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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 toward 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 page allows you to learn about each of the hallmarks through the lives of four BIPOC community members. 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.

Academic and Career Preparation

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.

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

Strategy and Operations

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.

Profiled Example: Duke University

Duke translated the institution’s comprehensive anti-racist plan into individual goals for executive leadership, functional areas, and departmental level units and offices.

Campus Climate

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.

Profiled Example: University of Toronto

UT developed a robust police training curriculum with sessions on mental health, indigenous culture, systematic racism, and microaggressions. You can also check out EAB’s webinar on Campus Safety and Police.

Faculty and Staff

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.

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

Institutional Culture

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).

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

Community Partnerships

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.

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.

Student Enrollment

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.

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.

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