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AAC&U Kicks Off Digital Equity Institute with 19 Higher Education Institution and Organization Members

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has selected 19 higher education institutions and organizations to participate in launching the Institute on Digital Equity. The new members will spend seven months developing and implementing the institute's initiatives to promote digital equity on their campuses and in their communities, regions, and states.

The institute held the inaugural event in September 2023 and will conclude in April 2024, the organization said. Members will be supported to develop comprehensive digital equity action plans through "virtual events, consultations, and cross-team interactions," according to a release. They will define goals and identify strategies backed by evidence, also determining partners who can help bring these endeavors to fruition.

Some of the strategies include adopting inclusive pedagogy, open educational resources, and distributing devices to students as well as promoting theFCC's Affordable Connectivity Program.

In addition, those institutions who elect to apply to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's upcoming Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program will be given help and guidance.

"Many of the participating teams have noted that the pandemic made transparent what were previously invisible technological challenges experienced by many of their students," said C. Edward Watson, AAC&U's associate vice president for curricular and pedagogical innovation. "As the Institute has unfolded, many teams have noted that having a national expert assigned to them as their ongoing mentor throughout this experience has been a game changer as they work to address these newly visible inequities."

The 19 member colleges are Alvernia University, Bradley University, Bryant University, California State University Dominguez Hills, California State University Fullerton, Coalition on Basic Adult Education, College of Western Idaho, Colorado Mountain College, Columbia-Green Community College, Dominican University, Houston Community College District, Louisiana Board of Regents, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government/University of Dubai/Prismatic Consortium, North Carolina Central University, Santa Barbara City College, Seminole State College of Florida, Stanford University Digital Equity Initiative, Tarrant County College Connect Campus, and University of Alaska Fairbanks.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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