Virtual: June 21-23, 2021
Jointly hosted by
Georgetown University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Xavier University of Louisiana
In collaboration with
the American Talent Initiative
We are pleased to announce that the Summer Institute will be held at NO COST to participating institutions. We gratefully acknowledge the Aronson Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Gray Foundation for their generous support of the Summer Institute.
Summer Institute at a Glance
At the Summer Institute, teams from colleges and universities will engage in a loosely structured and mentored design process to define and create a plan to address a key barrier to diversity, equity, and student success at their institution. To facilitate this work, teams will have the opportunity to:
- Join Provocations: expert-led conversations about key themes.
- Participate in Panels and Workshops: expert-led opportunities for campuses to share on-going projects.
- Engage in Dialogues: structured reciprocal conversations exploring core tenets of equity, diversity, and justice.
- Work with Coaches and Consultants: receive input to inform and advance their work.
- Participate in a Showcase: campus teams share project progress with the full institute and receive feedback and insights from others.
We ascribe to a model of distributed expertise, and the Summer Institute will provide an array of opportunities to listen to and learn from colleagues at these other institutions as well as invited guests.
The challenge of providing a quality college education to a diverse demographic of students – and ensuring their sense of belonging and success – is shared across the higher education landscape. Thus, we invite a wide range of institutions – colleges and universities, public and private, PWIs, HBCUs, and MSIs – to send teams to the Summer Institute for Equity in the Academic Experience.
We hope that both the virtual nature of the institute and the free cost of attendance will permit participation by a breadth of institutions and encourage formation of robust campus teams.
- Campus teams with projects in design mode
The Summer Institute strongly suggests that colleges and universities form cross-campus teams to engage in this work. Previously, we have found that teams of ~4-6 individuals who represent different sectors of the institution and who function at different levels within the institutional hierarchy are most effective at both creating bold, informed, and feasible plans – and then mustering the campus energy, attention, and resources to bring these plans to fruition. In order to receive the full benefits of the Summer Institute, campus teams need to commit to full participation in both the pre-institute activities and the three days of the institute.
- Individuals or groups of colleagues in exploration mode
We also know that some institutions may wish to send one or more individuals to attend and learn but are not yet ready to tackle a specific project. These individuals and groups of colleagues will have full access to all sessions and open discussions. They will not present their work on Panels or at the Showcase and will not work with Coaches and Consultants.
Conceptual Framework of the 2021 Summer Institute on Equity in the Academic Experience
A Diverse Gathering on Leveraging the Moment to Meet the Challenges of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success
The year 2020 and its aftermath have meant both unprecedented disruption and extraordinary institutional adaptation. It has exacerbated and laid bare our societal and institutional inequities and injustices. How we move forward from this pivotal moment will shape higher education for decades to come. We have the opportunity to leverage what we have learned amidst the pain and loss of this past year to imagine and commit to a deeper transformation of higher education than we thought possible a year ago. With this challenge as our context, we are excited to announce the 2021 Virtual Summer Institute on Equity in the Academic Experience, jointly hosted by Georgetown University, University of Texas at Austin, and Xavier University of Louisiana, in collaboration with the American Talent Initiative (ATI).
Our paired foci of the Summer Institute are Diversity and Equity: the necessarily intertwined challenges of enrolling a broader demographic of students into higher education and building a culture of inclusivity and success that prioritizes quality of teaching and learning, high-impact practices and a community of care. We anticipate that schools will come to the Summer Institute with projects that focus primarily on aspects of Diversity (making the financial and strategic commitments to increasing access to education for whatever meanings ‘diversity’ has for that campus) or on aspects of Equity (making the financial and strategic commitments to transforming campus structures and policies to ensure equitable student access to high-impact learning and opportunities for success, and frameworks for institutions committed to justice). Thus, one emphasis of the Summer Institute will be to help schools that are focusing on one area more than another navigate the broader contexts for their work.
Design Principles for a Holistic and Integrated Approach To Diversity and Equity
The work of the Summer Institute will be animated by a set of design principles that seek to help campuses develop an integrated and agile approach to institutional change that ensures a future in which a more diverse and inclusive institution supports a more holistic definition of student success.
