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State Grant to Boost Equity Practices

Money will fund support materials for members of campus community

Bridgewater State University’s Racial Equity and Justice Institute (REJI) has been awarded a $250,000 grant for the development of relevant support materials to be used by faculty and librarians, trustees, and other members of the campus community.

The money is part of the state’s Higher Education Innovation Fund, which supports the Department of Higher Education’s various goals.

“Many people in higher education want to practice in an equity-minded way within their roles but may need a bit more support to do so,” said Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior, vice president of Student Success, Equity and Diversity. “Thanks to the generosity of the funding provided, we will be able to develop scaffolded materials in key functional areas of higher education focused on equity-minded competency development.”

To create these materials, REJI will be working with recognized national experts Dr. Raquel M. Rall, a scholar in equity-minded work; Dr. Isis Artze-Vega, a leader in equitable teaching and learning practices; and Dr. Roman Liera, noted equity scholar in the areas of data and inquiry.

These leaders, working with members of REJI, will launch the project by developing materials initially for interested faculty and librarians, trustees, and researchers. As additional funding is secured, materials will be developed focused on other roles in higher education. These materials will be available in a self-paced learning-management system, with content geared specifically to each user’s role on campus.

“If at least one person is equity-minded in each unit on campus, there are opportunities for systemic, transformational change that advances racial equity,” Liera said. “Transformational change can be intimidating because it requires systematically changing the various structures on campus, often simultaneously.”

BSU President Frederick W. Clark Jr. is grateful to both lead and learn from those involved in the REJI project.

“We consistently look for ways to evolve and ensure we are meeting the demands of today’s students,” he said. “Every student has different needs. We need to meet them where they are. That means our work is never complete. The essence of equity work is understanding that every student comes to BSU with different experiences; our responsibility is to adjust how we support them so every student can succeed.”

Gentlewarrior said, this project is in support of helping to center racially equitable practices in higher education.

“As Dr. Estela Bensimon reminds us, equity-mindedness is achievable, but often people don’t know where to begin,” she said. “This project is dedicated to our students to ensure everyone in higher education is equipped with the competencies that they need. In doing so, it will help all students succeed through effective racial equity practices.”

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