December 14, 2022
We are at the point of the academic year where we can rest and reflect on all that we’ve accomplished this term. For our Association, we have accomplished feats which were once dreams, and we’ve been at the forefront of educating and advocating on matters that benefit our collective work.
We hosted the inaugural Joint International Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education with Coventry University. This event was a firm reminder that we are not alone in our efforts. We, along with scholars and practitioners in North America, Europe, and elsewhere across the globe, are all committed to justice work and we all share the political pressure we each face to limit the telling of more truthful stories about our past and present, creating spaces of inclusion, and offering resources equitably. We welcomed more than 150 attendees, both online and in person, and we have plans to strengthen our connections and work globally.
We launched the pilot Academic Diversity Officers Fellows Program (ADOFP), led by NADOHE member Dr. Venessa A. Brown, associate athletic director for diversity, equity and inclusion, athletics chief diversity officer at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. ADOFP is a professional leadership academic year-long program of mentorship for new and early career Academic Diversity Officers. Fellows in the program are paired with an academic diversity officer mentor throughout the program. Dr. Brown developed a vast curriculum for participants along with an ADOFP award to be presented to a fellow in the program upon completion.
Our outreach and partnerships with various higher education associations represent our expanded influence including a joint membership survey with NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, “Moving from Words to Action: The Influence of Racial Justice Statements on Campus Equity Efforts”; conference presentations on the NADOHE Framework for Advancing Anti-Racism Strategy on Campus with the Council of Higher Education Management Associations and College and University Professional Association for Human Resources; and webinars with the American Counseling Association and Law School Admission Council.
We’ve also been helping to lead the charge on multiple advocacy efforts. We joined ACEand more than 60 other higher education organizations in a letter encouraging Congress to pass legislation to protect Dreamers permanently. We’ve commented to the Federal Register regarding draft Title IX regulations announced by the Department of Education in June. We’ve also applauded recent comments by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona regarding college rankings and the U.S. Department of Education’s renewed commitment to student success through the creation of its College Completion Fund grant program and the expansion of its Project Success initiative; highlighted the Biden administration for the final rule released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that would preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); and we’ve urged the current presidential administration to do more to alleviate the student loan debt crisis.
Lastly, we’ve been keeping a close watch on race-conscious admissions policies, offering our members the opportunity to learn more about what is at stake for their campuses as well as publicly advocating in support of race-conscious admissions policies. As we have followed the SCOTUS hearings, we have prepared statements and resources on our website to guide you in your work surrounding race-conscious admissions. We know how imperative it is for students to feel safe and welcomed on campuses. Regardless of the outcome, institutional leaders and DEI practitioners must be prepared for any outcome on race-conscious admissions.
As I look back on the past several months, I could not be prouder of the progress we’ve made together. I know that each of you has been hard at work within your campus communities. As you reflect on your efforts, I hope that you feel a sense of pride and hope for the future. Now, it is time for us to collectively rest and reset to gear up for the new year and all of the joys (and challenges) it will bring.
Happy holidays and have a restful break.
Paulette Granberry Russell, J.D.