Many campuses have centers for equity (often student-facing) and centers for teaching, learning and innovation (often faculty-facing). Institutions need innovation to achieve equity (in access, experience and outcomes), but they also need equity to ensure that academic innovation does not deepen divides.
At the Summer Institute we will examine the intersection of Equity and Innovation as a fruitful focus to achieve transformative change on campuses. Plenaries and panels will address specific questions, including:
- Building on lessons learned about educational inequities during the pandemic adaptation, how can institutions build strategies for long-term transformation rooted in evidence-based pedagogies and inclusive high-impact professional learning?
- How do institutions move forward with diversity as a strategic priority in the context of financial constraints?
If permissible, we do encourage institutional teams to meet in person to facilitate teamwork.
Equity-minded and justice-focused design depends on cycles of observing, listening, reflecting and collaborating. Institutions need to bring together their efforts at collaborative data gathering, interpretation and dissemination with iterative efforts at listening to students and other stakeholders voices.
At the Summer Institute we will examine how traditional institutional metrics can obscure the lived narratives of students, staff and faculty and the insights that can be gained from a more holistic approach to data. Plenaries and panels will address specific questions, including:
- How can we ensure that the work we undertake on issues of diversity, equity and racial justice in higher education reflect the perspectives and experiences of our current and future students, as well as an inclusive community of educators among a greater diversity of faculty and staff?
- What are our ethical obligations around the collection and use of data?
Just as cycles of trauma (and intergenerational trauma) underlie our most persistent and intractable social issues, diversity and equity efforts cannot often move forward without acknowledging and dealing with the underlying role of trauma, individually and communally.
At the Summer Institute we will examine how curricular, interdisciplinary and cross-campus work to bring trauma and healing into the heart of work on diversity and equity can achieve better outcomes. Plenaries and panels will address specific questions, including:
- How can institutions confront systemic injustice in all dimensions of academic practice?
- How might efforts to ‘decolonize the curriculum’ help galvanize cross-campus efforts to address diversity, equity and justice?
The “three-fold gains” of access, quality and costs have long been a challenge in higher education. Work over the past decade has made it clear that the “answer” to the challenge is never singular; instead it entails systemic solutions that typically employ multiple reinforcing strategies, often making new connections across typically separate domains.
At the Summer Institute we will examine how traditional siloing of responsibility for these three goals hampers transformative change and how we better can work across institutional units. Plenaries and panels will address specific questions, including:
- How can institutions plan for the kind of systems-level, multi-path changes required to address quality, access and costs together
- How can we lower the cost of higher education to make it more affordable – for individuals and institutions?
- How can campuses ensure that issues of student diversity, equity, and success are aligned with strategies that include and empower a greater diversity of faculty and staff?
Excellent models exist for 2-to-4 year transfer and to a lesser extent four-year to graduate program pathways. Yet the networks among different types of institutions needed to tackle issues of student access and success remain dangerously underdeveloped.
At the Summer Institute we will examine how the paradigmatic changes over the past year in education can be leveraged to forge and deepen relationships across the education ecosystem to advance our goals of diversity, equity and justice . Plenaries and panels will address specific questions, including:
- How can private colleges and universities work at scale to adopt transfer pathway agreements between 2-year and 4-year institutions?
- How can we expand beyond the traditional focus on increasing access to college to include building equally strong networks to ensure equity of access to postgraduate educational and career opportunities?
Programmatic Aspects of the Summer Institute for Equity in the Academic Experience
While we recognize that local jurisdictions may permit in-person gatherings by late June, we expect that widespread travel and very large gatherings will still be prohibited by public health guidelines.
If permissible, we do encourage institutional teams to meet in person to facilitate teamwork.
Even before the Institute officially begins on June 21st – and certainly over the three days of the Institute – there will be a mix of modes of engagement, including plenary talks, panel presentations, team work and cross-team mentoring and structured work time, and a gallery walk of team poster presentations.
While we will be recording most sessions of the Summer Institute, we strongly encourage teams to treat this like an in-person gathering and set aside the days for synchronous engagement and work.
