Two initiatives of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest were featured in the Virtual Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Success, hosted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The conference and presentations were a chance for the ACM to share lessons with, and learn from, peers from across the country.
At the March event, which carried the theme “Upholding These Truths: Equity, Diversity, and Democracy,” the ACM contributed poster presentations on its consortial Anti-Racism Initiatives as well as the summer research component of its Graduate School Exploration Fellowship, which had to be retooled for 2020 on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Consortial Approach to Anti-Racism Initiatives in Liberal Arts Colleges
In this presentation, ACM President Sonya Malunda and Allen Linton II, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, reviewed the ACM’s progress in building a consortium-wide effort to advance anti-racism as an active practice among and across its member institutions. The anti-racism initiatives are focused on skill building, cohort building, data collection, and governance supports.
“The racial reckoning of summer 2020 provided another opportunity for higher education institutions to focus on and address institutional racism harming students, faculty, and staff of color,” said Allen Linton II, Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at the ACM. “The ACM channeled the enthusiasm of its consortium of liberal arts institutions for action into a shared, multi-year set of anti-racism initiatives across fourteen institutions.”
Equitably Meeting the Moment for Student Research
This workshop focused on processes and outcomes from adapting a summer research program during COVID-19 that is targeted at low-income students, first-generation students, students of color, and other historically underrepresented groups. Brian Williams, Vice President of Faculty Development and Grant Programs at the ACM, and Charity Farber, Associate Director, Programs Team at the Big Ten Academic Alliance, presented.
“The needs of our students to complete their summer work during the pandemic were varied and, in many ways, indicative of the need for equity to be central to program design,” said Williams. “Based on our effort to execute an equitable overhaul of the summer research program, we shared lessons that can and should be applied to similar programming to maximize a program’s intended goals and ensure all participants can fully participate.”