Common Ground Consortium

The Common Ground Consortium (CGC) was established in 1989 at the University of Minnesota’s College of Education as it was then called, which received a grant from the Bush Foundation to form a consortium with Historically Black colleges and Universities to recruit on annual basis African American graduates for advanced study.

The primary purpose of CGC was to provide for the recruitment of Black graduate education students and to support them through their advanced academic journey. That support entailed financial assistance, as well as community support during their graduate studies, including regular check-ins and assistance with professional development. At 32 years old, this consortium is older than many of our incoming freshman class! It has had a storied past and has produced professors, consultants, superintendents, researchers, teachers and has done much to advance Black intellectualism. Throughout the decades of its existence, the CGC network has helped to retain students until they graduate, to foster excellence, and to support community.

In May 2021, the CGC held its inaugural conference, Advancing Black Intellectualism: Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first Black Women to Achieve a Ph.D. degree in the United States. Dr. Josie Johnson was instrumental in the establishment of the consortium, and so it is doubly fitting that she is one of the first two recipients of the inaugural Common Ground Consortium Advancing Black Intellectualism (ABI) award. Dr. Rose Brewer, professor in the Africana Studies Department also received an ABI award.

Join the CGC

Your application for the CGC fellowship is a part of your application to a graduate program, and is submitted with your materials. Visit your program page for more information about CGC application requirements. CGC offers are made in March, after Department/program admission decisions.

Program Benefits

  • Guaranteed Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant funding for graduate study (8 semesters for PhD students). These positions are for 20 hours per week, and include full-time tuition benefits and fully subsidized individual health insurance, in addition to an hourly wage.
  • Faculty mentor for each student (may or may not be dissertation advisor)
  • Funding to present at national and international conferences
  • Bi-monthly cohort meetings for academic and professional development
  • Alumni networking opportunities for academic and professional growth


For more information about the CGC, contact Nicola Alexander, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, Diversity, and International Initiatives, at