Achieving the Dream and USC Race and Equity Center Racial Equity Leadership Academy

The growing movement for racial equality has reinforced the urgency for our college leaders to be equipped with the tools they need to scrutinize and dismantle structures and policies that serve as barriers for racially minoritized students. ATD is proud to announce that ten colleges have been selected to participate in the Achieving the Dream and USC Race and Equity Center Racial Equity Leadership Academy (RELA).

RELA participating colleges:

  • Anne Arundel Community College (Maryland)
  • Austin Community College District (Texas)
  • Broward College (Florida)
  • Chattanooga State Community College (Tennessee)
  • Columbus State Community College (Ohio)
  • Kingsborough Community College (New York)
  • Lee College (Texas)
  • Montgomery County Community College (Pennsylvania)
  • Mott Community College (Michigan)
  • Pierce College (Washington)

The partnership between Achieving the Dream and the USC Race and Equity Center is significant to our continuing efforts to center equity, and especially racial equity, in our student success work. The intensive program, scheduled to begin in summer 2021, is designed to support teams of five individuals from each college in the development of a bold, strategic racial equity plan to implement actionable solutions at their institutions.

In the Academy, college teams will:

  • Engage in eight (8) racial equity focused modules.
  • Identify a racial equity change effort to implement.
  • Be introduced to topics, frameworks, evidence-based readings, books, and practical tools on racial equity.
  • Participate in honest dialogue about racial topics.
  • Receive support from an ATD coach during one campus visit and one virtual visit over the academic year.
  • Develop a long-range vision that will guide their identified racial equity change effort.

By the end of the Academy, college teams will have identified a racial equity change effort, participated in coaching engagements, developed a new vision for their campus’ racial equity work, and launched the rollout of their racial equity change effort with a comprehensive, prioritized action plan. The identified effort and action plan should align with each college’s Student Success Action Plan and strategic plan. The overall expected outcomes are an increase in student persistence and completion through an intentional design to eliminate structural barriers to equity.

The USC Race and Equity Center defines racial equity as: Understanding and deliberately meeting the particular needs of specific racial and ethnic groups; achieving parity in opportunity, performance, and wellness outcomes; correcting structures, systems, cultures, and policies that (re)produce racial stress and stratification; and fostering and sustaining environments that people across all racial and ethnic groups experience as fair, affirming, and inclusive.

ATD and the USC Race and Equity Center acknowledge the intersectionality of equity work and anticipate further opportunities to explore other facets of equity in the future.

RELA has received financial support from The Kresge Foundation and the Greater Texas Foundation.


Date Activity
September 22, 2020 Application Released to ATD Network
November 12, 2020 Application Submission Deadline 5:00 p.m. ET/ 2:00 p.m. PT
December 7, 2020 Colleges Selected
February 15, 2021 Academy Orientation at DREAM 2021 
July 26-29, 2021 Summer Session at the USC Race and Equity Center (In person meeting is dependent on California and USC’s COVID policies)
August-December, 2021 First Round of Coaching Visits
December 2021 - February 2022 Second Round of Coaching Visits
February 2022 DREAM 2022 Presentation


To learn more or for any questions, please email


There are no resources related to this initiative.

Shadowbox Semi-Transparent Layer


Shadowbox Content Here