Given the scope of the work of the Institute, we will be running concurrent sessions with the goal of teams splitting up to attend different sessions (jigsaw style) before reconvening and sharing with their team.
Institutions should be intentional about the makeup of their team, selecting individuals who are best situated to tackle the chosen focus for their project. Previously, we have found that teams of ~4-6 individuals who represent different sectors of the institution and who function at different levels within the institutional hierarchy are most effective at both creating bold, informed, and feasible plans – and then mustering the campus energy, attention, and resources to bring these plans to fruition.
The motto of the Summer Institute is “Come with a goal, leave with a plan”. We therefore anticipate that campus teams will have a well-defined problem that can be advanced into an actionable plan during the course of the institute. To achieve this:
Teams will participate in pre-institute sessions in advance of the institute. (We will announce a set of dates in May and early June.) These sessions will help teams tighten their selected “problem” and immerse themselves in a design thinking approach.
Teams will have access to the full range of live sessions of the Summer Institute and a set of online resources.
Teams will have access to both a Coach to help them make the best use of the Summer Institute programming for their particular needs.
Teams will have access to a range of Expert Consultants at “Office Hours” to help them think through specific aspects of their project.
Teams will present at the Gallery/Poster walk at the end for sharing with other schools and next steps.
We recognize that there may be significant interest from schools who are newer to this work – or who are casting about for new ideas to tackle the next stage of on-going campus work, or for whom it was not practical to gather a team for the institute. Given available space, we will welcome these teams to join the audience of the plenaries and panels.
The motto is “Come with a commitment, leave with a goal.” To achieve this:
Teams will be welcome to join an interactive session led by a coach at the start and close of the Institute to help them get the most out of the Institute as a means of identifying a suitable campus goal.
2020 Equity in the Academic Experience
Community of Practice
Georgetown University and UT-Austin, together with ATI, hosted the first annual Summer Institute on Equity in the Academic Experience in the summer of 2019. In fall of 2020, ATI launched the ATI Academic Equity Community of Practice (CoP) to support the fantastic work underway across ATI membership to advance academic equity.
Last fall, colleges and universities across the United States started engaging in community of practice with a series of activities, including topic-focused webinars, presentations from national experts, and working groups with peers. These activities were developed to build-on and inform one another, and will ultimately culminate in our second Summer Institute in June 2021.
As students who have been historically underserved across the country experience new and complex challenges around access to resources, wraparound services, adequate learning environments, and financial support, we hope that this community of practice will help institutions address both longstanding and new academic equity concerns in the months and years to come.
Community of Practice Updates
This webinar focused on how institutions can harness the power of data to understand current inequities in the academic experience, inform practices to promote academic equity, and track the progress of these practices.
Dr. Drew Allen, Associate Vice President for Institutional Data Analytics at Georgetown University, joined us to share his expertise on how institutions can leverage data to enhance their equity-related work. Dr. Allen was joined in conversation with several CoP members, who shared case studies (see videos below) on how their institutions have sought to use data to understand current inequities and implement change.
CoP members came away with concrete strategies and examples for tackling the challenges associated with integrating data into equity-driven initiatives.
Ohio State University Case Study
Claremont McKenna College Case Study
Virginia Tech Case Study
October 2020 Webinar
The purpose of this webinar was to provide an overview of the CoP’s planned activities for the year, this discussion-based webinar focused on how institutions have responded to inequities exposed by the global pandemic and national reckoning with systemic racism. Participants completed a brief reflection exercise in advance of the webinar.
August 2020 Webinar
The purpose of this webinar was to discuss the best and most useful ways our collective institutions can continue to advance the work of academic equity. During this open discussion, we heard from the group all the ways in which we could facilitate smaller opportunities (via webinars, discussions, asynchronous activity templates, etc.) across the fall of 2020 for our institutions to engage with one another in ongoing conversations and practice-sharing around equity in the academic experience. This conversation was the foundation for the CoP and the other webinars we held. The University of Dayton shared how they have continued this work since the 2019 Summer Institute.