7 Hallmarks of an
Anti-Racist Education Institution
Explore a framework defining behaviors and actions that promote racial justice in higher education
Making progress on racial justice issues is an ongoing priority in the education system. In doing so, institutional leaders must include a balance of both immediate, short-term actions with longer-term strategies. From policies and academic programs to institutional history and community relations, leaders must navigate the complex systems of higher education to uproot structural racism. But where to start?
Becoming an anti-racist institution involves a conscious, active, and ongoing effort to address the multi-dimensional aspects of racism in our communities and society. EAB has defined the following hallmarks to guide institutional leaders as they develop their journey towards racial justice. The holistic framework illustrates seven areas that span across unit and function to transform the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community members.
This infographic offers an interactive experience to learn about each of the hallmarks through the lives of four BIPOC community members. Click through to meet each person, learn about each hallmark, and hear about how institutional structures and behaviors have impacted their experience. Below the main image, you can dive into each hallmark to learn about their key attributes, more about each community member, and discover profiled examples.
7 Hallmarks of Anti-Racism Framework
Learn more about our community members by clicking on each of the seven hallmarks below.
Create and Scale Curricular and Co-curricular Experiences Reflective and Inclusive of BIPOC Community
Institutions that promote racial justice recognize how curricular design and instructional practices commonly whitewash disciplines, reinforce racist ideals, and impede the learning and engagement of BIPOC students. They interrogate the consequences of legacy practices related to student academic placement and progress and ensure that BIPOC students have equitable access to education- and career-enhancing services and supports.
Key attributes include:
- Inclusive Pedagogy – Creating student-centered teaching environments that engage students of all backgrounds.
- Study Abroad – Remodeling programs to prevent re-enacting colonialist exchanges with communities of color.
- Advising and Career Development – Ensuring equitable access to culturally competent professional and peer advising, mentorship and career development opportunities.
- Course Placement and Sequencing – Reforming developmental course placement and education pathways to better support student progression.
- Curriculum Content – Redesigning curricula across disciplines to include BIPOC scholars, history, and academic contributions.
Listen Jenny Cortez: “Why do I have to complete remedial math and a calculus-based math sequence for interior design? These courses add an additional year before I can even start design classes. Maybe this isn’t what I’m supposed to be pursuing.”
Listen Lawrence Fisher: “I’ve applied to over 250 jobs in my state with little luck. A recruiter told me that I’m not a competitive candidate because I don’t have any relevant professional experience. I could not afford to take an unpaid internship in school so I’m not sure what to do anymore. How can having a degree not be enough to find a job?”
Profiled Example: Xavier University of Louisiana
XULA made a multi-pronged investment in supporting aspiring Black medical students by reforming undergraduate curriculum, restructuring personal advising, and establishing program checkpoints for long-term academic planning
Consistently Assess Institutional Strategy, Policies, and Operations Through a Racial Justice Lens
Institutions that promote racial justice avoid being "colorblind" in strategic visioning, planning, budgeting, and resource allocation, and intentionally consider the impact of all decisions on BIPOC.
They create structures that support coordinated and sustained implementation of racial diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts institution-wide. They build shared buy-in, ownership, and accountability for progress toward racial justice and do not disproportionately burden BIPOC community members in critical anti-racism work.
Key attributes include:
- Ownership and Accountability – Incentivizing an ongoing commitment to racial equity and anti-racism through policies and initiatives for all institutional leaders and individual units.
- Data-Driven Strategy – Assessing, tracking, and publicly reporting on strategic goals using metrics, campus climate indicators, and intersectional demographic data.
- Board Engagement – Engaging board members in the process of understanding and implementing measures to end structural racism at the institution.
- Equitable Budget Models – Considering the explicit impact of budget models and decisions, donor relations, and giving campaigns on racial justice.
Listen Fahim Ali: “I never expected for this to happen. How can the school just take over our neighborhood without considering the people in the community? So many of the facilities staff and their families live in this building. As staff, the university should be protecting us against these problems, not causing them.”
