NEBHE recently developed a reparative justice framework to promote faculty equity in New England. As outlined in the March issue of The Monthly Dispatch, we organize our reparative justice framework around three pillars: (I) Transformation, (II) Restoration, and (III) Nourish and Uplift. NEBHE aims to lead the region in these efforts, and, to that end, we are working to promote Pillar III, "Nourish and Uplift," by developing a series of new initiatives to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty. We call these faculty initiatives the North Star Collective (NSC).
RATIONALE FOR THE NAME
NEBHE believes it is important that higher education institutions acknowledge the ways in which they have benefitted directly or indirectly from slavery and its long legacy, as well as that of white supremacy. We also believe that institutions can support NEBHE's NSC faculty initiatives as a way to repair the harm that has been done and use them as a way to move forward to become a refuge for BIPOC faculty in the ways that the "North" was once imagined in American history as a promised land of freedom.
The term "collective" reflects our aim to establish a community of BIPOC faculty that is united by shared experiences as marginalized peoples in predominantly white institutions in New England. Historically and contemporarily, "collective" has been used by activist groups to promote the liberation, uplift, health and wellbeing, and overall care of BIPOC people. This collective of initiatives will be established by and for BIPOC faculty and will serve to support these holistic goals as well.
One initiative that we are developing is the North Star Collective fellowship program which aims to provide a nourishing community of care, mentorship, and professional development for BIPOC early career faculty in New England. The fellowship reflects the organization's commitment to reparative justice as it seeks to address structural racism and institutional inequalities in the academy, as well as to repair the harm and trauma to BIPOC faculty created by toxic campus cultures. It will provide a space for BIPOC faculty to navigate the challenges they face in their academic careers that can hinder their professional advancement and are often detrimental to their health and wellbeing. The fellowship will support the recruitment, retention, and advancement/ tenure/promotion of BIPOC faculty at New England colleges and universities, particularly by supporting and elevating their scholarship. It also aims to foster a sense of solidarity and community among BIPOC faculty in the region to collectively support their holistic growth.
NEBHE is currently in the first phase of developing the North Star Collective faculty initiatives, beginning with the fellowship program. This phase includes extensive research and planning. We are also gathering feedback on our new initiatives through a series of informal brown bag roundtables with institutional leaders and BIPOC faculty from across the region's colleges and universities throughout May and June.
We invite anyone interested in shaping the future of faculty equity in New England to join our efforts by supporting the North Star Collective. Feel free to find updates on our new Reparative Justice webpage.