Gonzaga Joins Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance

An aerial view of campus from the south looking north. (GU photo)
An aerial view of campus from the south looking north. (GU photo)

February 08, 2021
Gonzaga News Service

SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University is pleased to announce its inclusion as an inaugural member of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA). Conceived by DePauw President Lori White and four colleague liberal arts college presidents, Gonzaga joins 67 other institutions from across the country in the Alliance, launched this past November by the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center.  President McCulloh has appointed Robin Kelley, Ph.D., associate chief diversity officer, to serve as Gonzaga’s institutional representative to the Alliance.

Robin Kelley, Ph.D.
Robin Kelley, Ph.D.
LACRELA provides participating institutions with a 12-month curriculum led by race equity experts; an online resource library of rubrics, readings, and case studies; guidance on designing action plans; and campus climate surveys for students, faculty, and staff. The Alliance also creates a quarterly opportunity for member presidents to gather and discuss strategy and share advice among a new and more diverse cadre of college and university leaders. 

“Membership in LACRELA constitutes an important opportunity for Gonzaga, to join with colleagues from across the country who are committed to anti-racism and becoming more inclusive and diverse communities,” said Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh, D.Phil. “We must create new and more comprehensive approaches to build and sustain a equitable and inclusive campus community — a vital responsibility that requires constant attention and broad-based commitment. In conjunction with existing leadership and programs, LACRELA will strengthen our ongoing commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and anti-racism in our pedagogy, policies, and practices.”

LACRELA member college representatives will meet regularly to share ideas, seek advice, and identify ways the alliance can have a collective impact on racial equity in higher education. In addition, occasional meetings will be held to discuss how to address urgent racial issues confronting the nation and campuses, dialogue among the respective campus communities, and prepare unified messages to policymakers, journalists, and other audiences.

Following are some of the primary resources offered through this membership:

Racial Equity 'eConvenings' Series

Beginning this February, the Race and Equity Center will host virtual monthly “eConvenings” — live, synchronous professional learning experiences for members that address a particular aspect of racial equity. The sessions will focus on strategies and practical approaches and will be delivered by respected leaders of national higher-education associations, tenured professors who study race relations, chief diversity officers, and other experienced administrators and specialists.

Member presidents also will gather together monthly to confer and share resources and initiatives.

Online Equity Resource Portal

As a member of LACRELA, Gonzaga will have access to an online repository of resources and tools the center is developing for alliance member colleges. This portal, expected to launch in late spring 2021, will include equity-related rubrics, readings, case studies, videos, slide decks, and conversation scripts to which every employee at each alliance member college will have full access. 

Campus Climate Surveys

Gonzaga will also receive a trio of campus climate surveys on a three-year rotational basis: a student survey in year one, a faculty survey in the second year, and a staff survey in the third year. 

The center’s National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates has been administered to more than 500,000 students at colleges and universities in every geographic region of the United States. The climate surveys measure feelings of belonging and inclusion, the frequency and depth of cross-racial interactions, appraisals of institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion, and other related topics.

For more information, please contact Robin Kelley at (509) 313-6013 or kelley2@gonzaga.edu.