SPARTANBURG, S.C. (courtesy wofford.edu) — Wofford College is one of 51 higher education institutions that are inaugural members of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA) launched by the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center.
Beginning in January 2021, the center will host a dozen eConvenings, or in-depth training sessions, each on a particular aspect of racial equity. Wofford will have access to the center’s virtual equity resource portal and will participate in three campus climate surveys. These surveys will inform ways in which Wofford and other member institutions can collectively impact racial equity in higher education. This places Wofford College in a cohort that will communicate in one unified voice to policymakers, journalists and other audiences with regards to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
“Joining the alliance is another opportunity for the 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,” said Dr. Nayef Samhat, Wofford College’s president, who will participate in quarterly meetings with the presidents of other colleges in the alliance. “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.”
The 12 three-hour eConvening sessions will be held virtually every month. Highly respected leaders from national education associations, professors studying race relations and chief diversity officers and other experienced administrators will lead the meetings.
All employees of member colleges will have access to a resource portal offered by the center. The portal will include downloadable equity-related rubrics, readings, case studies, videos and other materials.
The center’s National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) is an expert-validated quantitative survey that measures belonging and inclusion, and it gathers students’ appraisals of institutional commitment to diversity, inclusion and other topics. The center’s surveys can also gauge the workplace climate on campuses. Wofford’s students will be surveyed in 2021, faculty will take surveys in 2022 and staff will be surveyed in 2023.
Wofford is the only South Carolina college that is a member of LACRELA. Other member institutions include Amherst College, Davidson College, Oberlin College and Washington and Lee University.