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United for Justice: Dickinson Joins Liberal Arts College Alliance for Racial Equity, Leadership

Aerial campus shot

National organization equips presidents, campus communities to enact positive change

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Last month, Dickinson joined a national association bringing liberal-arts leaders together to help build more just and equitable campuses and societies.

As a member of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACREAL), Dickinson builds on past work in racial justice and equity, makes additional learning resources available to campus community members and connects peer institutions with like goals as they problem-solve and address these issues.

The LACREAL was launched by the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center. Dickinson is among 51 member institutions who joined the association last month.

The alliance provides a framework for presidents of member colleges to meet quarterly to share strategies, seek advice and identify ways to jointly address issues of racial equity in higher education and, when warranted, to craft joint responses and strategies to developing events. This includes combining forces in communicating stances and needs to policymakers, journalists, internal stakeholders and others as needs arise.

LACREAL also includes access to an equity-education resource portal, available this spring to all members of the Dickinson campus community. The portal will include downloadable readings, case studies and videos in service of the continuing education and growth of the entire Dickinson community.

Each month, eight Dickinson employees also will be able to access virtual learning opportunities that complement the college’s existing programming around racial justice and equity. Known as “eConvenings,” these live, synchronous, national online events will be led by leaders across different sectors of diversity and inclusion work and will focus on practical strategies to address related issues on campus and shared resources for continued learning. More information will be made available in the coming weeks about these limited-availability opportunities.

Finally, Dickinson will benefit from the alliance’s three surveys measuring equity within the campus community, as reported by students, faculty and staff. One survey will be administered and analyzed each year, building on Dickinson’s past work in this area.

“We’ve long been committed to helping to build a more inclusive campus community, and we are positioned as a leader in this field,” says President Margee Ensign. “Through this membership, we are able to access and discuss emerging strategies in diversity and inclusion, share resources with member institutions and join forces to address important issues.”

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Published January 13, 2021