Using a Facilitated Collaborative to Build Equity in Higher Education Institutions

How can post-secondary institutions implement organizational change to better support Black and Latinx students?

Higher education institutions often perpetuate racial inequalities through policies and practices that inadvertently better serve White students compared to Black and Latinx students. New research suggests that policy and practice collaboratives can improve academic outcomes for Black and Latinx students, but success requires an explicit focus on race, organizational change, a commitment to equity-focused policies and plans, and cross-institutional partnerships. Applying a racialized organizations framework, which closely attends to how unspoken ideas about race shape policies and practices designed to support students of color, this qualitative study will examine how participation in the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative, a statewide facilitated policy and practice collaborative, supports 26 public and private, 2- and 4-year institutions in confronting structural barriers to racial equity by creating and implementing equity plans. Using interviews, observation, and document analysis, Miller and colleagues explore the role of a facilitated collaborative in fostering racial equity and how colleges implement racial equity plans that are backed by resources, changes in institutional practices, and forthright discussions of race. This study will provide insights into tools that can help colleges address racial inequalities at a systemic level. Findings will be shared with members of the collaborative and the staff who run it, academic audiences, and program developers and policymakers interested in creating a facilitated collaborative in other places