Equity Action Agenda

Transcript

1 INSIDE THE EQUITY ACTION AGENDA BY MARK TONER THE NEWLY APPROVED AGENDA REPRESENTS A STARTING POINT FOR BOARDS TO BECOME MORE INTENTIONAL ABOUT INCLUSION. THE EQUITY ACTION AGENDA FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE GOVERNANCE WAS RECENTLY RATIFIED ACCT Board of Directors, after approval from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. by the The Agenda is a tool to help community college leaders "take the first steps” towards the development of more comprehensive policies and initiatives, says Benjamin H. Wu, the committee's chair. The Agenda was created with the input of trustees, college presidents, ACCT leaders, and others. Available at www.acct.org/resources, it is structured to help trustees and college leaders engage in productive discussions about equity and better understand the board’s role in shaping and supporting diversity goals, policies, and procedures to promote inclusion. The Agenda provides a guidepost for trustees in areas ranging from the college’s mission statement to hiring CEOs to resource allocation. It also includes action items for policy development, accountability, and community engagement, as well as next steps to help trustees guide a college’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Benjamin H. Wu Trustee Quarterly spoke to Wu, a trustee at Montgomery College in Maryland, about the agenda's importance and usefulness. TRUSTEE QUARTERLY FALL 2018 10

2 THE DATA IS OUT THERE, BUT IT FIRST NEEDS TO BE EFFECTIVELY COMPILED AND THEN DISAGGREGATED TO BE REALLY EFFECTIVE. DATA ALSO MAKES FOR A MORE COMPELLING CASE TO CREATE AND SUPPORT INITIATIVES IN COMMUNITIES THAT DON’T YET HAVE A DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION AGENDA. Q: What needs does the Equity Action Agenda Q. How has your own institution addressed equity issues? help address? Our committee heard from many trustees and presidents who Montgomery College is one of the most diverse community recognize the importance of being more proactive in addressing colleges in the country. Cultural and ethnic diversity is a diversity, equity, and inclusion. While they have interest, many point of pride, with the diverse members of our 23,000-strong student population growing 22 percent since 2001, and more have confessed they just don't know where or how to begin at than 170 countries represented. their institutions. The Equity Action Agenda is both a conversation starter and For us, recognizing diversity is a necessity and our future. Accordingly, diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices are a plan forward. It provides a helpful template to answer key fully integrated into our college's strategic plan. Serving as the questions, so that those who are interested in taking action can begin preparing the necessary first steps to implement an initiative. committee chair has given me the opportunity to share our The Agenda guides trustees through preliminary issues to school’s experiences with other trustees. While we can look to institutions like Montgomery College consider as they advocate for new equity, diversity, and inclusion as models for new initiatives, the reality is there just isn’t a initiatives. Trustees know that, despite their importance, such one-size-fits-all solution for each community. Each institution initiatives will have to compete with other significant budget and and community is different. Ultimately, the Equity Action Agenda policy priorities, so it's critical to have a good foundation for the best chance of success. is designed to begin the necessary dialogue at institutions across the country. If it does that, it will have served its purpose. Q: Why is it important for community college boards to Q: Now that the Agenda has been released, what are the think about developing equity agendas? When you look at the national demographics for community next steps? colleges, there’s a greater understanding of how to meet the We’ve begun to educate and inform trustees about the emerging needs of our diverse 21st Century student bodies. This importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion at their colleges. sentiment has been heard both by our ACCT Board and the We've created this template and we hope to aggregate best Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. We're also seeing this practices and lessons learned to help guide and shape future demand coming from within our colleges — students, faculty, initiatives. One of the best ways is to showcase outstanding and the communities we serve. programs and initiatives, such as through the ACCT Charles As overseers of our institutions, trustees need to be able Kennedy Equity Award on the regional and the national levels. to recognize and discuss these equity and inclusion issues. We also are working to get a better data breakdown of Whether it’s now or in the future, trustees would be well served where the diversity of colleges may not be reflected — from to address these issues and consider the initiatives that can best the student body, trustee representation, faculty, and top be used to respond to them. administrative personnel including presidents — to highlight the need for more attention to increased diversity. The data can help demonstrate where there is a compelling case for Q: How can the Agenda help boards develop greater representation. these structures? The data is out there, but it first needs to be effectively It provides trustees with a roadmap of their role, their leadership, compiled and then disaggregated to be really effective. Data and key questions. It gives guidance in policy development, also makes for a more compelling case to create and support accountability for continuous improvement, and community initiatives in communities that don’t yet have a diversity, equity, engagement. It offers best practices in governance and next and inclusion agenda. steps to help make diversity, equity, and inclusion a hallmark of Download the ACCT Equity Action Agenda or email their institutions. And it allows trustees, administrators, and other [email protected] to request printed copies for distribution to leaders to take the first steps and answer essential questions that your entire board. can evolve into initiatives at their institutions. FALL 2018 TRUSTEE QUARTERLY 11

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