Austin Community College District (ACC) was selected to participate in a new, innovative academy designed to tackle racial equity issues in higher education.
Developed by Achieving the Dream and the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center, the Racial Equity Leadership Academy (RELA), is an intensive year-long program designed to support colleges as they develop strategic plans to eliminate structural barriers to equity and increase student success rates.
"ACC is committed to promoting success for all students, especially low-income students and students of color," says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC chancellor. "Education is the true equalizer in our communities, and we're honored to be part of RELA to further this work. Closing equity gaps requires us all to work better together. With the support of ATD and the USC Race and Equity Center, we can take our equity-minded work to the next level. "
Following an extensive application and review process, ACC was one of ten colleges selected nationwide for the academy. The teams will convene virtually for orientation later this month. Beginning this summer, ACC and other participating colleges will meet virtually to discuss equity-focused challenges and develop a strategic racial equity change effort that can launch for the fall 2021 semester.
“(We’re) facing an urgent call to action to address racial inequity on our campuses and in our communities. (RELA) will give colleges the tools needed to drive transformation that is required to meet this moment,” says Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “We are eager to work alongside these ten colleges as they develop a new vision for their campus equity work.”
Others participating colleges include:
RELA has received financial support from The Kresge Foundation and Greater Texas Foundation.
“Kresge is delighted by the strong response to this opportunity, which demonstrates how many community colleges are increasingly prioritizing racial equity and striving to make the changes needed to become more equity-focused,” said Caroline Altman Smith, the Kresge Foundation’s deputy director of education. “We congratulate the selected colleges and look forward to following their progress on this journey.”
For more information, visit the RELA webpage here.