studies, College of Liberal Arts


Michael Goh - Associate Vice Provost, Office of Equity and Diversity, and professor, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development, College of Education and Human Development


Ross VeLure Roholt - Associate Professor, School of Social Work, College of Education and Human Development


Catherine Squires - Associate Professor, Department of Communications Studies, College of Liberal Arts.