McPherson College is among the 51 inaugural member institutions of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance recently announced by the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center.
The USC Race and Equity Center works with professionals in educational institutions and corporations to strategically develop and achieve equity goals, better understand and correct climate problems, avoid and recover from racial crises, and cultivate sustainable cultures of inclusion and respect.
McPherson College has participated in the USC Race and Equity Center’s Campus Climate Survey since 2019, and as a member of the new Alliance will have access to a number of additional resources developed by the Center.
“McPherson College understands the importance of equity at all levels on our campus,” President Michael Schneider said. “Having access to the research and organizational resources of the USC Race and Equity Center will provide us with powerful tools as we continue to improve our strategies and practical approaches surrounding diversity and inclusion. I am looking forward to how this collaboration will help us better serve our students and community.”
As a member of the new Alliance, McPherson College can participate in 12 eConvenings, professional development sessions that focus on particular aspects of racial equity, conducted by nationally respected leaders in race relations. The Center is also developing an online repository of resources and tools for Alliance members that includes equity-related rubrics, readings, case studies, videos, and other resources. Every employee across all levels at each of the Alliance institutions will have full access to the virtual resource portal. Additionally, Alliance members will participate in two new workplace climate surveys in addition to the student survey.
Beyond the resources available to Alliance members, the presidents of each member college will meet quarterly to share strategies, seek advice, and identify ways to leverage the Alliance for collective impact on racial equity in higher education. The presidents will also come together occasionally to craft rapid responses to urgent racial issues confronting the nation, and will collaboratively determine what to do, how to respond on their campus, and communicate in a unified voice to policymakers, journalists, and other audiences.
McPherson College’s most recent efforts to become a more inclusive campus include working with the Kansas Leadership Center to diagnose and engage the campus in solutions to develop a more inclusive culture through meaningful dialogue, training, and new initiatives. A campus task force meets regularly to evaluate progress on its goals, which include engaging and inclusive programming, retention of underrepresented students, more diverse applicant pools, ongoing education and conversations with employees, and serving as leaders in the community.
The college has also supported diversity and inclusion training for all student leaders, as well as any interested student, through the Student Government Association. The training has expanded this year to include all Residence Advisors and Orientation Leaders, and academic mentors. A student workgroup began meeting over the summer to discuss actions that the college can implement to support student efforts in creating and promoting antiracism activities, and a student-initiated organization, VOCAL (Voices Of Change And Leadership,) has facilitated campus-wide conversations this semester.
Member institutions include:
Claremont McKenna College
Harvey Mudd College
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Mount Holyoke College
Soka University of America
St. Olaf College
University of Richmond
Washington and Lee University