Hollins University is among the inaugural 55 liberal arts colleges and universities from across the country that have formed a new alliance to champion diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA) will, as reported by Inside Higher Ed, “collaborate on antiracism work, campus climate research, and virtual programming for administrators, faculty, and staff members on how to better serve students of color and address systemic racism.”
The creation of LACRELA was informed by the establishment of a racial equity leadership organization for California’s community colleges by the University of Southern California (USC) Race and Equity Center.
“Having Hollins be an inaugural member of LACRELA signals our proactive and ongoing commitment to ensuring we are at the forefront of inclusion work in higher education,” said Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton. “We are pleased to be in the company of these other leading liberal arts institutions in our shared pursuit of equity and justice.”
The USC Race and Equity Center will be offering LACRELA members a variety of resources:
- Beginning in January 2021, a “Racial Equity eConvening Series” featuring a dozen live professional learning experiences will be held throughout the year, each covering a particular aspect of racial equity. The sessions will be presented by highly respected leaders of national higher education organizations; tenured professors who study race relations and people of color; chief diversity officers and other experienced administrators; and specialists from the Center.
- A repository of resources and tools featuring downloadable equity-related rubics, readings, case studies, videos, slide decks, and conversation scripts will be made available online. Every employee across all levels at each LACRELA member college will have access to the virtual resources portal, which will launch in late spring 2021.
- A trio of campus climate surveys will be conducted on a three-year rotational basis. The Center’s National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) will be administered in the first year. The NACCC 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. The Center is developing a pair of workplace climate surveys for Alliance member colleges, one for faculty and the other for staff at all levels, that will be undertaken in years two and three, respectively.
In addition, presidents of LACRELA 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. The presidents will also occasionally come together to craft rapid responses to urgent racial issues confronting the nation.
Virginia liberal arts colleges and universities that have joined Hollins as LACRELA members include Randolph College, the University of Richmond, and Washington and Lee University.