Model Overview

Achieving Racial Equity

The Achieving Racial Equity professional development program is aligned with best equity-minded practices in achieving racial equity in higher education attainment.

Facilitator-led training is comprised of training modules and guides that establish developmental competencies (foundational, intermediate, advanced) that encompass knowledge, skills, and actions (KSAs) across four professional tiers of practice (self, department, institution, consortium). The model applies to staff, instructional staff, and managers/leaders at CONNECT Consortium ARE partner schools: Bridgewater State University, Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Massasoit Community College.




Take Self-Assessment Survey to determine your competency level to guide your progress:

  • Foundational
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced



Develop a 6-month, 1-year and 3-year plan and select a Training Module to develop your racial equity core competencies:

  • Implicit Bias
  • Microaggressions
  • Addressing Racial Trauma
  • Stereotype Threat
  • Culturally Inclusive Learning



Check with the ARE lead at your institution or CONNECT to determine the best course format: online, webinar, or in-person.

  • Self
  • Department
  • Institution
  • Consortium



Take stock of your progress by reassessing at 6-months, 1-year and 3-years to measure your progress and growth.


Training modules are  designed to acknowledge, remedy, and repair systemic inequities in public higher education, impacting traditionally underserved populations who are underrepresented with intentional focus on students of color (e.g., AAPI, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, 2 or more races). Each facilitator-led module is accompanied by a training guide and aligned resources.

Implicit Bias

Increase awareness of implicit bias in higher education, equip staff with strategies to promote increased equity, and address implicit bias in admissions, faculty hiring and promotion, and resource allocation.


Increase awareness of the different forms of  microaggression, equip staff with strategies to intervene effectively, and educate on established reporting mechanisms to promote a culture of responsibility.

Racial Trauma

Increase awareness of racial trauma and systemic racism, foster culturally responsive teaching strategies, employ equity-centered decision making, and support students’ mental health.

Stereotype Threat

Increase awareness of stereotype threat, develop skills for managing stereotype threat, foster a culture of inclusion and belonging, and support the development of anti-racist leaders.

Culturally Inclusive Learning

Increase awareness of cultural responsiveness in education, develop skills for using culturally responsive pedagogy, foster a culture of belonging, and support the development of anti-racist education professionals.


Training modules are tailored to three competency levels—foundational, intermediate and advanced—each of which encompasses specific knowledge, skills and actions (KSAs) that promote racial equity.

Foundational competencies are basic knowledge and skills that all participants are expected to have to promote racial equity and increase higher education attainment for underserved/underrepresented students. They reflect general knowledge of implicit bias and microaggressions as structural/systemic barriers and obstacles to higher education.

Foundational KSAs

Intermediate competencies are more advanced and require a deeper understanding of implicit bias and microaggressions as structural/systemic barriers and obstacles that may include racial trauma for minoritized students. They include skills in developing and implementing equity-minded policies and practices, and actions that can be taken to create a more inclusive campus culture.

Intermediate KSAs

Advanced competencies require a deep understanding of equity-minded theory and practice. They include skills in leading and mobilizing others to promote racial equity, increase higher education attainment for underserved/underrepresented students, and initiate action that to transform higher education institutions into equity-minded organizations.

Advanced KSAs

Resources & Support

Each competency level (foundational, intermediate, advanced) offers specific professional development opportunities that include a range of resources and activities, such as:

  • Artifacts, sample policies, procedures, and training materials
  • Reflective exercises, journaling, and self-assessments
  • Readings, books, articles, and reports
  • Workshops and training sessions, led by experts in implicit bias, microaggressions, and equity-minded practices

Sourcing The Content

The development of these resources is a collaborative effort, incorporating contributions from CONNECT institutions as well as drawing on MA DHE, national, and regional best practices associated with the promotion of racial equity within the context of HE and ARE initiatives, prioritizing the impacts of implicit bias and microaggressions as structural/ systemic barriers and obstacles that may include racial trauma as measurable means of dismantling barriers minoritized students experience.

The resources and support can be tailored to the specific needs of each institution. For example, an institution with many students of color may need different resources than an institution with a small number of students of color. They are offered in a  way that PD can be developed, planned, and offered to best match campus, student, and staff member KSA competence.

