Colorado College has joined the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center’s newly established Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance.
"Colorado College’s inclusion in the Racial Equity Leadership Alliance is yet another recognition of the critically important work we are doing through our antiracism initiative,” says CC Acting Co-President Mike Edmonds. “We are delighted to learn and work alongside other institutions that are participating in this groundbreaking alliance.”
Beginning in January 2021, the center will host a dozen “eConvenings,” or virtual gatherings of member colleges, each on a particular aspect of racial equity. These monthly, live, synchronous professional learning experiences will be held virtually throughout the year. Three-hour learning sessions, each on a different topic, will be delivered by 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.
These sessions will focus primarily on strategies and practical approaches, using contemporary cases of equity dilemmas and racial crises on liberal arts college campuses. Emphasis will be placed on learning from experiences that have recently occurred elsewhere; learning how to get ahead of situations and reducing risk of crisis; and learning actionable equity leadership strategies.
The center also is developing an online repository of resources and tools for colleges that are members of the alliance. These include downloadable equity-related rubrics, readings, case studies, videos, slide decks, and conversation scripts. Every employee across all levels at each member college will have 24/7 full access to the virtual resource portal. The portal will launch in late Spring 2021.
Presidents of colleges in the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance will meet quarterly to share strategies, seek advice, and identify ways to leverage the group for collective impact on racial equity in higher education. A total of 51 liberal arts colleges are currently members of the alliance. Colorado College’s own antiracism initiative is a collegewide effort to actively examine and oppose the ways that racism exists and persists at the college. With antiracism central to Colorado College’s mission, faculty, staff, and students will experience greater equity and inclusion, teaching will be more impactful and students will be prepared to make positive change in the world.
CC’s initiative has garnered support through a $1 million gift that has established an Antiracism Fund at the college. Last month, the college also announced a $575,000 grant from the Sachs Foundation that will support Black students who are interested in pursuing careers in education at CC.
This academic year, Colorado College also established three new positions, which include a senior associate dean for equity, inclusion and faculty development; a senior associate dean of students for equity and inclusion/director of the college’s Butler Center; and a director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for staff.
“Our antiracism Initiative is core to our mission, and as such it is essential to providing our students access to the very best learning and experiential opportunities Colorado College has to offer,” Edmonds says. “By joining the Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, we are expanding the scope of this work and our partnership in these efforts with institutions that share similar goals and values.”