Guest speaker from the Department of Justice
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights, SHPE hosted a highly anticipated webinar dedicated to members of its Academic Partnership Council (APC). The purpose was to offer Deans from Engineering, Science, or Technology schools a valuable opportunity to gain clarity on available resources. These resources are aimed at breaking down information barriers and preventing the spread of misinformation, especially as higher education institutions seek equitable paths forward following the Supreme Court’s decision on Affirmative Action.
Shaheena A. Simons, Chief of the Educational Opportunities Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, joined us as guest speaker. Her office’s role is responsible for enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which deals with complaints and concerns related to potential discrimination in educational institutions. In our recent webinar, her expertise was instrumental in clarifying the misconception that efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion are universally prohibited. It’s essential to emphasize that community advocates must stay organized and actively engage in ongoing discussions to effectively adapt to new on-campus policies.
With leadership of Dr. Kimberly Douglas, Chief of Research and Impact Officer and APC Co-Chairs Lance Perez and Robert Keynton, the group carried out a meaningful conversation about further guidance on how life experiences, different viewpoints, talents, and backgrounds can be considered in admissions processes, scholarships, and financial assistance. Most importantly, the conversation encouraged participants to remain committed to working with community partners on expanding access to a higher education, improving a sense of belonging, while continue to create opportunities for economic mobility for all students.
As part of our ongoing efforts to establish SHPE as a valuable resource for our partners, the Academic Partnership Council and the Research & Impact team will collaborate with SHPE’s Government Relations department to host a series of informative webinars. These webinars will primarily focus on providing tools and resources that can best support our members. Our goal is to ensure that this webinar series provides valuable information that enhances the success of SHPE’s members in higher education institutions, as it pertains to community outreach, access pathways, and retention programs.
SHPE’s Academic Partnership Council is a forum of Deans with similar interest in serving Hispanic students and actively contribute to the success of Hispanics students in STEM by partnering with SHPE on new and innovative programs, and positively impact SHPE’s 14,000+ members.