Talent, Innovation, and Equity (“TIE”) Partnership
From 2018 to 2022, Oregon HECC has advanced work initially supported by a $689,000 Talent, Innovation, and Equity (“TIE”) partnership grant awarded in 2018 from Lumina Foundation to help eliminate disparities in postsecondary success rates between Oregon’s overall student population and historically underrepresented students of color. The grant supported a suite of state leadership activities aimed to improve postsecondary completion success in Oregon for Black/African-American, Latino/a/x/Hispanic , Native American/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander learners, with a particular focus on adult learners of color.
Upon receiving this grant, Oregon was described as poised for this important work, with one of the most ambitious state goals for improving educational attainment in the nation, and a high-reaching companion goal for the education of adult Oregonians. Initiatives supported by the grant addressed how to be more intentional and equitable in ensuring students of color have access to postsecondary education opportunities, from recruitment and persistence practices to academic pathways and financial aid. Three institutions partnered with culturally specific community organizations to implement an array of equitable practices that intentionally support TIE student populations in completing a postsecondary degree or credential of value. In addition to the overall focus on eliminating gaps for students of color, Oregon’s TIE grant included additional support to allow the state to join a cohort of Adult Promise states that pledged to help more adults earn degrees. Components of this project include the following.
Equity Leadership and Community Engagement:
With support from the TIE partnership grant, HECC has been in closer conversation and consultation with diverse community leaders, and this engagement continues to grow, bringing in new energy and perspectives. They helped guide work across our agency, including by hosting community meetings, and serving on HECC’s Leadership Council for Equity (LCE). The HECC Leadership Council for Equity is worked to develop culturally relevant and responsive tangible tools aimed to disrupt systemic practices that have created disproportionate educational achievement gaps for underrepresented students of color. HECC is also continuing to identify and engage “Equity Champions” to join us in advocating for equity reform through relationship building and community engagement across the state. In 2019, Equity Champions joined HECC in hosting twelve roundtable meetings with diverse communities statewide.
Focus Group Research:
In addition to the formation of the Leadership Council, HECC sponsored focus group research to determine the barriers to enrollment and completion facing adults from underrepresented populations in Oregon. See below the 2020 report on focus group research with adult learners performed by researchers at Southern Oregon University and Portland State University:
This research informed the development of an outreach and marketing toolkit to help institutions and partners improve outreach to adult learners of color with research-informed messaging focused on decreasing barriers to enrollment and completion, changing narratives that discourage learners from applying, and improving strategies for retention.
Fostering Promising Practices:
The grant also helped to foster promising practices among Oregon’s postsecondary institutions and partners. The HECC supported higher education institutions and/or institutional leaders that were willing to undertake promising practices in support of students of color, including through the engagement of culturally-specific community organizations.
Subgrants: In November 2020, HECC announced three subgrants to postsecondary institutions in Oregon to expand funding for or to facilitate the formation of a collaborative partnership partnerships with Cultural Community-based Organizations (CBOs). See our press release here:
With additional support supplementing the initial Lumina Foundation funds, the subgrants are now in place through September 30, 2022. Through innovative approaches we are seeing students being engaged through culturally relevant practices that support their educational success. A final report will highlight best practices from each of the three partnerships in early 2023.
Communicating Equity Needs:
In addition, the HECC continues to work on educational communications to clearly articulate Oregon’s history, rationale, and objectives for equity in postsecondary education, and recognize promising work statewide to close equity gaps.
Real Opportunity: Supporting College Success for Underserved Students of Color
We encourage viewing and sharing this short inspirational and informational video on the need to dramatically improve racial equity in higher education and workforce training. Real Opportunity: Supporting College Success for Underserved Students of Color will Move Oregon Forward.
This approximately eight-minute video is part of a suite of efforts to broaden understanding of the critical importance of closing equity gaps, building equitable access, and increasing completion rates for historically underrepresented students of color in higher education and training.
In 2019, HECC also launched Equity Spotlight at OregonHECC, a social media channel focused on equity and success for Oregonians pursuing postsecondary education. Follow us on Twitter at #EquitySpotlight.