Listen Dr. Candace Brown: “When hired I was not expecting that I would be the only person of color tasked with addressing DEI in our department. This has caused a lot of extra work for me and there are few resources I can use for support. Why am I the only one responsible for advancing this work?”
Profiled Example: Duke University
Build an Inclusive Campus Climate that Promotes Learning and Safety for All Community Members
Institutions that promote racial justice engage in productive, open, and ongoing dialogues about enduring racism across their campus. They foster communal learning and growth and provide regular opportunities for community members to recognize and disrupt their own biases. They create a safe and open environment for BIPOC folks to share experiences of bias or harassment and ensure that such incidents are taken seriously and are appropriately addressed.
Key attributes include:
- Training and Awareness - Implementing mandatory, campus-wide cultural competency, implicit bias, and anti-racism trainings and campaigns.
- Climate Assessment - Conducting campus climate studies (e.g., focus groups, surveys) to measure perceptions of how the institution supports DEI and capture experiences with discrimination, harassment, and harmful policies and practices.
- Incident Reporting and Response - Confronting and responding to racist acts (e.g., hate crimes, microaggressions, racial bias) using a clear, transparent bias reporting system and response team that has strong norms of reporting, investigating, and appropriate sanctioning.
- Campus Safety - Reimagining campus security to balance student well-being and safety considerations and prioritizing restorative justice practices.
Listen Jenny Cortez: “I feel so behind in comparison to my peers because of these classes. I truly don’t feel like a legitimate member of the design school or of the community. This is not what I thought college would be like.”
Listen Dr. Candace Brown: “I was asked to show my ID to enter our building the other day. I didn’t even question it until afterward. Are other faculty members asked to do this? Maybe I just don’t look enough like a faculty member?”
Sustain Investment in Recruiting, Developing, and Advancing the Careers of BIPOC Faculty and Staff
Institutions that promote racial justice imbed a racial diversity, equity, and inclusion lens in all staff hiring and retention practices. They monitor trends in employee racial diversity to ensure that BIPOC folks are not primarily relegated to financially vulnerable positions and that racial representation is reflected across functional areas of the institution, in tenure-track positions, and in leadership. They invest in the ongoing professional development of staff and create viable pathways for BIPOC employees to advance into leadership roles.
Key attributes include:
- Faculty Pipeline Development – Expanding the opportunities to recruit racially diverse faculty through proactive candidate cultivation.
- Hiring Practices - Increasing racial diversity of all faculty and staff roles through equitable and culturally competent hiring practices.
- Career Development and Advancement - Ensuring there are equitable and culturally competent structures and development practices that lead to leadership, promotion, and tenure-track positions.
- Protecting Vulnerable Employees - Investing in the ongoing professional development of staff and ensuring that benefits provision is equitable across levels and functional areas of the institution.
Listen Fahim Ali: “I’ve spent over a decade cleaning these buildings and now my home will be turned into a dormitory for students. Now that I have to relocate, I may have to find another job and lose the education benefits for my children.”
Listen Dr. Candace Brown: “I spent this past weekend trying to find funding for a student to attend an academic conference – why isn’t someone else doing this work? As much as helping students is my passion, I know none of this will be considered towards my tenure.”
Profiled Example: University of Wisconsin-Madison
UW-Madison redesigned its recruitment and retention strategy by incorporating bias training for search committees, funding for departmental recruitment efforts, and funded recognition program for BIPOC faculty
Center and Celebrate the Lived Experiences of BIPOC within Institutional Culture
Institutions that promote racial justice acknowledge and address their historical complicity in racial segregation, oppression, and slavery. They ensure that institutional traditions and symbols are reflective of the diversity of their broader community and elevate the cultural assets of BIPOC communities across all dimensions of the student, staff, and alumni experiences.
Key attributes include:
- Traditions and Celebrations - Contextualizing and expanding historical figures, alumni, traditions, and holidays celebrated by the institution (both on campus and in external communications).
