CHAS was founded in 2000, to address concerns raised by Black and Latinx students pertaining to their academic and social experiences at a handful of selective liberal arts institutions. At the time, the collective wisdom of a small group of faculty leaders and administrators was to establish a network of likeminded colleagues who could work together to better understand challenges and to imagine new possibilities for more equitable and inclusive campuses. Our original impetus and focus was improving retention and academic success among students from historically underrepresented student of color populations on our predominantly white campuses.
Two decades later, CHAS continues to serve as a resource for member institutions, and others in higher education. We leverage collaborative, collective learning by:
- creating and fostering networking opportunities for students, staff and faculty;
- offering high-quality professional development opportunities for faculty and staff who support students;
- identifying and circulating exemplary practices, with particular attention to integrative educational practices and deep collaborations between faculty and staff;
- funding, producing and disseminating empirical evidence and research to inform diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to benefit all students;
- and, providing opportunities for assessing and addressing campus climate issues.
Our signature programs have included annual student conferences, faculty and staff professional meetings, CHAS climate surveys, and faculty research grant awards. Through these and other initiatives, institutional members have opportunities to draw upon the expertise of faculty, staff, and students from colleges and universities within the consortium as well as national and international scholars, artists, and thought leaders.