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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 6/19/20

In order to honor Juneteenth, we hosted our Friday 5 Live on Thursday, June 18th. We were fortunate to have George Hoey as our guest.  George shared his thoughts as a higher education professional and a man of color about how we can support students of color on our campuses as well as faculty and staff.



The State of Higher Education This Week

Our thoughts continue this week to focus on those protesting the killing of George Floyd, police violence and systemic racism in our country.  Roanoke College announced this week the establishment of a Center for Studying Structures of Race.  Columbus State Community College, located in Ohio, will remove statues of Christoper Columbus.  As educators, it is vital that we acknowledge the work of those protesting for change in our country.  In this week’s Friday 5, we are continuing to include resources for higher education professionals as a starting point for the critical and necessary work of addressing institutionalized racism.


The Chronicle of Higher Education and Diverse Issues in Higher Education reported on an initiative coming out of the California Community College System to address campus racism.  Led by Dr. Shaun Harper, more than 60 community college presidents have committed resources to an alliance.  Leaders from institutions across the state will convene and, “focus on hiring and retaining faculty of color, confronting acts of racism on campus, using survey data to improve campus racial climate, addressing tensions between faculty of color and closing racial gaps in student transfer rates.”

“As institutions, we can get kind of insular. Right now is the time for us to really reach out to people who’ve studied these issues for a long time – and to be able to look at our own practices as community colleges so the experiences our students of color are having are more equitable and accessible.”
- Dr. Pamela Luster, president of San Diego Mesa College



Diverse Issues in Higher Education report this week on food and housing  insecurity in college students as a result of the pandemic.  Of students who responded to a survey by the Hope Center For College, Community, and Justice, two-thirds employed before the pandemic experienced job insecurity and a third lost a job because of the pandemic. 4,000 students reported being homeless during the pandemic.  Retention rates of students of color, who are disproportionately facing food and housing insecurity, are a particular worry, according to the report.  Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, an author of the report, advises universities to collect more data – and more specific data – about students’ basic needs inequality.

Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus


    Inside Higher Ed reports this week on the U.S. Supreme Court’s  decision that cements LGBTQ workers' protections from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.  As a result of this decision, colleges must ensure the fair treatment of transgender students playing campus sports and living in residence halls. Because the court redefined its interpretation of “sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to encompass both sexual orientation and gender identity, this ruling now allows for challenges of this definition under Title IX, the law prohibiting sex discrimination at federally funded institutions.


    Taking Action: What Institutions Can Do To Better Support Students of Color
    This week, we’ve continued to compile articles and resources that specifically address what action higher education institutions can take to recruit, retain and graduate students of color.  Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence shares a wealth of resources in their newsletter. Education Dive provides information on Juneteenth, resources for learners of all ages, and a call to action to teach Black history in greater depth at all levels. Peralta Community College made available an open-access Online Equity Training, and Columbia University offers a MOOC on Inclusive Teaching.
    Author: Meg Foster
    June 19, 2020
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