- Historical Legacy - Acknowledging the original inhabitants of the land occupied by the institution and the role of institutional founders in perpetuating and benefiting from racial oppression.
- Institutional Symbols - Addressing racist institutional symbols (e.g., mascots, statues, and buildings) and setting anti-racist protocols for future decisions regarding campus facilities and symbols.
- Alumni Engagement - Engaging BIPOC alumni as lifelong members of the institutional community through ongoing, targeted, and culturally responsive approaches (e.g., through events, newsletters, speaking engagements).
Listen Lawrence Fisher: “I look back on my time on campus and wonder if I’ll be remembered in any way. It seems the only people that are remembered are the racist founders who get buildings named after them. Our brochures might look diverse but once you’re there, it still feels like a hundred years ago.”
Profiled Example: University of Glasgow
In 2016, the university commissioned a study to explore its historic relationship with slavery. The report quantifies the university’s financial gain from slavery and discusses reparative justice initiatives in Black communities in the Global South affected by the university’s slave legacy
Establish Robust Partnerships to Advocate for Racial Justice in the Local and Extended Community
Institutions that promote racial justice engage in ongoing work to understand and heal legacies of racial trauma in their local community, region, and in society writ large. They reevaluate relationships with businesses and organizations that perpetuate cycles of systemic racism and inequity and commit to sustained investment in infrastructure and partnerships that uplift BIPOC communities.
Key attributes include:
- Racial Justice Advocacy – Partnering with local organizations and coalitions to address racial inequities in the local community.
- Employer Partnerships - Dedicating work contracts to BIPOC-owned businesses and supporting community-based organizations working to advance racial justice.
- P-20 Partnerships - Creating ongoing and well-funded partnerships that support K-12 education of BIPOC youth, improve outcomes and transfer opportunities for community college students, and expand the successes of HBCUs/MSIs/and HSIs.
- Basic Needs Infrastructure - Investing in affordable housing, food system, health and mental health care, and technology infrastructures in underserved communities.
Listen Lawrence Fisher: “I worked at a local grocery store throughout college. It was a great job but didn’t allow me to practice the skills I was learning in school. I wish there had been ways for me to get career experience in my local area.”
Listen Fahim Ali: “This was the last low-income housing unit in this area. With all the changes to housing and local services, it feels like the only people that can live around here are professors and wealthy students. Where are the rest of us supposed to go after this?”
Profiled Example: University of Houston
The University of Houston established The Third Ward Initiative as a collaborative partnership with the 3rd ward of Houston to support P-20 transfer rates, businesses, health services, and arts and culture.
Expand Enrollment Strategy to Promote College Access and Financial Justice for BIPOC Students
Institutions that promote racial justice elevate a racially diverse student body as a central component of their overall vision and strategy. They confront the exclusionary impact of historical college admissions practices on the BIPOC community and intentionally prioritize efforts to build accessible pathways into higher education for BIPOC students. They invest ongoing resources to alleviate the disproportionate debt burden that BIPOC students and families face in financing higher education.
Key attributes include:
- Student Recruitment – Reforming existing recruitment processes and practices to enable the equitable recruitment of BIPOC students.
- Admissions Reform - Confronting the exclusionary effect of admissions policies and procedures on the BIPOC community and creating more equitable practices (e.g., eliminating legacy considerations, use of standardized test-scores, disclosure of disciplinary and/or criminal history in admissions).
- Enrollment Support – Developing structures and accessible programs that support BIPOC students in navigating the enrollment process.
- Financial Justice - Promoting financial justice in education through pricing and financial aid distribution policies.
Listen Jenny Cortez: “I had no idea that my family and I would be paying for an additional year of courses for no credit. If I had known, I would’ve taken these classes at my local community college.”
Profiled Example: Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech removed barriers to admission by using an application designed for first-generation students, allowing students to self-report grades and test scores, incorporating a nonbinding early action option, training 180 faculty and staff on equitable application essay review, and scaling micro-scholarships offerings.
Participate in EAB’s DEIJ Plan Design Lab
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Want more DEIJ best practices for your institution?
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