Practice Tiers

Resources and support included in this guide are tailored to address the distinct tiers of professional knowledge, skills, and actions (KSAs) required for promoting racial equity in HE. Professional tiers are defined as:

  • Staff – Includes all staff members, regardless of their role or level of responsibility
  • Instructional staff – Includes all faculty and instructors including librarians, regardless of their discipline or level of seniority
  • Management/leadership – Includes all managers and leaders, regardless of their level of responsibility
  • Consortium – Includes Consortium leadership or representatives as a collective from the 5 participating institutions

Engagement & Measurement

Consortium members are expected to demonstrate individual and collective progress within the competency structure, which includes foundational, intermediate, and advanced competency levels, in relation to promoting racial equity and best practices within higher education (HE).

For example, members at the foundational and intermediate levels are expected to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of implicit bias and microaggressions as structural/ systemic barriers and obstacles that may include racial trauma, as well as skills in identifying and addressing these issues
  • Develop and implement equity-minded policies and practices
  • Create a more inclusive campus culture
  • Lead and mobilize others to promote racial equity and increase HE attainment for underserved/ underrepresented students toward achieving racial equity
  •  Transform higher education institutions into equity-minded organizations

Members who reach the advanced competency level are expected to:

  • Participate as ‘Train the Trainer,’ contributing to the unique professional development opportunities offered in the framework
  • Share their knowledge and expertise with other members of the consortium
  • Help to advance the work of the consortium in promoting racial equity in higher education

Measurement of progress is realized through suggested capstone deliverables, which are tailored to the specific needs of each institution. As part of the self-assessment, survey, and ARE professional plan process, deliverables may also include:

  • A written report on the individual/professional team/institution’s progress in promoting racial equity
  • A presentation on the individual/professional team/institution’s equity-minded policies and practices
  • A workshop or training session on implicit bias and microaggressions as structural/ systemic barriers and obstacles that may include racial trauma
  • A research project on structural/ systemic barriers and obstacles that may include racial trauma for students of color.

Detailed information regarding guidelines for the capstone deliverables and expectations for each professional tier and institution can be created and tailored to each institution using information gleaned from the Model. This information will help members to track their progress and to identify areas where they need to improve.

Focus on Equity-Minded Behaviors

Research on racial disparities in higher education underscores the significance of addressing implicit biases and microaggressions to advance racial equity and foster inclusive and supportive learning environments. These behaviors fall under the umbrella of equity-minded actions and involve heightening awareness of unconscious biases, delivering diversity and inclusion training, implementing policies fostering equal opportunities, promoting open dialogues, and actively confronting discriminatory behaviors and attitudes. These measurable aspects align with the tiers and competencies outlined in the ARE framework. 

Equity-minded (also known as anti-racist) behaviors encompass actions that challenge and dismantle racism within institutions, including:

  • Challenging Implicit Bias, Microaggressions, and Racial Trauma: Implicit biases, unconscious prejudices affecting thoughts and actions, along with microaggressions, subtle discriminatory behaviors, contribute to structural barriers, including racial trauma. Embracing equity-minded behaviors entails addressing these issues within the classroom and institution.
  • Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: Fostering diversity through inclusive hiring practices, offering diverse courses, and nurturing a welcoming campus climate where all individuals feel valued.
  • Adopting Equity-Minded Policies: Establishing policies to counter racism, such as zero tolerance for hate speech and providing equity-focused training.
  • Holding Accountability: Challenging racism, learning from mistakes, and promoting growth within ourselves and others.

Implicit/Unconscious Bias and Racial Inequities: Unconscious biases towards racial or ethnic backgrounds can influence decision-making and interactions, leading to discriminatory practices within higher education settings. These biases can result in disparities in admissions, faculty promotion, discipline, resource allocation, and opportunities. Outcomes of training and professional development include enhancing representation in admissions and faculty promotions while reducing disciplinary involvement for minority groups.

