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Hot Topics in Diversity

Updated: Jan 15, 2020


Student Success of Underrepresented students

Student success is the hot buzz word in higher education. It's not that colleges and universities don't want students to be successful, but retention has become an important factor in the bottom line of institutions of higher learning. Many are posting retention rates on their front page as a sales pitch to prospective students. Some state institutions are finding that funding allocation hinges upon retention rates. Changing demographics makes the retention of students of color front and center. A new division of student success or a new students success program is not going to do the trick alone. It takes the entire institution to become invested in serving students and investing in their future. Our new book, "R is for Retention" lays out an institution-wide plan that showcases what it takes to build a strong retention program for students of color. Strong leadership and involvement from faculty, staff and students is the best way to move the dial on student success. It's a marathon, not a sprint, but the race has to be started by someone.

Cohort Hiring of faculty and staff of color . . .

Diversifying the higher education workforce is a critical part of student retention. So many colleges and universities turn to us because they don't know how to go about attracting faculty and staff of color. We advocate for a cohort hiring process to offer instant community for new hires. As you enter the typical hiring season, consider how you can build a new class of employees that is diverse. Bringing in a group of faculty and staff of color is the best way to build a nucleus of cultural community that can help your new employees realize that the institution is committed to diversity and that they are not alone.


Teaching students about compassionate relationship building . . .

As we meet with K12 institutions, we continue to hear about how challenging it is to inspire students to be compassionate with one another. So often, training is offered to teaching staff, but students are not in the mix. When we work with schools, we always include a student education component. The impact of teaching students about microaggressions and stereotype threat is powerful. Similarly, on-going conversation circles led by culturally competent teachers allows students to express their feelings and understand that inclusion is a school value. Our new line of training decks are specifically focused on student education and reflection. Take advantage of our special pricing in December and you'll be ready to make a measurable difference in the new year.

Creating a long-range diversity plan . . .

Equity and inclusion won't just happen without a plan in place that involves everyone. If you have a plan, take advantage of the new year and bring your teaching staff together to review your progress. If you don't have one, now is the time. It may seem like a daunting task, but here are a few categories to include:

•Executive Summary

· A statement from leadership should include the following information:

o Describe the stakeholders and the developmental process

o Briefly summarize the demographic context and strategies for achieving projected outcomes

o Include the passion for the plan and the benefits for the district, students and families


· Include the mission of the district


· If you don’t have a definition diversity and inclusion for the district, convene a diversified group to create one. Share your definition widely to help increase awareness and buy-in.

•Goals, Strategies and Action Steps

· If you have diversity, equity and inclusion goals in place, they should be listed here AND they should serve as the framework for your Equity and Inclusion plan.

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