Texas A&M University-San Antonio (A&M-SA) values the rich diversity and heritage of the community it serves. Over the past two years our campus community has identified four strategic goals and listed actions we could take to achieve them. At the same time, many University groups began discussing the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. To support this work, President Cynthia Teniente-Matson created the President’s Commission on Equity (PCOE) and charged it with leadership to build “a culture of excellence that values equity and inclusion.” This statement describes why equity is important to our A&M-SA family and how creating an equitable environment will help the University meet its strategic goals.
Equity means creating opportunities for all members of the university community to have equal access to and participation in educational programs, and professional and leadership development. This is especially important for those from groups whose access to success has been, and continues to be, limited. Through these learning opportunities, differences in student success and graduation rates, and inequities in the broader university community can be reduced.
When we are equity-minded, we are aware of differences and inequalities and are willing to discuss them so we can act to resolve them. Differences and inequalities might refer to race, ethnicity, gender, class, age, ability, or other characteristics, however, they might also be related to whether or not a student is working, has children, or served in the military. We must all meet each other as we are and work toward a common goal. Equity applies to a broad range of characteristics and equity-mindedness means that we must be willing to examine and honor all of them.
Adopting an equity-minded approach will ensure that each member of the A&M-SA family has an opportunity to succeed. It will strengthen ties between A&M-SA and the communities we serve, and will enhance our unique standing among state and national universities.
As an equity-minded university community, we will routinely review and assess student success and other measures to find and address inequities. We must examine the university’s policies, procedures and practices to make sure they are equitable. We begin this task by looking at A&M-SA’s mission, vision, and strategic goals. We identified three goals for the President’s Commission on Equity’s work.
- Offer initial guidance equity-minded policies, procedures, and practices;
- Support people at all levels of the University in owning and guiding this work effectively; and to
- Provide ongoing guidance and empowerment to every member of the community to develop an equity-minded environment.
Achieving these goals will help us establish an equity-minded environment and will encourage each member of the A&M-SA family to help us establish and grow a diverse, inclusive, and equitable university.