What is the Equity Institute?

The Equity Institute is an eight-week learning experience designed by the University of Southern California's (USC) Race and Equity Center. Each week a team of twenty colleagues attend two-hour virtual modules led by faculty from USC's national network of highly regarded scholars. In between sessions, participants meet in groups of five to discuss how what they are learning applies to their institution. At the end of the eight weeks, each group develops an action plan to advance equity in one of four opportunity areas.

Queensborough participated in the Equity Institute in Fall 2021.

Why Did Queensborough Participating?

A review of student outcome data in AY 2020-2021 revealed that there were a rising numbers of first-time, full-time first-year students who were struggling. Observations included the following:

  • One–semester rates were declining 
  • Almost a quarter of the first-time, full-time, first-year cohorts in 2019 and 2020 did not reenroll in the spring
  • There was an upward trend in first-time, full-time, first-year students who had a zero GPA in their first semester
  • Close to 30% of first-time, full-time, first-year students finished their first semester with a GPA below 2.0
  • While these trends were seen across all racial and gender groups, Black and Latino male students were disproportionately impacted.

Interrupting the observed trends required immediate action. 

What Content was Covered ?

Below is a list of modules that were selected for the Queensborough team.


Week 1: Foundations of Racial Equity in Higher Education

Week 2: Talking About Race, Racism, and Racial Inequities

Week 3: Data & Inquiry

Week 4: Power, Identity and Managing Racial Tensions in the Workplace

Week 5: Reducing Stereotype Threat and Microaggressions in the Classroom

Week 6: Reducing Bias in the Search and Hiring Process

Week 7: Improving and Advancing Equity Goals through Incentivizing and Accountability

Week 8: Using Assessment & Evaluation to Improve Campus Racial Climates

How Were Participants Selected?

The opportunity areas for the College were selected following a review of student outcome and employee demographic data. Once the areas of focus for the Institute were identified, participants were selected based on their areas of expertise. When convening the group, membership was balanced to ensure that the group was representative of the rich diversity present at Queensborough.

Opportunity Area 1: First Semester Retention

First Semester Retention Infographic

Opportunity Area 2: Process Barriers

Process Barriers Infographic

Opportunity Area 3: Strategies to Diversify the Faculty

Strategies to Diversify the Faculty Infographic

Opportunity Area 4: BIPOC Opportunity Programs

 BIPOC Opportunity Programs Infographic

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art GalleryOpens in a new window

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.