SAC President Dr. Robert Vela Joins Council on Racial Equity in College
October 29, 2020
Dr. Robert Vela, president of San Antonio College, has been named to a new national committee that will examine racial equity issues on college campuses. The Racial Equity Advisory Council is part of the Institute for Evidence Based Change (IEBC), an organization supporting community colleges, universities, and K-12 school systems by promoting collaboration and data to increase student success.
The council will reexamine IEBC’s Caring Campus initiative, which coaches college faculty and staff to implement intentional, campus-wide behaviors that increase student engagement and connectedness by promoting racial equity. The council will provide a forum for national experts to advise IEBC on how to ensure racial equity issues are integrated in the Caring Campus structure.
“I’m honored to join this exciting new initiative and to bring the SAC perspective to the discussion,” Vela said. “Here at SAC we’re working hard to promote and establish racial equity across the board, which is a crucial component to overall student success. I’m proud to share our progress and views with a national council devoted to this essential issue for colleges and universities across the country.”
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, approximately 45 percent of community college students identify themselves as Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American, and mixed race. In contrast, less than 25 percent of faculty members are people of color. This has created a dearth of faculty role models and lack of faculty familiar with the psychosocial challenges these students encounter.
Research has documented students leave college because they do not feel connected to the institution. Caring Campus recognizes and leverages the value of connectedness for increasing the likelihood that students will continue towards, and succeed in attaining, their educational goals. Staff interactions with students can set the stage for successful enrollment, persistence, and completion.
In addition to being a member of the Racial Equity Advisory Council, Vela is a member of the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges, and board president for the National Community College Hispanic Council.