DENVER – March 17, 2021: The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), along with Colorado Governor Jared Polis and education leaders from across the state brought together partners on March 15, to virtually sign an educational equity letter of commitment and to highlight the recently published Report on Educational Equity with the goal of creating a Colorado for all.
The report supports Colorado’s goal to reach 66% educational attainment by 2025 through the implementation of strategies aimed at erasing equity gaps. The Day of Dialogue is the first step in the report’s action plan.
“The equity report and Day of Dialogue event provides leaders with the tools to communicate our values around creating a Colorado for all,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “As we pave a way for our strong economic recovery, we are working to support our students, and with your help, we set this bold action into motion.”
Gov. Polis along with Rep. Leslie Herod, from House District 8, Vanecia Kerr, chair of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Dr. Ryan Ross, associate vice chancellor for student affairs and equity and inclusion at the Colorado Community College System and David Olguin, student advisor to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, led legislators, college and university presidents, students, and partners through the signing ceremony. Nearly 60 organizations across Colorado have signed on to the equity pledge.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Wil Del Pilar, vice president of higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust said, “The student outcomes that we’re getting are reflective of the policies that we’ve created. We need to think systemically at a statewide level about investments that we can make that will reengage students and create flexible pathways for them to succeed.”
A panel of college and university students and presidents discussed how they participate in diversity, equity, and inclusion programming on campus.
Nikki Larzo, a student at Pikes Peak Community College said, “It’s important to create a safe space for students to voice the issues they see within their communities. We are turning the microphone to our students from our leaders and ensuring everyone is heard.”
“It’s time to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and being accountable as leaders for current, future and past mistakes and accomplishments,” said Tom Stritikus, president of Fort Lewis College. “We want to acknowledge growth stories within our college and reward them, so we create a sense of well-being and belonging for our students.”
CDHE plans to hold an Educational Equity Day of Dialogue annually to report on the department’s progress toward erasing equity gaps and highlight traction on action steps outlined in the equity report.
For more information, and to view a recording of the Day of Dialogue event (which will be posted soon), visit https://cdhe.colorado.gov/educational-equity-day-of-dialogue.