Columbus State earns placement in inaugural year-long Racial Equity Leadership Academy
Campus News | Wednesday, February 3, 2021
The College’s participation in this new joint Achieving the Dream and USC Race and Equity Center initiative will support concrete next steps in institutional racial equity change
Columbus State Community College has been named as one of 10 leading community colleges in the nation to further its racial equity work through participation in a practitioner-guided Racial Equity Leadership Academy designed to break down institutional barriers to racially minoritized student success. The Academy will provide the College with critical opportunities to enhance and promote its commitment to racial equity at every institutional level.
The Achieving the Dream and USC Race and Equity Center Racial Equity Leadership Academy will engage selected Achieving the Dream Network community college leadership teams in a year-long facilitated exploration of tools and tactics to scrutinize and dismantle structures and policies that hamper racially equitable student outcomes, through a deep focus on designing effective strategies and projects to articulate principles of racial equity into an actionable framework.
“Columbus State is ready to make our next leap forward in racial equity change work as a leading Achieving the Dream member college,” said Dr. David T. Harrison, president. “We are honored at ATD’s selection of our team to build upon our organizational commitment and progress advancing racially equitable student success outcomes, and intend to leverage this experience as a key means of our integrated efforts to measurably improve diversity, equity and inclusion in everything that we do.”
Columbus State’s engagement in the Academy will conclude in early 2022, culminating in a comprehensive, prioritized racial equity action plan aligned with the College’s student success and strategic plans. The College will share the lessons learned during its year-long journey at the 2022 national Achieving the Dream Network DREAM conference.
“We are proud to welcome Columbus State into the inaugural cohort of the Racial Equity Leadership Academy,” said Dr. Karen A. Stoudt, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Achieving the Dream believes that a commitment to equity is tantamount to institutional transformation that leads to greater student outcomes. Columbus State’s commitment to embed anti-racism and racial equity into their campus culture exemplifies the systematic approach necessary to bring about change and builds on their strong student success work that was recognized with the Leah Meyer Austin Award in 2019.”
Columbus State first joined the Achieving the Dream Network in 2012, becoming a Leader College in 2015, the Leah Meyer Austin Award winner in 2019, and a Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The Leah Meyer Austin Award is Achieving the Dream’s highest honor and recognized Columbus State’s double-digit improvement in student completion outcomes with an emphasis on lifting achievement rates among African-American and low-income students.