UW-Madison’s Jerlando Jackson recently spoke with Education Dive for an article headlined, “Students, staff of color critical to institutional success.”
Jackson is UW-Madison's Vilas Distinguished Professor of Higher Education and the director of Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB), which is housed in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER). He is a faculty member with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.
The article explains how this past year has seen an upheaval of campus protests over racial grievances, which has affected the number of applications for many campuses. Last year’s campus protests at the University of Missouri contributed to a 23 percent decline in the number of applications. Though other campuses are seeing a decline in applications, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are seeing an increase in applications.
"There's good national evidence to suggest that there's something that's going on at college campuses that cause black (students) to exit them without getting what they came there for," Jackson says in the article. "You look at the college-going rate and the retention, matriculation and graduation rate, it will show that there is something going on at our institutions that aren't supportive enough to keep a group of individuals who were committed enough to come to our campuses and not find themselves staying."
These racial grievances occurring across college campuses extend beyond students and affect faculty and administrators as well.
“That same set of challenges aren’t going away when we show up on these campuses as professionals, whether leaders or faculty or staff,” Jackson says. “For navigating these types of employment places, you’re challenged to find good mentorship, you’re challenged to be sponsored for good opportunities, you are not always supported in the types of priorities you might want to bring to the table. You struggle to develop authentic relationships with your colleagues,” Jackson continued. “The list can be so pervasive and (that’s) why it’s difficult to get connected to the organizational culture in the institution.”