Your Power in Middle Leadership: A Call for Evidence Based Practices for Equity

“If our institutions are to become truly student-ready, educators must make difficult decisions, face the pressures of accountability, and question their preconceived notions about student success.” – Becoming a Student Ready College Dr. Tia Brown McNair

Dr. Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC. She oversees both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact practices, and student success. McNair directs AAC&U’s Summer Institutes on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, and TRHT Campus Centers and serves as the project director for several AAC&U initiatives. She is the lead author of From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education (January 2020) and Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success (July 2016). In March 2020, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education named McNair one of thirty-five outstanding women who have tackled some of higher education’s toughest challenges and made a positive difference in their communities.

A state-sponsored, broad access university system like the California State University has a unique duty to its students, regional economy, and the state. Our students are most likely to remain local and contribute directly to the region where they attended school. Thus, the CSU is a vital part of our university triumvirate in our state and it is imperative that we ensure all students who enter our universities graduate. Now that work is underway to meet ambitious graduation goals by 2025, the next step is to make sure those rising rates are true for all students across the system. Hence, an additional focus on equity. Unfortunately, middle leaders are often lost in the discussion on how to advance the equity goals. Middle leaders are often left out of conversations about implementation of equity priorities even though they are expected to implement them. This convening is a part of a series that will prepare middle leaders to lead from where they are and improve equitable outcomes for the students with whom they work.

Be prepared to actively participate. We have a fantastic speaker who will layout for us what it means to be a “student ready” campus when it comes to student success,  and then we’ll discuss what you’re currently doing to optimize equity on your campus, and working across campuses to help everyone use whatever power and positionality we have to make a difference where you are, and with what you can control.

From Evidence to Practice Series: This Convening is a part of a series that focuses on how we as practitioners can use the literature on equity in combination with our campus data to support evidenced based, equity minded practices in our day-to-day work. 

This three part series starts with the below session to provide an overview of how to facilitate campuswide change. The second session will focus on implementing change, and the final event in the series will focus on assessing the changes you’ve made. The second session in the series is scheduled for March 3rd, location to be determined.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Equity: Address how middle leaders can work toward system and campus equity goals from where they sit.

Knowledge: Examine the literature on equity for student support services and teaching and learning to provide a foundation for evidence based practice in student support and the classroom

Relationships: Consider how your unit can strategize to support the larger goal of closing equity gaps on our individual campus.


Participants will leave with an understanding of the literature in equity and how that translates into becoming a student ready campus.

Participants will consider their sphere of influence with regard to equity and begin to learn how to use evidence to inform their day-to-day practice.

Who should attend?

The equity priorities of our system, and the needs of our students,  are the responsibility of everyone. This convening does not require a team. Individuals, including faculty, staff and administrators may register for the event.