Microaggressions and Racial Inequities: Microaggressions are subtle, derogatory verbal or nonverbal behaviors that perpetuate negative messages towards marginalized racial or ethnic groups. Addressing microaggressions aims to create a welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff. Training outcomes involve implementing incident reporting mechanisms, accessible training to mitigate microaggressions, and reducing reported incidents.

Addressing Racial Trauma and Racial Inequities: Addressing racial trauma entails recognizing and mitigating the psychological impact of racial discrimination within higher education. This involves acknowledging systemic racism and its effects, including microaggressions and disparities in access to resources. Training outcomes encompass heightened awareness of racial trauma, recognizing microaggressions and biases, fostering culturally responsive teaching, supporting students’ mental health, trauma-informed pedagogy, and promoting inclusive campus spaces.

Focusing on equity-minded behaviors, addressing implicit biases, microaggressions, and racial trauma and other related issues (e.g., stereotype threat, culturally responsive and affirming instruction) is vital for achieving racial equity and creating an inclusive educational environment that uplifts all individuals.


Training modules are designed to develop core competencies across four tiers of practice—self, department, institution and consortium. This approach creates a comprehensive framework that is applied to staff, instructional staff and managers/leaders across CONNECT partner colleges.

Self-examination and recognition involve acknowledging, addressing, remedying, and repairing one’s own biases, particularly related to racial equity, which may also encompass cultural, gender, ableism, and class biases.

  • This process aims to support individuals in recognizing, interrupting, and correcting both explicit (intentional) and implicit (unintentional) biases.
  • The goal is to take proactive steps to mitigate and change personal biases, thereby reducing the occurrence of microaggressions and their negative impact on others.
Self KSAs

Department interpersonal skills are essential in fostering an inclusive culture and working effectively with others to recognize, address, interrupt, and correct biases.

  • This involves creating welcoming spaces and actively embracing and celebrating differences in experiences, backgrounds, and ways of thinking.
  • The focus is on addressing both explicit (intentional) and implicit (unintentional) biases that may have developed within the group culture.
  • The goal is to collectively take steps to mitigate and change biases at the team, departmental, or divisional level, reducing the occurrence of biases that negatively impact others, which can manifest as microaggressions or macroaggressions.
Department KSAs

Institutionalizing competencies in acknowledging, remedying, and repairing biases is crucial for promoting achieving racial equity campus-wide.

  • These competencies involve understanding the systemic and structural factors within the greater organization (collective units, departments, divisions) that either support or hinder achieving racial equity efforts.
  • It is important to recognize the consequences of perpetuating social and racial inequities and to work towards institutional responses that promote equity.
  • All individuals within the organization need to understand both explicit (intentional) and implicit (unintentional) biases at the institutional level and take vertical and horizontal steps to mitigate and change unintentional biases.
  • This includes addressing the negative impacts of unintentional institutional biases on historically marginalized individuals or groups and addressing the manifestations of biases as microaggressions or macroaggressions, both in the past and present.
Institution KSAs

Developing simultaneous competencies at the individual, department, and institution levels is essential within the CONNECT consortium to leverage resources and promote achieving racial equity across all member institutions. These competencies involve acknowledging, remedying, and repairing systemic and structural factors in policies, practices, and initiatives that either promote or hinder collective institutional responses to achieving racial equity.

  • Understanding the consequences of perpetuating social and racial inequities is crucial to work towards improved outcomes and promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and racial justice across the six institutions
  • The Consortium has the potential to collectively improve outcomes by reducing instances of unintentional institutional biases negatively impacting historically marginalized individuals or groups, including manifestations of microaggressions or macroaggressions
  • By fostering a culture of inclusivity and leveraging the resources within all members of the Consortium, it becomes possible to drive positive change and achieve improved diversity, inclusion, equity, and racial justice across the six institutions, the region, and possibly the state.
Consortium KSAs


Capstone Deliverables are completed and assessed at 6 month, 1-year, and 3-year intervals via self-assessment, survey, self-reflective narrative guide, and artifact submission. The following are examples of the level of knowledge and skills that a person should aim to achieve by each time period. Actual knowledge and skills attained by an individual will depend on his or her professional tier, individual interests and college strategic plan.


