Sullivan Foundation partner schools Washington and Lee University and Wofford College are two of 51 higher education institutions that have joined the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA), an initiative launched by the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center.

LACRELA will provide resources that help member institutions develop and achieve equity goals, better understand and correct climate problems, avoid and recover from racial crises, and foster sustainable cultures of inclusion.

Beginning in January 2021, LACRELA will hold a dozen eConvenings, or in-depth training sessions, each addressing a particular aspect of racial equity. The sessions will mostly focus on strategies and practical approaches, based on and learning from contemporary cases of equity dilemmas and racial crises on college campuses. Participants will learn how to get ahead of situations and reduce the risk of crisis while also developing equity leadership strategies.

“Washington and Lee is proud to join the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance,” said W&L President William C. Dudley. “USC’s Race and Equity Center has a track record of offering high-quality learning opportunities for higher education professionals and has developed expertise and tools that will be invaluable as we continue to assess our campus climate. This partnership will give us the opportunity to share effective practices with other top liberal arts institutions and deploy resources that will assist W&L faculty and staff in their efforts to enhance and sustain a more inclusive environment for all of our students and employees.”

Dudley and Dr. Nayef Samhat, Wofford College’s president, will participate in quarterly meetings with the presidents of other colleges in the alliance.

“Joining the alliance is another opportunity for [Wofford College] to have structure, access to best practices and the ability to collect data to support the important discussions that many of us are having on race, diversity, equity and inclusion,” Samhat said. “I look forward to the conversations that will stem from our membership and the opportunity to work alongside other alliance member colleges over the next three years.”

All employees of LACRELA colleges will have access to a resource portal that includes downloadable equity-related rubrics, readings, case studies, videos and other materials.

The member schools will also take part in three campus climate surveys based on the USC Race and Equity Center’s highly regarded National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates, which has been administered to more than 500,000 college and university students around the country.

“W&L’s commitment to inclusion, equity and access is clearly outlined in our Strategic Plan,” Dudley said. “The Alliance will provide us with new opportunities to work with our peer institutions to address these issues on our own campuses while also making a collective impact on racial equity in higher education.”

This story has been adapted from press releases appearing here and here on the Washington and Lee University and Wofford College websites.


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