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Hi everyone, I’m passing the pen this month to my colleague Greg Thornton, Associate Director in APLU’s Center for Public University Transformation, to reflect on PxP’s progress in the context of Black History Month. Enjoy! – Julia Michaels, Executive Director and Associate Vice President, Center for Public University Transformation.

By Gregory Thornton

At the Center for Public University Transformation, we see the pursuit of equity at the heart of our work. Despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, our members have made progress in promoting equitable outcomes for students from historically underrepresented groups. Preliminary data presented at the PxP Annual Meeting showed that 6-year graduation outcomes are steadily increasing with the gap between Black students and all undergraduates decreasing. The data have been published to our interactive VSA Analytics platform and are accessible to subscribers. While the data are encouraging and demonstrate our members’ diligence and dedication, we recognize that much work remains to be done to ensure all students have an equal chance at success.

A sampling of our collective 2022 accomplishments includes:

  • Held four regional Equity Roundtable events that engaged students, alumni, and administrators from multiple universities in candid discussions of barriers to equitable student success.
  • Launched the second cohort of the pilot Data Literacy Institute with five institutions.
  • Published multiple reports summarizing the results of the clusters’ activities and lessons learned on the PxP Learning Exchange.
  • Connected the 16 Intermediaries for Scale institutions with expert technical assistance to build their capacity for holistic advising, digital learning, data literacy, equitable design, integrating the student voice, and strategic finance.

As we reflect on our accomplishments, it is particularly important to recognize the challenges and oppression faced by Black people in academia during this Black History Month. Despite systemic barriers and discrimination, Black people have made significant contributions to research, teaching, and scholarship. We all must continue to work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable higher education system that recognizes and values the diversity of our students and faculty. The national theme for Black History Month 2023 is “Black Resistance,” which speaks to the ongoing struggle for racial justice and equality in our society. So, let us not forget the resilience, courage, and strength of Black people in the face of adversity.

In honor of Black History Month, APLU will host our annual Black History Month Celebration Webinar, Black Resistance: Leadership in Academe, on February 28, 3-4 PM EST. This is an excellent opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate and learn from the unique experiences and perspectives of our Black colleagues and peers. We encourage everyone to participate in this event and join the conversation about how we can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable higher education system that recognizes and values diversity in our student bodies, faculty, and administration.

Tags: Data Literacy Institute, Black History Month, Student Success, IFS, Equity Roundtables, Executive Director's Note

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