Publication Date: January 1, 2015
This book is for anyone who is challenged or troubled by the substantial disparities in college participation, persistence, and completion among racial and ethnic groups in the United States. As codirectors of the Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the University of Southern California, coauthors Alicia Dowd and Estela Bensimon draw on their experience conducting CUE’s Equity Scorecard, a comprehensive action research process that has been implemented at over 40 colleges and universities in the United States. They demonstrate what educators need to know and do to take an active role in racial equity work on their own campuses.
Through case studies of college faculty, administrators, and student affairs professionals engaged in inquiry using the Equity Scorecard, the book clarifies the “muddled conversation” that colleges and universities are having about equity. Synthesizing equity standards based on three theories of justice—justice as fairness, justice as care, and justice as transformation—the authors provide strategies for enacting equity in practice on college campuses. Engaging the "Race Question" illustrates how practitioner inquiry can be used to address the “race question” with wisdom and calls on college leaders and educators to change the policies and practices that perpetuate institutional and structural racism—and provides a blueprint for doing so.
Alicia C. Dowd is associate professor of higher education at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and codirector of the Center for Urban Education (CUE). Estela Mara Bensimon is a professor of higher education at the USC Rossier School of Education and codirector of the Center for Urban Education, which she founded in 1999.
"Dowd and Bensimon offer practical protocols to empower practitioner teams to get beyond their different theories of justice and make headway on equity work."
—Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning
"Their work to create an Equity Scorecard is based on three theories of justice—justice as fairness, justice as care, and justice as transformation—and this book provides concrete strategies to increase equity on college campuses."
—Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
"Dowd and Bensimon’s Engaging the “Race Question” is a must-read for policy-makers, university and community college faculty, and other institutional actors who are working in higher education and care about issues of race and equity."
"Many scholars could learn from these discussions in the book as they reinforce the notion that we are always learning and have to be open to learning in order to make our work stronger and to have a lasting impact that is nimble enough to shift with the changing nation."
—The Review of Higher Education
“The introspective journeys this book will inspire should be experienced by faculty and staff at higher education institutions across the country.”
—Tia Brown McNair, Association of American Colleges and Universities
“A valuable step-by-step guide to making our colleges more academically inviting and egalitarian.”
—Mike Rose, UCLA
“Dowd and Bensimon have been at the forefront of racial equity research in higher education for nearly two decades, and their racial equity scorecard has changed the way higher education thinks about the issue. Finally, a book that helps the rest of us understand the theory and the complexities that underpin their path-breaking work! Read it and act on it!”
—Patricia Gándara, professor of education, UCLA, codirector, The Civil Rights Project