As Every Learner Everywhere and Intentional Futures write in their 2021 resource Getting Started With Equity: A Guide for Academic Department Leaders, 2020 “saw civil unrest, protest, acts of state-sanctioned violence, natural and manmade calamity, and the exponential growth of the wealth gap. That year brought increased awareness about the continued disregard for Black life… In higher education, racially minoritized students were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 precisely because poverty is a comorbidity for most diseases and illnesses, and racially minoritized people are disproportionately impacted by poverty.”
Achieving an equitable higher education system, one where systemic inequities are proactively addressed, is critical to student success. Although the terms are often confused, equity and equality are not interchangeable. Equality is when everyone, regardless of their need, is given the same thing while equity entails giving everyone what is needed to achieve equitable ends. Equitable higher educational practices seek to provide all students, but especially racially-minoritized and poverty-affected students, the tools to successfully attain their higher education goals.
Digital learning, with its focus on leveraging technology to expand educational access, can play a critical role in educational equity. As a part of our historical mission of expanding educational access and opportunity, WCET values equity and strives for inclusivity and diversity. We believe that this commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion enables our members to better serve their students and expand access to high-quality digital learning educational opportunities to all students, especially racially minoritized students and students from other historically underserved communities.