“Equity-minded leaders are aware of the historical context of exclusionary practices in higher education and recognize the impact of this history. They recognize the contradiction between the ideals of democratic education and the social, institutional, and individual practices that contribute to persistent inequities in college outcomes. Equity-minded leaders also reject the ingrained habit of blaming inequities in access, opportunity, and outcomes on students’ own social, cultural, and educational backgrounds.  Most important, equity-minded leaders use this mindset to act for change. They recognize the need for systemic transformation, starting in school and continuing in higher education, to make quality learning for the nation’s underserved students a shared priority. They invest their time, effort, and political capital into discussing these issues and mobilizing institution-wide efforts and community partnerships to address them.”

— AAC&U, Step Up and Lead for Equity: What Higher Education Can Do to Reverse Our Deepening Divides, 2015

NAC&U has announced discussion topics and leaders along with a preliminary schedule for its upcoming Summer Institute in Washington, DC, in June. Administrators and faculty from NAC&U member institutions will gather to discuss ‘Equity-minded Curricular Reform’ and explore how they can work together to implement specific initiatives that bring about equity on their campuses.

This will be a working institute with small group discussions in the areas of student success and the co-curriculum; equity as a course design principle; and integration across majors, minors, and degree requirement programs. The Summer Institute will be held Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15, 2019 at the Hamilton Hotel in Washington, DC. Click here for a preliminary agenda.

Catalyst leaders from NAC&U institutions will lead attendees through discussions on the following topics:

Student Success & Co-Curriculum
TOPICS: Academic and Student Affairs Partnerships; First- and Second-Year Experience Programs
Led by Robert Shea, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Roger Williams University
Dr. Shea oversees RWU’s Center for Student Academic Success, partners with RWU’s Chief Diversity Officer on campus initiatives about access, equity, diversity and inclusion, and most recently was a lead author and participant in an Andrew Mellon Foundation grant: Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts – An Institute for Faculty and Administrators at Independent Colleges and Universities. He also has had primary responsibility for FYE programs at three institutions which has required broad collaboration across academic and student affairs.

TOPICS: First Generation Student Success Strategies and Initiatives; On-Campus Student Employment as High-Impact Student Success Strategy
Led by Kimberly Sluis, Vice President for Student Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, North Central College
In her senior leadership role, Dr. Sluis oversees all aspects of student development, including counseling and medical services, campus safety and residence life, orientation and first-year programs, the campus behavioral intervention team, student conduct, Title IX, campus ministry, career development, volunteerism, multicultural affairs and first-generation student support. Dr. Sluis also manages the College’s strategic plan and spearheads a variety of campus initiatives and projects. In addition to her administrative work, Dr. Sluis teaches classes in conflict resolution, cross-cultural transition, and higher education administration.

Equity as a Course Design Principle
TOPIC: Minimizing Hostile Environments for Minoritized Students in the Classroom
Kamille Gentles-Peart, Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies, Roger Williams University
Dr. Gentles-Peart’s scholarship engages discourses of race, gender, and power in the U.S. She has presented and published extensively in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Dr. Gentles-Peart has also engaged in work to promote equity-minded pedagogy in higher education. She was a recipient of a Andrew Mellon grant to participate in a Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts institute hosted by the Council of Independent Colleges. She has also created and led professional development workshops related to inclusive pedagogy at Roger Williams University. This includes co-designing and co-facilitating a year-long Diversity and Inclusion Fellows Program as well as an intensive summer institute on diversity and inclusion for faculty from across the University. In addition, she co-designed and led a fall faculty plenary on equity (which all faculty attended) entitled “Belonging at Roger Williams University: Nurturing Inclusive Communities.” Moreover, she is an excellent classroom teacher with deep experience in curriculum development. She has created and taught social-justice-centered courses at both the introductory and advanced levels across Roger Williams University.

TOPICS: Challenges in diversifying content; In-class strategies that engage all students
David Everett, Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, Hamline University
Since stepping into the role of AVP for Inclusive Excellence at Hamline University, Dr. Everett has provided leadership in the area of equity, inclusion and diversity targeting campus culture, classroom climate and community integration. His efforts include a focus on the individual and institutional aspects necessary for systemic change, including, but not limited to: cultural competency training, institutional analysis and metric development. Having served as an adjunct instructor in the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, Dr. Everett’s approach to EID takes into account pedagogical practices as well as structural dynamics that impact learning outcomes, retention and completion. He is a Certified Federal Mediator, Qualified Administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory, and member of NADOHE.

TOPIC: Digital Tools, Accessibility and the Equity-Oriented Humanities Classroom
Maeve Adams, Assistant Professor of English, Manhattan College
Professor Adams was recently appointed director of a new Digital Arts and Humanities program at Manhattan College. She now trains and coordinates faculty in developing curriculum that integrates digital tools and data-driven methodologies into humanities education. Professor Adams has spent the last 10 years developing various strategies in her own teaching and research, including collaborative research with students, to create digital-humanistic models for teaching, learning and research. Her goal in all cases has not only been to help students understand the value of digital and data-driven humanistic inquiry, but also to use digital tools to improve and contemplate issues of accessibility and other ethical dimensions of our collective work.

TOPIC: Supporting Underrepresented Students in Undergraduate Research
Andrea Sell, Assistant Professor of Psychology & Director of Office of Undergraduate Research, California Lutheran University
As the director of the Undergraduate Research office, Professor Sell has worked with multiple programs across campus to support underrepresented students in research.

Integration Across Majors, Minors, & Degree Requirement Programs
TOPIC: Scaling High-Impact Practices
Led by Sarah Fatherly, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, Queens University of Charlotte
Sarah Fatherly is Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs at Queens University of Charlotte, overseeing all academic programs and services as well as student life offices. With 15 years of experience in academic administration, she joined Queens as Associate Provost & Dean of University Programs in 2012. Under her leadership, the University has realized a significant improvement in its retention rate and a revitalization of its signature student experiences including general education, internship and career initiatives, and international education. She has presented and published on first-year seminar design, learning communities, equitymindedness, and general education reform. She also co-authored a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III Strengthening Institutions program that resulted in Queens receiving a $2.2 million grant.

TOPIC: Interdisciplinarity as an Approach to Fostering Integrative Thinking & Learning
Led by Rebecca Miller, Associate Professor of Art; Art, Art History, and Arts Administration Program Chair, Drury University
Professor Miller has collaborated with faculty in English, computer science, and communication to develop multidisciplinary certificates for Drury University’s new integrative program, My Drury Fusion, which is a key aspect of its new core curriculum.

For more information, please contact Michelle Apuzzio at apuzzio@newamericancolleges.org.