Published on March 10, 2014
UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity Strategic Directions 2014 and beyond Inquire • Reveal • Empower
Strategic Directions 2014 and Beyond Dear Partners and Supporters, A colleague recently asked me if the Institute on Race and Ethnicity was about academic research, student scholarship, advocacy, public policy, or social change in Little Rock, the state, or on campus, or what? My response was a resounding YES! Embedded in this person’s innocent curiosity was a sophisticated articulation of the Institute’s charge and breadth… essentially a multifaceted approach to a highly complex and nuanced issue. The Institute’s birth and existence signify that there is hope on the horizon in bringing systemic change regarding the most central problem of our time: racism. Building upon the strengths and accomplishments achieved in its short life, the Institute is forging ahead with a refined focus on how it will pursue its work and prove added value. The Strategic Directions provide a general framework for how we will conduct business and fulfill our mission. It captures the scope of our strategic priorities in simplified terms and is intended for internal and external audiences. Staying true to the original mission, the new vision statement will become both the driving force and hallmark for every activity the Institute undertakes. The guiding principles are not a set of random statements but serve to undergird the ethos of the Institute’s activities. These principles speak to what IRE values and why what we seek to do is honorable, needed, and important. Similarly, our theory of change expresses the Institute’s understanding of the problem and suggested strategies by which it is to be resolved. A branding effort will include a fresh look of our communications collateral and the launch of IRE’s new tagline—Inquire. Reveal. Empower. The idea is to maximize multimedia in order to spread our message and grow our following. In doing so, stakeholders will hear from us more often and in a number of different ways. On a practical level, the Strategic Directions is a call to action that invites others to be a part of the solution. We recognize that the vision can only come to fruition if there is broad-based community support and investment. Arkansas is uniquely positioned to lead the way in modeling the American ideals of freedom, justice, and equality for ALL people. However, there must be some urgency to our collective efforts to develop and nurture a culture of racial harmony and mutual respect. Please join us! Michael R. Twyman, Ph.D. Director UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity
MISSION STATEMENT The mission of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity (IRE) is to seek racial and ethnic justice in Arkansas by remembering and understanding the past, informing and engaging the present, and shaping and defining the future. VISION STATEMENT: To make Arkansas the best state in the country for promoting and celebrating racial and ethnic diversity. INQUIRE REVEAL EMPOWER Inquire - ask the tough questions which may make some uncomfortable but are necessary for understanding the root causes of racial inequities. Reveal - expose the truth and bring attention to the problem of racism in a historical and contemporary context. Empower - use solid research and data to inform decision making and formulate public policy that will achieve more equitable outcomes. Little R ock
OVERVIEW The Institute on Race and Ethnicity is about changing the thinking and culture of UALR, Little Rock and the state of Arkansas to one that embraces racial equality. This is reflected in the Institute’s new vision statement, guiding principles, theory of change, and each of its six strategic goals. Beginning in 2003, the UALR Institute of Government began conducting the annual Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County Survey which laid the foundation for the university to take a leadership role in confronting the race problem in central Arkansas. We will continue to engage UALR faculty, staff, and students in leveraging opportunities and resources to be successful in achieving the Institute on Race and Ethnicity’s vision. The Institute on Race and Ethnicity came into existence in July 2011 after several years of conceptual planning by Chancellor Joel E. Anderson and members of the Chancellor’s Committee on Race and Ethnicity. For the foreseeable future, the Institute will involve itself with work that stacks up to three fundamental tenets: meaningful, manageable, and measurable. Meaningful - The Institute will engage in activities that have explicit purpose and whose objectives closely align with its mission and demonstrates added value. Manageable - The Institute will undertake work that maximizes its limited human and financial resources to develop and execute efficient processes that produce outcomes at a consistent level of excellence. Measurable - The Institute will continually assess its effectiveness in realizing its mission and vision through critical internal and external evaluation. The strategic directions give a general overview of our priorities. The Institute’s internal work plan includes specific tasks and activities that support our objectives in the six goal areas. Additionally, the Institute will continue to build a case for long-term funding support, including the creation of an endowment to sustain its operations to further the most important work in Arkansas.