Priorities: Equity and Inclusion​

PLACE Collaboratory convening, Greensboro, North Carolina

An equity commitment, a commitment to forging an educational system that welcomes all students and fully supports their different needs, is central to the mission of Bringing Theory to Practice. It informs much of the work we’ve supported on student well-being, community engagement, and engaged pedagogy, as well as our publications on these subjects. Many of these projects investigated and sought overcome racial and socio-economic disparities in emotional thriving, academic success, and access to holistic learning experiences. Others looked at the efficacy of practices like first-year experiences and inclusive pedagogy in fostering climates of welcome and social connection for all students. Still others supported campus dialogues that confronted patterns of marginalization for students of color, working-class students, immigrants, and Dreamers.

In recent years, this commitment to equity and inclusion has grown more sustained. Our 2015 conference on “The Whole Student: Intersectionality and Well-Being” (which led to a journal issue on the same theme) focused on student differences and intersectional identities, deepening and complicating our work on well-being. Our civic engagement initiative, the PLACE Collaboratory, comprises community partnerships on such issues as immigrant rights, gentrification, and racial justice. A second collaboratory aims to connect student well-being and educational equity, bringing together advocates, researchers, and campus practitioners to distill practices for overcoming disparities in thriving, sense of belonging, and academic attainment across class and racial differences.

At a time of intensifying economic inequality and persistent white supremacy, BT2P will continue to deepen our work on equity and inclusion and our commitment to collaboration across an increasingly stratified academy. It could not be more urgent.

The projects database offers a scan of work we have supported already. Here are some important projects.

  • The Collaborative of Higher Education in Michigan (C-THEM) is a partnership of public universities and Michigan’s twelve tribal nations to increase access and leadership development for indigenous students.
  • Hostos Community College and its partners in Bronx Community College and Columbia Law School launched Community Arts for Dialogue, Reflection, and Energy (CADRE), which teaches students to use storytelling and performance to engage issues of social justice and racial marginalization in higher education and their home communities.
  • Landmark College, a Vermont institution exclusively serving students with learning and attention disabilities, expanded its use of Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) for first-year students and investigated the tool’s efficacy for increasing resiliency and wellness.
  • Portland State University used a Campus Dialogue Grant to launch Race and Social Justice Dialogues, campus-wide discussions on such issues as equity-minded teaching, music and social justice, and the school-to-prison pipeline.

BT2P Newsletters, books, and journal issues have also included a range of writing on educational equity and student inclusion. Here are some examples.