Note:  can be Intermediate or Advanced depending on professional/experiential ARE KSAs

1 KSA completed, such as:

  • Writing about noticing and investigating the reality and impact of ARE in the classroom/ workplace and recognizing the context and focus of ARE initiatives.


  • You might identify one area of ARE that you would like to learn more about and develop a 1-year plan to learn more about it.


  • You might plan to use the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to learn more about your own implicit biases.


Note: can be Foundational or Advanced depending on professional/ experiential ARE KSAs

3 KSAs relevant to professional tier completed, such as:

  • Writing about sensing the reality and impact toward ARE in the workplace.
  • Writing about the ways you can draw on research evidence to inform ARE work.
  • Writing about the consideration of using equity-minded approach options based on evidence of what works in ARE.

4 Goals: 

  • One might be able to develop a plan to address the impacts of implicit bias and microaggressions as structural/ systemic barriers and obstacles that may include racial trauma in your workplace.
  • One might be able to…use unattained KSAs or challenges or barriers to ARE impacting your work as inspiration.
  • One might be able to… use unattained KSAs or challenges or barriers to ARE impacting your work as inspiration.
  • One might be able to… use unattained or challenges or barriers to ARE impacting your work as inspiration.

3 Training Tools: 

  • Complete Train the Trainer Modules in the PD Toolbox and Mentor 1 colleague on ARE competencies.
  • Complete Syllabus Overhaul Modules
  • Use the Microaggressions in Higher Education (MHE) Scale to assess the prevalence of microaggressions in your workplace.


Note: can be Foundational or Intermediate depending on professional/ experiential ARE KSAs

6 KSAs relevant to professional tier completed, such as:

  • Writing about your understanding of the ARE problem or issue to be addressed.
  • Writing about your knowing what needs to change and what doesn’t.
  • Writing about your understanding of where/ how/ why improvement is needed.
  • Writing about your knowing how progress is recognized.
  • Writing about your developing progress markers to indicate whether you are on the right track in acknowledging, remedying, and repairing biases.
  • Writing about your role in realizing ARE responsiveness to racial inequities at your site.

5 Goals: 

  • Become a “Train the Trainer” and help others learn about ARE.
  • One might be able to…use unattained KSAs or ARE issues impacting your work as inspiration.
  • One might be able to… use unattained KSAs or challenges or barriers to ARE impacting your work as inspiration.
  • One might be able to…use unattained KSAs or challenges or barriers to ARE impacting your work as inspiration.
  • One might be able to… use unattained KSAs or challenges or barriers to ARE impacting your work as inspiration.


  • Use the ARE Toolkit to participate in Train the Trainer ARE professional development to sustain CONNECT efforts inside and outside of the Consortium.
  • Present ARE Training 2x a year.
  • Identify PD aligned with advanced ARE competence reflected in the Models’ developmental level schema.


The Achieving Racial Equity (ARE) model, funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, supports the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Strategic Plan for Racial Equity. Designed, developed and delivered in collaboration with Lead Consultant and DEI expert Dr. Lorri Santamaria and her colleagues, the model has strong support from partner institutions’ CEOs and ARE Committee Members. Sincere appreciation and gratitude to all for making this program a reality.

CONNECT Presidents

Fred W. Clark, Esq., President, Bridgewater State University

Dr. Laura Douglas, President, Bristol Community College

Dr. John Cox, President, Cape Cod Community College

Rear Admiral Francis McDonald, President, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Raymond DiPasquale, President, Massasoit Community College


Elaine Craghead, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Rachel Jessica Daniel, Massasoit Community College

Emmanuel Echevarria, Bristol Community College

Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior, Bridgewater State University

Dr. Nicole Glenn, Bridgewater State University

Dr. Stacey Kaminski, CONNECT, HEIF Grant Primary Investigator

Dr. Danielle Licitra, Bristol Community College

April Lynch, Bristol Community College, HEIF Grant Primary Investigator

Cathleen McCarron, Cape Cod Community College

Patrick Nobrega, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Dr. Katie Ruggieri, Massasoit Community College


Take a self-assessment survey to determine your competency level and explore the racial equity training modules.