Claremont, Calif. (November 20, 2020) – Pitzer College President Melvin L. Oliver and other national liberal arts college leaders recently joined the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Alliance which will provide resources and tools for member colleges, including annual campus climate surveys of faculty, staff, and students.
Alliance activities will be coordinated by the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center, a highly effective research and organizational improvement center with a mission to “illuminate, disrupt, and dismantle racism in all its forms.” The Center administers the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC), a rigorous, expert-validated quantitative survey that measures belonging and inclusion, the frequency and depth of cross-racial interactions, students’ appraisals of institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion and other related topics.
Additional assessments concerning faculty and staff are being developed and will “focus on topics like employees’ perceptions of equitable opportunities for promotion and advancement; mattering and sense of belonging; and how different groups of employees differently experience the workplace environment.” The Center is also building an online repository of resources and tools for alliance member colleges. Downloadable equity-related rubrics, readings, case studies, videos, slide decks and conversation scripts will be available to each member college. This 24/7 full-access virtual resource portal will be accessible to Pitzer faculty and staff and is scheduled to launch in late spring 2021.
President Oliver has allocated funds from his donor-supported President’s Fund for Excellence to pay for Pitzer’s membership in the alliance, and he is confident it will be a critical resource informing the College’s work on racial justice as well as equity, diversity and inclusion. He envisions involvement and input from his Racial Justice Initiative along with staff, faculty and student groups on campus. Presidents of member colleges will meet quarterly to share strategies, seek advice and identify ways to leverage the alliance and make an impact on racial equity in higher education. President Oliver recently commented that “Pitzer is proud to be an inaugural member of this important alliance as we continue to expand our work around social and racial justice issues on campus and in the community. I know Pitzer will benefit from this strategic partnership, and we will make significant contributions to the collective efforts of liberal arts colleges to address issues of racism and injustice on our campuses.”