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES The Institute of Race and Ethnicity ascribes to the following core values to instruct and guide its work: • We maintain that there is no scientific evidence proving one particular race of people is either inferior or superior to another. • We recognize that race at its core is a social construct and therefore should never be used alone to define a person’s or group’s total being or potential. • Racism stems from ignorance and fear and has existed since the earliest of civilizations. • Racism narrowly defined is when members of a dominant group deem themselves superior to other races and who have the means by which to exercise oppressive power. • America’s constitutional and governance ideals were built upon a pluralistic democracy, guaranteeing its citizens the rights to equal opportunity and protection under the law. • The enslavement of Africans in America has had long-lasting negative effects on blacks’ social, economic, and political power as an ethnic group. • The Institute rejects the notion that America has entered into a post-racial era with the election of an African American president, and to the contrary, continues to see racial oppression as the greatest threat to the nation’s health and well-being. • The Institute was created to lead change in Arkansas by being a catalyst for racial justice by facilitating dialogue and forging community partnerships. • Given the country’s legacy of racial discrimination and the resulting tensions that still linger between blacks and whites especially in the South, the Institute gives heightened attention to race relations between these two groups, but it is also committed to the growing Latino population and other communities of color in Arkansas. • The Institute believes that the courageous efforts of Daisy Bates, attorney Christopher Mercer, and the Little Rock Nine to end school segregation in Arkansas was a defining moment for the Civil Rights Movement in the state and the nation. • The University of Arkansas Little Rock is committed to modeling behaviors and practices that honor racial diversity and promote racial equity. • UALR must prepare students to be able to compete, communicate and think critically about topics related to ethnicity and race in an increasingly global and interconnected world. • The Institute believes that evidence-based research can be a resource for problem solving related to issues of race and racism. • The Institute accepts that it cannot tackle racism in Arkansas alone, nor do we have all the answers; thus, we commit to continued learning about ourselves and our work. • The Institute’s work is integral to UALR accomplishing its goal to be One of the Top Metropolitan Community-Engaged, Research Universities among the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) by 2020.
THEORY OF CHANGE The Institute on Race and Ethnicity has adopted a psychosocial model to explain its Theory of Change, with the premise that racism is a socially-constructed disease that begins in the mind, and yet is treatable and curable. We believe that the antidote must embody both science and education in order to transform unhealthy thinking and aid in the healing process. This approach assumes that racism when classified as a social disease has some level of predisposition based on a number of factors (value formation, parental/family influence, educational experience, home environment, neighborhood, geographic origin, etc.); however, it by no means needs to be terminal. Although there is disagreement in scholarly circles on a common definition of racism, it usually takes on three basic forms: individual, systemic, and institutional. Racism in its purest form depends on the ability to give or withhold social benefits, services, facilities, opportunities, and other resources from someone who is entitled to them, yet denied on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The exercise of power can be either legal or illegal, and is not limited to the traditional concepts of power. The intent, be it conscious or unconscious, is strictly irrelevant; the focus is on the result of the behavior. (Randall, 2006) • Individual racism consists of overt and covert acts by individuals that might cause emotional or mental trauma, injury, death, destruction of property or denial of services or opportunities. • Institutional racism is often more subtle and involves policies, practices and procedures of institutions that have a disproportionately negative effect on racial minorities’ access to and quality of goods, services, and opportunities. • Systemic racism is the basis for how individual and institutional racism is played out, for it is the value system that is embedded in a society that facilitates and supports racial discrimination. Randall, V., Dying While Black, Dayton, OH: Seven Principles Press, 2006. RACE MODEL Developed by Michael R. Twyman, Ph.D. (October 2013) Racial Equity Fairness Equal Access Equal Treatment Knowledge Information Exposure Attitudes Behaviors Practices Values Beliefs Assumptions Discrimination Prejudices Stereotyping Unequal Treatment Limited Access Disparities Racism
The Institute accepts that it must engage at all three levels to forge a social movement in Arkansas to actualize racial justice. The evolutionary five-stage process outlined below encapsulates the Institute’s Theory of Change. IDENTIFICATION ASSESSMENT TREATMENT EVALUATION SUSTAINMENT IDENTIFICATION Racism is pervasive and often insidious; its existence must be called out for what it is, even when perpetrated unintentionally. ASSESSMENT Because racism is a disease of the mind, it is important to understand how and to what extent it manifests itself in individuals and institutions. TREATMENT Fostering a culture of acceptance, fairness, and equality is the best remedy to erasing racial stereotypes and assumptions. EVALUATION Appropriate measurements must be instituted to determine the effectiveness of interventions aimed at attacking racist attitudes and behaviors. SUSTAINMENT Individuals and institutions must commit to ongoing self-evaluation of their racial prejudices and racist actions.
