The Faculty’s Role in Closing Equity Gaps: Academic Policies and Practices

Since the spring of 2020, predominantly White institutions (PWIs) of higher education have felt understandable pressure to examine everything we do through an equity lens. Colleges and universities have, for example, turned a spotlight on admissions practices that have disproportionately benefited upper-middle class students. We have also begun to rethink financial aid policies, strengthen wraparound services, and advance collaborations to support community building across campus. Changes to our practices in all these areas are essential to provide a level playing field for all of our students, especially our BIPOC, first-generation, and low-SES students. Many of our campuses have already done the “easy” things: developed learning communities and affinity groups; created orientation and success courses targeted at particular groups of students; developed bridge programs and scholarship opportunities for students from under-resourced high schools; and provided expanded supplemental instruction, tutoring, and academic coaching programs.

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