The Beyond Racial Equity Strategic Review launched in the summer of 2021 in support of the #ESOCWeekOfAction and Access: Student Disability Union’s Action Plan for Disability Justice. In addition to Emerson’s Community Equity Action Plan, the College recognized that we can benefit from the perspectives and recommendations from an external party with expertise analyzing equity in systems and structures. The outcome of the work with Beyond Racial Equity is a report of findings and recommendations that was delivered to the College in late summer 2022. That report, recommendations, and findings is available in full and in summary. Our future advancements will be informed by this work as we continue to make progress toward our goal to infuse our values of equity, access, and social justice inclusion (EASJ) across the College.

Project Overview & Timeline

Summer 2021

  • June: Request for Proposals (RFP) released for external consultants to conduct a structural and systemic analysis of barriers that interfere with the ability of BIPOC students, students with disabilities, and students with other marginalized identities to feel a sense of belonging and thrive at Emerson.
    July: RFPs reviewed and narrowed to two competitive bids.
    August: RFP awarded to Beyond Racial Equity (BRE).
    September: BRE begins working with an Emerson Project Team that includes Ruthanne Madsen, Alayne Fiore, and Jae Williams. (Additional staff members Tony Pinder and Samantha Ivery are added in November.) 

Fall 2021

Discovery Phase

  • Gather comprehensive information from students, faculty, and staff about the equity experience at Emerson.
    • Interviews and focus groups with stakeholders that represent a broad perspective.
  • October: Discovery Phase launches. Emerson shares historical data and current information to BRE, including surveys, articles and blog entries written by student organizations, the #ESOCWeekOfAction Student Demands and Access: Student Disability Union’s Action Plan for Disability Justice, and institutional communications related to the Presidential Working Group for Community & Equity. BRE joins the Presidential Advisory Group for Community & Equity to share a project overview and updates and answer questions about the scope of the project.
  • November: BRE holds individual interviews and focus groups with students, faculty, staff, and administrators to gather as much information as possible about the equity experience at Emerson. These discussions have included gathering information about roles and responsibilities, equity-related experiences and actions, and general perceptions of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice by students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
  • December: BRE compiles information and results from Discovery Phase and determines gaps in information to seek out in the Institutional and Stakeholder Phase starting in January.

Spring 2022

Institutional and Stakeholder Review

  • Continue focus groups and launch the virtual HiveWise conversation. platform to gather input from the full Emerson Community.
  • Launch Sponsor Team for discussion and feedback throughout final phases of project. Sponsor Team: Interim President Bill Gilligan, Vice President & Chief of Staff Anne Shaughnessy, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Interim Supervisor of Social Justice Collaborative Ruthanne Madsen, Chief Financial Officer Paul Dworkis, and Vice Provost for Internationalization & Equity Anthony Pinder.
  • January: BRE invites community members for additional meetings and focus groups. HiveWise virtual conversation platform is launched to gather input from students, faculty, staff, and administrators across all areas of Emerson. 
  • February: BRE continues to hold the online virtual conversation, HiveWise, and facilitates student and faculty focus groups.

Strategic Visioning:

  • Gather input on the collective vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and social justice from faculty, staff and students for consideration in the final report.
  • March: Strategic Visioning sessions and focus groups.
  • April: BRE attends several classes for additional connection and conversation with students; also holds additional focus groups for student engagement. 

Summer 2022

Findings and Recommendation Communication

  • July: BRE delivers draft report and recommendations to Sponsor Team for review and feedback. 
  • August: BRE delivers draft summary report and final report and recommendations. Holds series of discussions and meetings to review draft with Sponsor Team, President’s Council, Dean’s Council, Project Team, and Making Emerson IDEAS Team.

Fall 2022

Findings and Recommendations

  • Final report released and Emerson determines next steps.
  • September: Final report and recommendations and summary delivered.
  • October: Beyond Racial Equity Strategic Review Full Report and Recommendations and Summary Report released to Emerson Community.

Questions regarding the Beyond Racial Equity Strategic Review can be submitted to communityequity [at] (communityequity[at]emerson[dot]edu).