Commitment to Progress
Embracing our responsibility
Our nation and state are breaking under the weight of systemic racism, inequality, fear and all the ways in which humans do not treat each other humanely.
Recent, profoundly disheartening incidents must be a call to action for technical college leaders, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as System leaders and staff. As educators and learners, we embrace our responsibility and capacity to create inclusive, genuine spaces and systems that support equity.
WTCS, the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association and the leadership of all 16 technical colleges have committed to five specific efforts.
1. Sustained Conversations on Systemic Racism and Policy Reform
WTCS will support facilitated, sustained space for conversation and policy work on the impact and dismantling of systemic racism starting internally at each college and the System Office. While this is work each college must initiate and implement, the System Office will look for ways it can support the colleges with facilitation and other resources. For the System Office, this work will build upon ongoing conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
2. Focus on Equity in Student Access and Success
WTCS will conduct comprehensive evaluations of policies and practices – through an equity lens – in the areas of instruction, student services and professional development to identify unconscious biases, make modifications to enhance empathetic understanding and build emotional intelligence skills and capacity. The System Office will provide facilitation and other resources in support of colleges’ evaluation efforts. These evaluations will begin with WTCS law enforcement and correctional service programs but will be undertaken across all instructional areas.
3. Use Data to Close Equity Gaps
WTCS will leverage data and research findings to inform college efforts to close equity gaps in student access and outcomes. This work will build upon the action research agenda of the WTCS Student Success Center and may be supported, in part, by Perkins and GPR grant resources.
4. Review Hiring and Retention Policies
WTCS will identify and take intentional steps to diversify our workforce, including addressing cultural and community issues of equity and inclusion. This work will be led by the Presidents Association’s special taskforce on Workforce Diversity. It will incorporate data from existing System research, including the WTCS System-wide Equity Report, and may be supported in part by Perkins Reserve Capacity Building grant and GPR Professional Development grant resources.
5. Increase Transparency
WTCS will establish clearer, more transparent, and more frequent communication regarding WTCS equity and inclusion initiatives and outcomes. This work will be led by the System Office with college support. This initiative will create a public-facing central messaging hub to share System assessment, research, and outcomes data from the Student Success Center, as well as other diversity, equity and inclusion resources.
We stand with black citizens who are hurting badly. We stand with diverse communities who, with loved ones and supporters, raise their voices in justified anguish and anger. We stand with our law enforcement faculty, students and graduates who chose a law enforcement career for the right reasons and risk their safety to protect and serve Wisconsin communities. We stand firmly against racism, discrimination, oppression, and exclusion of all types. And we stand against damage to property, livelihoods and communities by a disconnected few.
The Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) is committed to creating safe spaces to support our students and colleagues who are suffering; training future law enforcement officers who are prepared to do an increasingly complex, demanding job with compassion, courage and humanity; delivering educational pathways to economic opportunity for all; and raising our collective voices to oppose injustice in all of its forms. Together, we have the power to create a more inclusive and equitable society for each other and for the future.