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October 28, 2021

Educators and access groups tackle equity during three-day virtual summit 

The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) hosted its annual Equity Summit this week to promote and encourage the pursuit of equity in higher education.

Titled “Hear Me, See Me,” this year’s summit took place entirely online over the course of three days, beginning on Tuesday.

“Providing Missourians with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the workforce starts with equity in higher education,” said Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education “There are still prevailing gaps in resources and support, making it harder for certain groups to access and persist in postsecondary education. That’s why this summit – getting the chance to share ideas and brainstorm solutions – is so critical to the state’s future.”  

Department members, as well as educators and advocates from around the state spoke about the importance of making Missouri’s postsecondary system more equitable for all, and especially for those typically underrepresented in higher education.

In conjunction with the Summit, the department published the executive summary of the 2021 Equity Report. This year’s report will be released as a series, highlighting student stories and data from a 2020 survey completed by nearly 10,000 Missouri college students. The opening session of the summit on Wednesday featured an in-depth look at the initial findings of the survey results.

The virtual summit kicked off, Tuesday, with opening remarks from Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Commissioner Mulligan. Each day featured an opening plenary and keynote presentation, followed by concurrent breakout sessions, and a closing panel discussion.

The event concluded Thursday following a fireside chat with “the Dapper Dean,” Dr. Rolundus Rice, VP of Academic Affairs at Rust College in Mississippi.

All sessions from the event were recorded and will be available online. Visit the Equity Summit website to learn more. Find a data snapshot and the 2021 Equity Report at dhewd.mo.gov/equity_project.php.

About the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development: The department works to empower Missourians with the skills and education needed for success. More information about MDHEWD can be found at https://dhewd.mo.gov or on Facebook and Twitter @MoDHEWD.