Liberal arts institutions play an important role in preparing the nation’s leaders. Students matriculating to CHAS institutions are among the brightest and best prepared in the nation, yet many of them fail to achieve their highest potential, and disproportionate numbers of those are students of color. It is our responsibility to remove institutional roadblocks to high achievement. By collaborating with peers, CHAS creates opportunities for institutional growth, and school representatives participate in an introspective learning community. Our objective is to transform our select campuses into inclusive learning environments.
We share a common approach to this project and base our work on common assumptions:
- We believe that all students who matriculate on our campuses are capable of succeeding. Because of our belief in the capabilities of our students, we will devote consortial efforts to promoting high educational achievement, not remediation.
- Our most important mission is to transform institutional barriers into gateways to high achievement. Any student can experience difficulties; it is the role of the faculty and college or university administration to anticipate difficulties and provide appropriate preventive measures and interventions to help students over the hurdles that they encounter. Accordingly, the institutional environment and support systems available should be focus of attention, not individual students.
- We also believe that attention must be directed to the “whole student.” Thus, we will continue to address the academic, social-cultural, and financial support systems needed to promote high achievement, leadership, and high levels of student engagement within our institutions.
- Correspondingly, success of our efforts depends upon attention to the “whole college/university.” Each person on a campus can, and does, make a difference in the lives of students and their feelings of belonging and their motivation to succeed. Thus, we must involve people from all over the campus and help them recognize the role that they play in this important enterprise.
- Our explicit purpose is to promote improved outcomes for students of color at CHAS institutions. However, we firmly believe that our actions will benefit all students, whether directly through participation in the same programs or indirectly through the enhanced, healthier educational environment that ensues when all students receive the resources to thrive academically and personally.