Monday Update: Becoming Equity-Minded
Dr. Sheronda Glass
Vice Chancellor, Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
At UW-Parkside it is our mission to create a more inclusive environment for our students, faculty, and staff.
An inclusive culture requires us to see beyond diversity and to become more equity-minded. What does it mean to be equity-minded, particularly in education?
The Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California defines equity-mindedness as “the perspective or mode of thinking by individuals and institutions who call attention to patterns of inequity in student outcomes. Equity-minded individuals and institutions must be willing to take personal and institutional responsibility for the success of students, and critically reassess their own practices.” (https://cue.usc.edu/about/equity/equity-mindedness/)
Becoming equity-minded is a journey. It requires that we become race conscious and mindful of the social and historical context of exclusionary practices in our education system. equity-mindedness emphasizes that we share the responsibility to create equity for our students of color and forces leaders, faculty, and staff in an organization to focus on what they can do to eliminate equity gaps. Bensimon and Malcom (2012) share the following:
“Rather than attribute inequities in outcomes to student deficits, being equity-minded involves interpreting inequitable outcomes as a signal that practices are not working as intended. Instead of focusing on “fixing” students, equity-minded practitioners continually reassess their practices and consider how those practices can be remediated in order to achieve institutional equity. equity-mindedness does not suggest that student behaviors, motivations, and attitudes are unrelated to their success. However, focusing on students alone, to the exclusion of understanding the ways in which institutions can change their practices, policies, structures, and culture to more effectively promote student learning and outcomes, is equally problematic.” (Malcom-Piqueux, Lindsey E., and Estela Mara Bensimon, ed. Confronting Equity Issues on Campus: Implementing the Equity Scorecard in Theory and Practice. Sterling, Va. Stylus, 2012.)
From this perspective, we see that the elimination of inequities comes about through intentional changes in institutional policies, practices, and culture. In other words, it requires us to move beyond diversity, into a space of examining the systems, policies, and structures that created the inequities in the first place. It requires a commitment to understanding the history of bias and discrimination. It requires prioritization of anti-racism efforts, and it requires all of us to show up personally for our marginalized students. Finally, it requires us to engage in courageous discourse, however, it should never be the responsibility of students or staff of color to educate an organization about what they are facing.
I am personally and professionally committed to this challenge. We all have a part to play in undoing institutional bias and racism. Our students deserve it.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action on Campus
Chancellor Debbie Ford
Thank you, Dr. Glass, for championing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as core values of a UW-Parkside education and as pillars of our learning community. It is through equity-mindedness that we will fully realize our commitment to student success.
We are guided by the mission of the University of Wisconsin which states, “…inherent in this broad mission are methods of instruction, research, extended training and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition.” As scholars, educators, and servant leaders, our daily interactions, plans for the future, and relationships all revolve around our shared vision to improve the human condition.
Unfortunately, we recognize not all of our students are succeeding in achieving their goals to earn a degree. This gap is more prominent for our Black students, but this has not always been the case for us.
A bit about the data for First-Time, Full-Time Black and Brown undergraduates over the past six years (2015-2020):
- Enrollment of Hispanic students has increased by 44 percent;
- Enrollment of Black students has decreased by 9 percent;
- 1st to 2nd year retention for Hispanic students averages 74 percent;
- 1st to 2nd year retention for Black students reached a high of 75.6 percent in 2014 but has declined to 57.1 percent in 2020. The six-year average is 67 percent; and
- The six-year graduation rate is at an all-time high for both Hispanic students (34.8 percent) and Black students (31.1 percent) in 2020. The six-year graduation rate for all students reached an all-time high of 44.5 percent in 2019.
Over the course of my career in higher education, I have never seen as much energy and collaboration to understand what is not working for our black and brown students and to commit to making the educational experiences inside and outside of the classroom better. I know we will join together to do what is necessary to improve the outcomes for our Black students.
In the June 15, 2020 Monday Message, I wrote about why Black Lives Matter at UW-Parkside and I am proud to report that we are making progress on all of the actions. Some of these actions are taking longer than others, but all are underway across the campus.
To provide updates, Dr. Glass and I will continue to highlight progress on our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion efforts in the Monday Messages, the EDI Newsletter, and the EDI Website. Below are a few updates on our efforts.
Black Student Union Meets with Administration
On November 4, Provost Ducoffe, Vice Provost McGuckin, Associate Vice Chancellor Glass, and I met with the Black Student Union to discuss their requests and expectations to increase the enrollment and retention of Black students at UW-Parkside. We discussed the importance of hiring a more diverse workforce that is reflective of the highly diverse student body we serve. We committed to create a fund to support leadership development and professional experiences with groups like NBSU and NCORE for students. We also provided an update on the new positions added to OMSA, Advising and Career Services, the Guskin Center for Community & Business Engagement, and Human Resources to enhance and improve retention, advising, and high impact learning experiences.
