Randolph College has joined a group of institutions as an inaugural member of the new Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance. Led by the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center, this consortium of more than 50 colleges and universities will share strategies and leverage their resources to make a collective impact on racial equity in higher education.
The main benefit for member institutions will be the access college faculty and staff members will have to a range of campus surveys, resources and monthly virtual learning sessions about antiracism, diversity and equity provided by the USC center.
“We are proud to be an inaugural member of this new alliance, which will open up a wealth of resources to us,” said Bradley W. Bateman, Randolph’s president. “By working together with some of the most highly respected liberal arts colleges in America, we will all be able to make a bigger impact on racial equity issues. This is an important priority for us, and we are excited to continue our work to address systemic racism as well as foster a culture of inclusion on our campus.”
The membership in the Alliance will benefit the entire Randolph community and is part of the College’s ongoing commitment to address racial equity on campus. In addition to a newly formed Task Force on the African American Student Experience announced this summer, the College is engaged in a national search for a chief diversity office, who will be a part of senior staff.
“I appreciate the conversations and dialogue that have been taking place in our community, and I believe this commitment to dismantle systemic racism is one of the most important things we can do,” Bateman said.
Beginning in January 2021, the Center will host a dozen eConvenings, each on a particular aspect of racial equity. These live, synchronous professional learning experiences will be held virtually throughout the year, one per month. Three-hour learning sessions, each on a different topic, will be delivered by highly-respected leaders of national higher education associations, tenured professors who study race relations and people of color, chief diversity officers and other experienced administrators, and specialists from the center.
The sessions will focus mostly on strategies and practical approaches and will use contemporary cases of equity dilemmas and racial crises on liberal arts college campuses. Emphasis will be placed on learning from sagas that have recently occurred elsewhere; learning how to get ahead of situations and reducing risk of crisis; and learning actionable equity leadership strategies. Attendees will return to work that same day with shareable tools and resources.
Virtual Equity Resource Portal
The Center is developing an online repository of resources and tools for Alliance member colleges. Downloadable equity-related rubrics, readings, case studies, videos, slide decks, and conversation scripts will be included in the portal. Every employee at each Alliance member college will have 24/7 full access to the virtual resource portal. The portal will launch in late-spring 2021.
Presidents United for Racial Equity
Presidents of Alliance member colleges will meet quarterly to share strategies, seek advice, and identify ways to leverage the Alliance for collective impact on racial equity in higher education. In addition, presidents will occasionally come together to craft rapid responses to urgent racial issues confronting the nation. Alliance presidents will collaboratively determine what to do; what to say to their respective campus communities; and what they can communicate in one unified voice to policymakers, journalists, and other audiences.
Campus Climate Surveys
The Center’s National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) has been administered to more than 500,000 students at colleges and universities in every geographic region of the United States. The NACCC is a rigorous, expert-validated quantitative survey that measures belonging and inclusion, the frequency and depth of cross-racial interactions, students’ appraisals of institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion, and other related topics.
Using the NACCC as a guide, the USC Race and Equity Center is developing a pair of workplace climate surveys for Alliance member colleges: one for staff at all levels, and another for faculty (including full-time, adjunct, and part-time instructors). These two surveys will focus on topics like employees’ perceptions of equitable opportunities for promotion and advancement; mattering and sense of belonging; how different groups of employees differently experience the workplace environment; employees’ encounters with racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other –isms at work; employee satisfaction with the College’s responses to reports of abuse, unfair treatment, and climate problems; and appraisals of the institution’s commitment to equity.
Alliance member colleges will benefit from this trio of campus climate surveys on a three-year rotational basis: the student survey in year one, the faculty survey in year two, and the staff survey in the third membership year. The Center will manage data collection and analysis.
Members of the Alliance include:
Claremont McKenna College
Harvey Mudd College
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Mount Holyoke College
Soka University of America
St. Olaf College
University of Richmond
Washington and Lee University
The USC Race and Equity Center will manage data collection and analysis for the Alliance.