Goals, Objectives, and Tactics GOAL I - To foster sustained awareness of the issues of race and ethnicity. PRIMARY OBJECTIVE While the idea of a “post-racial” society is bandied about, an increase in racial profiling and growing disparities in income, health care, and education among blacks and Latinos continue to mount. The election of President Barack Obama as the first black U.S. president has in many ways intensified underlying racial tensions. Some public policies and recent court decisions seem to have accepted the position that racism is no longer an issue or reality in America. Furthermore, because of a dramatic change in the country’s demographic composition where it is projected by 2042 ethnic minorities will constitute a numeric majority, issues of race and ethnicity must be at the fore of any collective progress. IRE will remain vigilant in its commitment to raise awareness and consciousness about racism in Arkansas and seeks to do so in a variety of creative and innovative ways. GENERAL TACTICS • • • • • • • Conferences and symposiums Workshop and seminar presentations Historic celebration events Speaker series Facilitated community discussions Website publicity Media releases and appearances
GOAL II - To provide research-based information and informed policy recommendations on issues of race and ethnicity. PRIMARY OBJECTIVE UALR is classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and a community-engaged university, which uniquely places it in a position to not only conduct and produce high quality research but also to offer it as a way to change and improve community conditions in Little Rock and the state of Arkansas. Knowledge is power and it is our hope to unleash it in a responsible and effective manner that produces solutions. The Institute will continue to tap into the intellectual capital and resources of the UALR faculty to further its work. The aim here is to use research information and data to shape and refine policies that address racial disparities and inequities at the local and state level. The academy must forge partnerships and leverage resources with government, private sector, nonprofits and local residents to achieve this objective. Expanding the annual Racial Attitudes Conference’s scope and reach will be central to accomplishing this objective. IRE will be expanding its portfolio in this area for greater impact. GENERAL TACTICS • • • • • • Research studies Journal/newspaper articles Position papers Public presentations Legislative briefings Special reports
GOAL III - To build bridges and seek reconciliation through dialogue among people of different racial and ethnic groups. PRIMARY OBJECTIVE The sting of racial segregation, “Jim Crow,” and years of blatant racial discrimination remain in the hearts and minds of an entire generation of U.S. residents. And although there has been considerable progress in the fight against racial oppression, some scars remain tender and slow to heal. The Institute serves as a “neutral convener” to help facilitate and encourage meaningful and healthy dialogue on and off campus about issues of race and racism. The Chancellor’s Committee on Race and Ethnicity is an excellent example of bringing a diverse group together regularly to discuss a variety of topics dealing with race and ethnicity in a civil and non-judgmental atmosphere. A similar model is needed with other audiences both within the university and in the community with external stakeholders. Central Arkansas will remain the primary focus for this objective, but IRE will have a presence in other communities in the state as appropriate and as opportunities present themselves. GENERAL TACTICS • • • • • • • • Group discussions Community forums Workshops Lectures Media Appearances (radio, television, and Internet) Formal presentations Special programs Public events
GOAL IV - To provide formal study opportunities for students to learn about race and ethnicity through courses, related projects, and independent scholarship. PRIMARY OBJECTIVE UALR’s primary constituents are its students. As a metropolitan university in the state’s capital, UALR attracts a diverse student population in terms of gender, age, socioeconomic status, race and national origin. The campus will continue to have a significant number of international students representing a variety of ethnicities and benefit from having such diversity constitute the organizational culture. The Institute feels an obligation to integrate its work with student opportunities to engage in scholarship, research, and service. The Institute is enriched by these interactions, while students increase their understanding of race and the role it has and does play particularly in American life, as well as in the state and local community. IRE will work to expand opportunities in this area, including exploring the feasibility of establishing an academic major in Race and Ethnic Studies or African American studies. Additionally, we will intensify outreach efforts to engage more K-12 students through programming and community initiatives. GENERAL TACTICS • • • • • • • • Curricular/academic program offerings University courses Internships Research projects Service learning opportunities Graduate assistantships Special programs Formal and informal discussion groups
