What is Equity 2030?
In 2018-19 Minnesota State Colleges and University's System Office embarked on a year-long exploration led by the Board of Trustees to reimagine the future of higher education for Minnesota and the role the 30 colleges and seven universities would play in that future. Following five stakeholder forums held over the course of six months, Chancellor Devinder Malhotra and his cabinet proposed Equity 2030, a new strategic agenda for the system centered around a single goal: to close educational attainment gaps for black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), low-income students, and first-generation students at every institution within the system by the year 2030.
Equity 2030 is not, despite what it may seem, an initiative. Equity 2030 is an approach to intentionally rethinking the way Minnesota State and its institutions operate on a day-to-day level. The work to support equity-minded campus practices and pedagogy has been happening at Minnesota State institutions for decades. Many faculty and staff have been tireless in their efforts to raise and refocus their institutions on addressing equity, on creating culturally responsive and reflective pedagogy, on supporting the needs of low-income and first-generation students, and more. Their work has been innovative and inspiring but has too often been limited to the walls of their own classrooms.
State Colleges and University's System Office (Minnesota State) is focusing on educational equity because:
- it is more than morally right, it’s an economic imperative;
- education systems weren’t designed to serve today’s students;
- current credentialing models don’t work for students OR employers;
- today’s students are community-focused; higher ed should be, too; and,
- Minnesota State is a system, not a federation.
As a system, Minnesota State engages in partnerships and grant-funded opportunities to support the needs of students, but these opportunities are often limited to a few institutions. Campus autonomy is a cornerstone of Minnesota State, but taken too far it limits communication and creates inefficiencies, requiring each institution to reinvent their own best practices with limited insight from peers they may not even be aware are working on the same type of program. The grand vision of Equity 2030 is to create intentionality at the system level to communicate and coordinate across departmental, divisional, and institutional silos to embed equity-minded practice and policies at every level. Beyond simple communication, Equity 2030 creates an impetus to critically review how we work, note where our policies, procedures, and structures don’t allow us to work efficiently toward removing barriers for historically marginalized student populations and identify and implement better paths forward for equitable educational attainment.
Equity 2030 is the strategic priority to embed equity-mindedness in day-to-day operations, where teaching and learning are the core missions of Minnesota State.