Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

Higher Education Coordination Commission

Equity Lens

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) envisions a future in which all Oregonians—and especially those whom our systems have underserved and marginalized—benefit from the transformational power of high-quality postsecondary education and training. Here you can learn about the HECC Equity Lens, a document and tool that guides our work to transform the education system to eliminate disparities and support the educational success of all Oregonians.

The HECC Equity Lens is a foundational document for the Commission and agency that focuses our policy and funding work on eliminating equity gaps and dramatically expanding access to and success in postsecondary education and training. We encourage and welcome education and workforce partners to use the Equity Lens.

Equity Lens Focus:We focus the HECC Equity Lens on Oregonians who are currently and historically underserved in access to and success in postsecondary education and training, and in the programs and services impacting these measures. We intentionally place racial equity at the forefront to counterbalance and dismantle racist policies and practices that perpetuate inequities. We are committed to explicitly identifying and urgently addressing the most severe and persistent disparities for learners, while shifting to a more equitable education and training system for all Oregonians.

Read the full Equity Lens document to learn more about our commitment to educational equity, the purpose of this tool, our beliefs, our approach to underserved communities, and key definitions.

Read the HECC Equity Lens here

How does HECC Use the Equity Lens?

The HECC adopted the original Oregon Equity Lens in 2014 during our first year as an agency and has applied the Lens to policy making and funding decisions since that time. By utilizing the Equity Lens, we aim to make decisions on resource allocation, partnership, engagement, and strategic initiatives to advance equitable educational outcomes. The Equity Lens informs priorities in the HECC Strategic Plan, and drives our work to advance toward the State Educational Attainment Goals.

Learn more about some of the current initiatives and actions we lead to improve equity and success in postsecondary education and training.

Guiding Questions

The Lens includes ten guiding questions to be considered for resource allocation and evaluating strategic investments, policies, and practices. We encourage HECC agency staff, commissioners, board members, and partners to apply these questions.

  1. Who are the racial/ethnic and underserved groups affected? What groups show the most persistent or severe disparities?
  2. What is the potential impact of the resource allocation, strategic investment, policy, practice, or program to these groups? If this is a decision or strategy related to budget, revenue, procurement, or contracting, have you analyzed the racial equity impact and the impact on other identified underserved groups?
  3. Does the decision or strategy under consideration ignore or worsen existing disparities or produce other unintended consequences?
  4. How does the decision or strategy advance opportunities for current and historically underserved learners and communities? What is the impact on eliminating the opportunity gap?
  5. What are the barriers to more equitable outcomes?
  6. How have you intentionally involved partners who are also members of the communities affected by the strategic investment or resource allocation to inform decision-making? How do you validate your assessment in the questions above?
  7. Do you have a plan for inclusive communications and engagement, to communicate the process of this work and opportunities for learners in compelling, clear, accessible, and transparent ways?
  8. What is your commitment to diversification of the workforce and professional learning for equity? What resources are you allocating for educator/employee diversity and training in cultural responsive instruction and practices?
  9. How will you intentionally modify or enhance your decisions or strategies to ensure each learner and communities’ individual and cultural needs are meaningfully met?
  10. How will you evaluate your progress and stay accountable to equity goals? How are you collecting and analyzing disaggregated data on race, ethnicity, income, and other demographics or identities?