Commitment to Diversify the UWP Workforce
Attracting, hiring, and retaining a workforce that reflects our diverse student body is one of our top priorities and this work starts with reviewing the data. UW-Parkside employs one of the most diverse workforces among the comprehensive universities in the University of Wisconsin, with 19.4 percent employees of color. Over the past five years, we have increased the number of employees of color by 23 percent, while the total number of employees increased by 14 percent. The leadership of Human Resources, improvements in our hiring practices, and commitment of hiring managers is having positive results.
Parkside Athletics Leads the Way
Last week Parkside Athletics announced the Appreciation of Differences Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Council, led by the newly appointed Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Officer and current Deputy Director of Athletics Chris Barker. Congratulations to Ranger Athletics for leading the way on campus, in the community, and in the GLIAC.
These are a just a few examples of the important initiatives under way to live our shared values of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We are positioned to make progress as a learning community because of the dedication and the leadership of so many units across campus, including but not limited to the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; OMSA; Human Resources; Office of Admissions and New Student Services; and academic departments across campus.
Finally, a special shout-out to the members of the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Committee for positioning UW-Parkside as an emerging HSI in a few short years. I am convinced when we put our minds to something and work together we succeed. So now, we must ask ourselves what we need to do differently to reverse the enrollment and retention declines for our Black students.
In closing, 11 years ago this month, I said to you, “Let's go to the moon and shoot for the stars together. Let us test ourselves, challenge ourselves and one another, reveal our weaknesses, build upon our strengths, and aspire to achieve something great. We will do it because it is hard. But we know our successes will be many and meaningful. They will be measured by the bright futures and changed lives of the worthy students who will cross our paths as they reach their full potential as University of Wisconsin-Parkside graduates.” Join with me in shooting for the stars and helping our students to reach their full potential!
Rangers Speak Up For UW-Parkside Annual United Way Campaign
The Power of Community and Service to Others
Please remember the UW-Parkside Annual Campaign for United Way goes through November 20. Look for an email and watch this video for some personal perspectives from our Parkside community!
Last Friday UW-Parkside announced the university had joined with other UW System campuses and federal and state partners to offer new COVID-19 “rapid-results” testing to UWP students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. There is not cost for the test, so in addition to wearing a mask, watching your distance, and washing your hands, don’t forget to get tested. Go to https://www.doineedacovid19test.com/ to register.
UW-Parkside Classes Going Virtual
Last Friday, UW-Parkside also announced that all instruction will be delivered via remote means from Nov. 27 through Winterim, Jan. 20. The recent increased rate of cases in the community has prompted the change. While all instruction during this period will be delivered remotely, the campus will not be closed. Campus housing, dining services, library, Health and Counseling Center, and the Sports and Activity Center will remain open for those students, faculty, and staff who wish to remain on campus. The decision to move to virtual classes for the time being does not impact the spring semester at this time.
MOSAIC Educator Workshop: Dehumanization of the Native American Community – Nov. 16, 3:30–4:30 pm
Participate in a student-led discussion facilitated by the MOSAIC Educators on the history of the dehumanization of Native Americans in the United States. Hear how history has shaped our view of Indigenous culture and learn how to advocate for equitable spaces today. Click here to register. Once registered, you will receive a link to the virtual event. To learn more about this event and the presenter, visit the Native American Heritage Month website.
WebEx (Click here to register)
REDress Project Webinar – Nov. 17, 3:00–4:00 pm
The REDress Project was a public installation created in response to the missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic in Canada and the United States. The red dresses memorialize thousands of lost women. Dr. Kind-Keppel will be giving a presentation about what the REDress Project is and the steps we can take to raise awareness on campus. Click here to register. To learn more about this event and the presenter, visit the Native American Heritage Month website.
WebEx (Click here to register)
Palestinian Women and Muslim Family Law – Nov. 17, 12:30 p.m.
Join Dr. Beth Brownson as she discusses Palestinian Women and Muslim Family Law Since 1920 via LIVE STREAM on November 17, 2020 at 12:30pm.
Dr. Brownson will present and discuss her recently published book entitled "Palestinian Women and Muslim Family Law since 1920." She will be interviewed by Thomas Grobben on the Law and its implications for Palestinian women, at the intersection of politics, patriarchy and the struggle for liberation in Palestine.
Communication Week Nov. 16-20 – Braving a New World
November 16-20 is Communication Week – This year’s theme is “Braving a New World” and includes a series of events created by Communication students for COMM students and alumni, Parkside peers, and community guests to showcase what it means to study communication and to be a communication professional. Check out all the exciting activities on the COMM Week web page!
SEDI Forum with Chancellor Ford – Dec. 4th, 2 p.m.-Open to all Faculty & Staff at UW-Parkside
The Student Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion advisory council (SEDI) is an integral part of creating a more inclusive and welcoming climate at UW-Parkside. The purpose of the council is student advocacy, and the group reviews existing practices, advocates for change, and provides a platform for students to voice concerns about campus culture and climate. We will be hosting a forum with Chancellor Ford on December 4th to address faculty and staff's concerns regarding issues pertaining to discrimination, microaggressions, sexual harassment, and of the like, as well as initiatives to address equity and inclusion gaps on campus and in the community.
And as always, make sure to keep an eye on the News page (uwp.edu/news) and on our social media channels for updates!
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