GOAL V - To serve as an information clearinghouse for campus, community and statewide initiatives and activities related to race and ethnicity. PRIMARY OBJECTIVE The Institute on Race and Ethnicity understands the importance of partnerships and working across sectors and academic disciplines in order to accomplish community goals. To that end, much of the Institute’s attention goes toward promoting and supporting the good work of others to further racial and ethnic justice. The Institute relies on its website and the university’s communications department and staff to assist in this endeavor. It also takes the lead in initiating and creating a number of programs and activities that it publicizes and makes available for both internal and external access and participation. Ideally, the Institute will distinguish itself as the “go-to” source for information on issues related to race and racism in Arkansas. Going forward, IRE will capitalize on information technologies, particularly electronic and social media, to maximize our effectiveness in this area. GENERAL TACTICS • • • • • • • • Institute website Publications Resource materials Electronic archives Newsletters Media eleases Newspaper articles Special reports
GOAL VI - To hold the University of Arkansas at Little Rock accountable for becoming a diverse, multi-ethnic community characterized by an absence of institutional racism. PRIMARY OBJECTIVE Unfortunately, racial inequities may manifest within institutions of higher education, oftentimes unintentionally, and UALR is no exception to this potential vulnerability. However, with the current leadership, deliberate efforts have been made to ensure that UALR reflects ethnic diversity in every aspect of its composition (student population, faculty, administration, governance, etc.) UALR has the opportunity to be the change it would like to see in the world. It takes time and patience to realize such a large vision, but the university has made the first step by declaring it an institutional priority. The university’s Diversity Council, International Student Services Program, African American Male and Female Initiatives, and Hispanic/Latino Initiative are a sampling of UALR’s strong commitment to leading by example. IRE will continue to be the primary catalyst and advocate for helping to achieve this goal across the institution. In fact, this objective is critical to the university’s 20,000 students by 2020 plan. GENERAL TACTICS • • • • • • • • Small and large group discussions Organizational self-assessments Surveys Professional development and training Workshops and presentations Guest lectures Campus-wide events Special programs
And Beyond - The Road to Racial Equality “Racism left to fester will hold Arkansas down in the lowest ranks on just about every measure. People of goodwill working together can turn the tables on racism to forge a better community for all.” — Chancellor Joel E. Anderson We recognize that the scars of racism are deep, so deep in fact, that some individuals take the stance that inequities in education, health care, criminal justice, housing, and employment are the real problems rather than often being the byproducts of systemic racism. All of these issues are important and extremely complex, and not one of them is untouched by race. We will ask the unpopular questions which may make some uncomfortable, but are necessary for attaining understanding, mutual respect, and racial harmony. We will expose the truth and bring attention to the problem of racism in a historical and contemporary context. And, in order to empower communities, we will use relevant research and data to inform decision making and formulate public policy that will achieve more equitable outcomes. Will you join us? “Our community will be strengthened. It will become stronger, more robust, more vibrant and dynamic, both economically and socially, as cultural and racial diversity promotes and enhances the exchange of ideas.” — Michael R. Twyman, Director Inquire • Reveal • Empower
Institute on Race and Ethnicity University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2801 South University Avenue Little Rock, AR 72204-1099 501.569.8932 • ualr.edu/race-ethnicity ArkWorkTogether @ArkWorkTogether UALRvideo UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity
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