Advancing Racial Equity in Higher Education Institute

What if the outcomes in higher education were no longer predictable by race or socio-economic status?

Over two days in November, 85 administrators and more than 50 students from over a dozen colleges and universities came together in St. Louis to delve into data, examine strategies and plan for greater equity in higher education. Facilitating the two-day Advancing Racial Equity in Higher Education Institute were Charles H.F. Davis, assistant professor at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and Chief Strategy Officer and Director of Research at the USC Race and Equity Center, and Isaiah Simmons and Sy Stokes, research associates in the USC Race and Equity Center and PhD candidates in Urban Education Policy at USC’s Rossier School of Education.

The Institute started with a town hall forum on the USC Race and Equity Center’s report Black Students at Public Colleges and Universities: A 50-State Report Card. Colleagues from three Talent Hubs, communities identified by Lumina and Kresge Foundations for collaborative efforts to accelerate degree completion for low-income students and students of color, shared lessons learned at Goshen College in Elkhart County, IN, Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Southeast Missouri State University in the St. Louis Talent Hub. With support from the facilitators, teams reviewed disaggregated data, identified opportunities to strengthen their equity plans, and committed to ongoing transparency and action to increase higher education enrollment and completion for low-income students, African American students and Latinx students.

Day 2 included an energizing Student Organizing Institute organized with the Active Advocacy Coalition. The session, facilitated by USC Race and Equity Center, engaged students in understanding the critical role they play in shaping colleges and universities that meet their needs.

What’s next? The participating institutions have committed to quarterly meetings to continue the work, holding themselves and each other accountable for racial equity goals. Participating institutions include: Fontbonne University, Goshen College, Harris-Stowe State University, Maryville University, Missouri State University, St. Louis Community College, Saint Louis University, Southeast Missouri State University, University of Central Missouri, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Wayne State University and Webster University.

The Institute was made possible with support from Deaconess Foundation, Lumina Foundation and Kresge Foundation and was hosted by the Deaconess Center for Child Well-being.

Pre-reading from the Advancing Racial Equity Institute:

Participant materials are available upon request to those who attended the Institute.

Image gallery from Day 1 session with university administrators and community partners: