How Institutions Should Prepare Now for the Future of Race in Admissions

December 2, 2022

We have concluded our “Challenges to Race in Higher Education Admissions: Understanding the Issues before SCOTUS and Institutional Readiness” webinar series presented by Art Coleman, co-founder and managing partner of EducationCounsel LLC, and moderated by Caroline Laguerre-Brown, JD, NADOHE board member and vice provost for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement at the George Washington University. Coleman and Laguerre-Brown curated insightful conversations in parts one and two. 

Below are key takeaways from Coleman on what institutions should be doing now to prepare for the impending decision:

  • Take time this fall to be well-positioned for the decision by taking inventory of your school’s relevant policies and practices and gathering institutional and external research that could provide a foundation for how to make any necessary changes.
  • Get your stories ready on the educational benefits of diversity: “We position ourselves better if we do a better job telling our story about the power, the force, the impact of student diversity, including racial and ethnic diversity, for the betterment of all students,” Coleman said.
  • Begin preparing communications for a range of decisions. College presidents at many institutions will be expected to send emails weighing in on the decision and changes that will be happening at their schools. Use this opportunity to reaffirm values on equity and inclusion. If institutions are able to go further in their commitment, do it in this initial message, Coleman said: “Are you prepared to announce a $2 million investment in new targeted recruitment and outreach that can balance whatever adverse impact the court might have?”
  • Capture a list of all websites, brochures and other materials that will need to be changed due to the possibility of violating new legal guidelines with outdated language. 
  • Work on effective ways to educate faculty and current students on the nuances of the issue at hand.

Coleman also suggested setting up working groups and designated members of your institution focused on the topic.

“A common structure that schools are using is to have an overarching committee focusing on big picture issues, with subcommittees focusing on potential effects for individual departments,” he said. 

Coleman mentioned pre-existing resources on the topic, including the National Association for College Admissions Counseling/National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators report “Toward a More Equitable Future for Post-Secondary Access,” and the Handbook on Diversity and the Law from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A recent Diverse: Issues in Higher Education article recapped the SCOTUS webinar series.

Throughout our time following the SCOTUS hearings, we have prepared statements and resources on our website to guide higher education practitioners in their work surrounding race-conscious admissions. We believe that it is imperative for students to feel safe and welcomed on campuses. Institutional leaders must work to ensure, regardless of the final decisions from the Court, that students are successful in their educational careers, and so they must be prepared for any outcome on race-conscious admissions. 


The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) is the preeminent voice for chief diversity officers. As the leader of the national conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion, it investigates, influences, and innovates to transform higher education so that inclusive excellence lives at its core.